Classic Coins - Arkansas
Centennial Half Dollar
The Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin honored the 100th anniversary of the
admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union on June 15, 1836. The US Mint began production of the coins in
1935 and continued through 1939 with a second reverse design struck only in 1936, the centennial year.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments,
Two different Congresses approved two different laws for the Arkansas Centennial half dollar.
On May 14, 1934, the second Session of the 73th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
The law began, "That, in commemoration That in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission
of the State of Arkansas into the Union there shall be coined at the mints of the United States five hundred
thousand silver 50-cent pieces of such design as the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of
the Treasury, may select; but the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the models or master
dies or other preparations for this coinage."
Section 2 included the commentary that all coinage laws already in place shall also apply to these coins.
"SEC. 3. The coins authorized by this Act shall be issued only to the Arkansas Honorary Centennial Celebration
Commission, or its duly authorized agent, in such numbers, and at such times as they shall be requested by such
Commission or any such agent, and upon payment to the United States of the face value of such coins."
The law continues by stating that all coinage laws already in place shall also apply to these coins.
Just over two years later on June 26, 1936, the second Session of the 74th Congress approved an additional law
amending the design of the reverse of the Arkansas Centennial commemorative coin.
This new law began, "That the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, is
authorized and directed to provide for one additional design to be placed on the reverse side of not less than
twenty-five thousand and not more than fifty thousand of the 50-cent pieces to be coined in accordance with the
provisions of the Act entitled 'An Act to authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the
one-hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union', approved May 14, 1934."
The law continued with the proviso that the United States would not incur any expense in making the dies and
This second law concluded, "The coins upon which the additional design authorized by this Act is to be placed
shall be coined at a mint of the United States to be designated by the Director of the Mint, shall bear the date
1936, irrespective of the year in which they are minted or issued, and shall be issued in the same manner and for
the same purposes as the coins issued under the provisions of such Act of May 14, 1934, except that not less than
twenty-five thousand such coins shall be issued at any one time and no such coins shall be issued after the
expiration of one year after the date of enactment of this Act."
Characteristics - Arkansas
Centennial Half Dollar
Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Diameter - millimeters: 30.6
Diameter - inches: 1.2
Weight - grams: 12.5
Weight - troy ounce: 0.401884332
Silver content weight - troy ounce: 0.3617
Mint Locations: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
Years Minted: 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939
The coin's silver content alone makes it more valuable than its face value of $0.50.
But, the coin's age, its condition, and its desirability make it even more valuable as a collectible.
The coin's estimated value ranges from $70 (low grade - XF) to $400 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar can command a price outside the estimated
Obverse - Arkansas Centennial Half
The obverse or front of the coin displays an eagle perched on the rising sun with wings spread against a
background containing the sun's rays. A chevron contains thirteen stars with more stars above the eagle. Emily
Bates prepared the models for this coin.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, Arkansas, Half Dollar, 1935 (or other year), In God
We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum.
Artist: Edward Everett Burr
Reverse - Arkansas Centennial Half
The first reverse or back of the coin shows the left-facing portraits of Liberty in a Phrygian cap and an Indian
in a feather headdress.
The coinage inscriptions read Liberty, Arkansas Centennial, and 1836 1936.
Artist: Edward Everett Burr
The second reverse or back of the coin included a portrait of Senator Joseph T. Robinson.
The coinage inscriptions read Arkansas Centennial, 1836-1936, Liberty, and Joseph T. Robinson.
Artist: Henry Kreis
Commentary - Arkansas Centennial Half
The stated mintage limit was 500,000, but records show a significantly lower number, roughly
85,40, were minted including all types and years' mintage numbers.
The coin with the Indian and Liberty reverse pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as
an MS-66. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
The second coin with the Robinson reverse pictured above resides in a PCGS holder and is graded as an MS-64.
(PCGS is Professional Coin Grading Service.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
During 1935 through 1939, the three US Mint locations, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, produced the
Indian and Liberty version of the Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar coin.
For the 1935 Robinson reverse, only the Philadelphia mint struck the coins.
As a three-coin set, the 1939 PDS set can bring a value of over $6000 if all three coins are in MS-66
President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first sitting president to visit Arkansas when he and his wife,
Eleanor visited the state for the centennial celebration.
Joseph Taylor Robinson was a state representative, U.S. Representative, 23rd Governor of Arkansas, U.S. Senator,
Senate Majority Leader, and candidate for Vice President.
Perhaps Senator Robinson's political involvement explains why he was chosen to be on the back of the coin during
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Arkansas Centennial for a variety of
useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.