Classic Coins - Maine
Centennial Half Dollar
The Maine Centennial Half Dollar coin was another commemorative coin minted as a souvenir piece to
recognize the anniversary of statehood.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments,
The coin was scheduled for distribution at the centennial celebration in Portland, Maine held June 27
through July 5, 1920, but the coins did not arrive in time.
It was only a few weeks before on May 10, 1920 that the 66th Congress approved "An Act To authorize the
coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State
of Maine into the Union."
When approved, this Act became noted as Public Law 66-199.
The law noted there would be 100,000 silver 50-cent pieces "to be of the standard troy weight, composition,
diameter, device and design, as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of
the Treasury, and said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value."
The law concluded the authorization with the Proviso: "That the Government shall not be subject to the expense
of making the necessary dies and other preparations for this coinage."
Characteristics - Maine 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: 1920
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 $85 (low grade - XF) to $500 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Maine Centennial Half Dollar can command a higher price than the
Obverse - Maine Centennial Half
The artist designed the obverse or front of the coin based on the state's seal.
On the left is a farmer leaning on a sythe. On the right is a seaman leaning on a ship's anchor.
A shield between the two men shows a moose under a pine tree, and a ribbon above the shield shows the word
"Dirigo," which is Latin for "I direct."
Above the ribbon, a five-point star representing the North Star shines brightly.
A banner flows beneath the shield with "Maine" centered between rosettes.
The coinage inscriptions include United States of America and Half Dollar.
Artist: Anthony de Francisci
Reverse - Maine Centennial Half
The reverse or back of the coin shows a pine wreath scattered with pine cones and tied with ribbon at
The wreath contains the words Maine Centennial 1820-1920.
Other coinage inscriptions read E Pluribus Unum, Liberty and In God We Trust.
Artist: Anthony de Francisci
Commentary - Maine Centennial Half
Though the stated mintage was 100,000, records show only slightly more than half of that amount were
distributed. The lower number could be due to the coins not being available during the primary celebration in
The coin pictured above resides in a PCGS holder and is graded as an MS-65. (PCGS is Professional Coin Grading
Versions of the coin also exist in higher grades such as an MS-66 grade.
In the official State Seal of Maine, the tree is backed by a forest and the moose has water in front of him.
Click to view the Maine Secretary of State's web page showing the Official State Seal of Maine (opens in a new window).
Divided from Massachusetts, Maine became an official state of the Union on March 15, 1820.
To help Maine celebrate its centennial in 1920, Great Britain, Japan, Portugal and the American Navy sent
warships that they anchored in the harbor .
Portugal sent the San Gabriel. Great Britain sent the Calcutta. Japan sent the Kasuga. Those ships were
The American Navy provided the battleships Utah and Florida.
As part of the centennial celebrations, a Fireman's Muster occurred on July 3 with entries not only from Maine
but also from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Portland centennial celebration was the official celebration, however other cities and counties in
Maine held special events too.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Maine Centennial for a variety of
useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.