Classic Coins - Carver
Washington Commemorative Half Dollar
The US Mint produced the Carver Washington Commemorative Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin with
coinage dates of 1951 through 1954 to include the recognition of the life and contributions of George
Washington Carver to that of Booker T. Washington.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments,
On September 21, 1951, the first session of the 82th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
82-151. They approved this act "To amend the Act entitled 'An Act to authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces to
commemorate the life and perpetuate the ideals and teachings of Booker T. Washington,' approved August 7, 1946.
[See the Booker T. Washington
Memorial Half Dollar to view the earlier law, 79-610.]
The law began, "That the Act entitled 'An Act to authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces to commemorate the life
and perpetuate the ideals and teachings of Booker T. Washington,' approved August 7, 1946, is amended to read as
follows: 'That in order to commemorate the lives and perpetuate the ideals and teachings of Booker T. Washington
and George Washington Carver, two great Americans, there shall be coined by the Director of the Mint (1) a number
of silver 50-cent pieces equal to the number of 50-cent pieces authorized by the Act of August 7, 1946 (60 Stat.
863), but not yet coined on the date of the enactment of this Act, plus (2) an additional number of silver 50-cent
pieces equal to the number of 50-cent pieces coined under such Act of August 7,1946, and returned to the Treasury
in accordance with section 5 of this Act. The silver 50-cent pieces authorized by this section shall be of standard
size, weight, and fineness, and of a special appropriate design to be fixed by the Director of the Mint with the
approval of the Secretary of the Treasury; but the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the
models for master dies or other preparations for the coinage authorized by this section, or to the expense of
making any changes in design which may be necessitated by reason of the enactment of this Act.
"SEC. 2. The coins authorized by the first section of this Act shall be issued at par, and only upon the request
of the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial (established at the birthplace of Booker T. Washington in Franklin
County, Virginia) and the George Washington Carver National Monument Foundation (established at the birthplace of
George Washington Carver in Diamond, Missouri).
"SEC 3. The coins authorized by the first section of this Act shall be issued in such numbers, and at such
times, as shall be requested. by the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial and the George Washington Carver
National Monument Foundation, and upon payment to the United States of the face value of such coins, except that
none of such coins shall be issued after August 7, 1954."
"SEC. 4. The coins authorized by the first section of this Act may be disposed of at par or at a premium by
banks or trust companies selected by the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial and the George Washington Carver
National Monument Foundation, and all proceeds therefrom shall be used, in the manner decided upon by the Booker T.
Washington Birthplace Memorial and the George Washington Carver National Monument Foundation to oppose the spread
of communism among Negroes in the interest of the national defense.
"SEC. 5. (a) From and after the date of the enactment of this Act, no 50-cent pieces shall be coined under the
Act of August 7, 1946.
"(b) At the request of the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial and the George Washington Carver National
Monument Foundation, any of the 50-cent pieces coined under the Act of August 7, 1946, but on the date of the
enactment of this Act not yet disposed of in accordance with such Act, shall be returned to or retained in the
Treasury, and the Director of the Mint shall melt down such 50-cent pieces and use the resulting metal and material
for the coinage of silver 50-cent pieces under the first section of this Act.
The law continues in Section 6 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - Carver Washington Commemorative Half
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: 1951-1954
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 $17 (low grade - XF) to $250 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Carver Washington Commemorative Half Dollar can command a price outside the
estimated value range.
Obverse - Carver Washington Commemorative Half Dollar
The obverse or front of the coin shows the right-facing busts of George Washington Carver on the left
and Booker T. Washington on the right.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum, George Washington
Carver, Liberty, Booker T. Washington, and the coinage year - 1954 in this case.
Artist: Isaac Scott Hathaway
Reverse - Carver Washington Commemorative Half Dollar
The reverse or back of the coin features a simple outline map of the United States of America. (Alaska and
Hawaii were not states yet.)
The coinage inscriptions read Freedom and Opportunity for All, Americanism and U.S.A.
Artist: Isaac Scott Hathaway
Commentary - Carver Washington Commemorative Half Dollar
The maximum mintage as defined by the amended law meant the total mintage of the earlier Booker T. Washington Memorial half
dollar and this Carver Washington Commemorative half dollar was "not to exceed five million silver 50-cent
Records show the three mints produced slightly more than 1.3 million of the Carver Washington Commemorative half
The coin pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as an MS-65. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty
Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
In his book titled From Captivity to Fame or The Life of George Washington Carver, Raleigh H. Merritt
explained the origin of Carver's name.
His adoptive family, the Carvers, named him George Washington because of his faithful devotion to his work and
for his habitual truthfulness about everything.
George Washington Carver obtained his Master's Degree from Iowa State University.
Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute invited him to teach at Tuskegee.
In October 1896, George Washington Carver arrived via rail at the Chehaw, AL station.
He began his productive career by teaching agricultural chemistry and farming at Tuskegee.
Frequently studying and finding new ways to use and improve agriculture, George Washington Carver became well
known around the country from the knowledge he shared through his published papers.
He became friends with many notable contemporaries such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank and Harvey
In addition, three presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, considered Dr.
Carver their friend.
At one point George Washington Carver declined an invitation to work for a salary of more than $100,000 a year
(almost a million today) to continue his research on behalf of everyone.
On an occasion remembering the gentleman, Dr. Ralph Bunche, claimed Dr. Carver to be "the least imposing
celebrity the world has ever known."
In July 1953, Dr. Carver's birthplace near Diamond Grove, Missouri became a national monument.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Carver Washington Commemorative for
a variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.