Classic Coins - Iowa
Centennial Half Dollar
The US Mint produced the Iowa Centennial Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin to recognize the 100th
anniversary of the state of Iowa joining the Union in December 1846.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun
On August 7, 1946, the second session of the 79th Congress approved an act which became Public Law 79-612 that
authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the admission of
Iowa into the Union as a State."
The law began, "That, in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the admission of Iowa into the Union
as a State, there shall be coined not to exceed one hundred thousand silver 50-cent pieces of standard size,
weight, and composition, 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
necessary dies and other preparations for such coinage.
"SEC. 2. The coins herein authorized shall bear the date of the year in which they are minted, shall be legal
tender to the amount of their face value, and shall be issued only upon the request of a duly authorized
representative of the State of Iowa, upon the payment by it of the par value of such coins. Such coins shall be
issued in such numbers and at such times during the calendar year 1946 as shall be requested by such State of Iowa
and may be disposed of at par or at a premium, and the net proceeds shall be used for the observation of the
centennial as directed by the Governor of the State of Iowa."
The law continues in Section 3 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - Iowa Centennial
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
Years Minted: 1946
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 $80 (low grade - XF) to $120 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Iowa Centennial Half Dollar can command a price outside the estimated value
Obverse - Iowa Centennial Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows the first stone capitol building at Iowa City.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, Half Dollar, E Pluribus Unum, Liberty, and In God We
Artist: Adam Pietz
Reverse - Iowa Centennial Half
The reverse or back of the coin features the Iowa State Seal of an eagle with wings outspread, holding a large
ribbon in its beak with the words 'Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain.'
The coinage inscriptions read Iowa Statehood Centennial 1846-1946 and E Pluribus Unum.
Artist: Adam Pietz
Commentary - Iowa Centennial Half
The stated mintage was "not to exceed one hundred thousand silver 50-cent pieces."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 100,057 of the Iowa Centennial half dollar coins.
The coin pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as an MS-66. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty
Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
The people of the Territory of Iowa argued for and against statehood for several years.
In 1844, the majority favored becoming a state.
The steps for becoming a state included electing delegates to a Constitutional Convention, drafting a State
Constitution, adopting a Constitution and filing for admission as a State into the Union.
On an 1844 Monday in October, 63 of the 73 delegates elected in August met in the Old Stone Capitol at Iowa
City — the same Old Stone Capitol that is pictured on the obverse of the Iowa Centennial half dollar coin.
They organized into a constituent assembly and began drafting their Iowa State Constitution.
Not exactly like either one, the reverse of the coin looks more like the image on the flag of the State of Iowa
rather than the Great Seal of Iowa.
The Iowa State flag or banner consists of three vertical stripes of blue, white and red with
the blue symbolizing loyalty, justice and truth; the white purity; and the red courage.
On the wider white center stripe, an eagle flies carrying in its beak blue streamers inscribed with the
state motto: "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain."
The word Iowa is in red below the streamers.
The Great Seal of Iowa contains several images in addition to the eagle with its
banner proclaiming the state motto.
On the seal, a citizen soldier stands with a gun in one hand and a national flag in the other.
In the field around him are the tools of a farmer - a plow, a scythe, a rake - and a sheaf of wheat.
A house or perhaps a factory sits in the middle distance with smoke billowing from its chimney.
In the background a paddle boat steamer travels a river with mountains beyond.
The many details of the Great Seal, which is two inches in diameter, would be difficult to discern
on a half dollar coin, which is 1.2 inches in diameter.
In October 1888, Henry Agard Wallace was born in Orient, Iowa in Adair County.
Henry A. Wallace served in several different political offices under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and
continued when President Harry S. Truman took office after Roosevelt's death.
He served two terms as Secretary of Agriculture, one term as Vice President and was Commerce Secretary at the
beginning of Roosevelt's fourth term in 1945 and remained under Truman until September 1946.
At the Iowa Centennial Celebration on June 30, 1946, Mr. Wallace gave an address at Des Moines in his home
Mr. Wallace was "soft" on communism and did not agree with Truman's foreign policy.
In September 1946, Wallace left his Secretary of Commerce position - some say he resigned, others say that
Truman fired him.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Iowa Centennial for a variety of
useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.