1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar

The first 5,300 United States half dollars, featuring the Flowing Hair theme designed by Robert Scot, were delivered in December 1794.  Another 18,164 were struck in 1795, using 1794 dies.
Thus, only 23,464 of the 1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollars were minted, and of this number, survivorship is estimated at a meager 1200 pieces.(1)

There are 11 known die marriages of the 1794 half dollar, with at least six obverse and seven reverse dies seeing duty. The fledgling Mint was struggling in its die steel hardening process, frequently leading to premature die failure.(2)

While none of the 11 resulting die marriages may be considered common, the O-101 variety is the most regularly encountered, followed by the O-105.(3) The standout rarities include Overton Numbers 108 through 111, each having no more than a dozen specimens known.(4)

The Mint had originally planned to showcase the 1794 dollar as the new nation’s flagship coin, but manufacturing difficulties with the larger coin forced the half dollar to the forefront. Consequently, it was the 1794 Flowing Hair half dollar that assumed this role, making it one of the most significant coins in United States coin collecting.(5)

Despite its numismatic importance, the 1794 half dollar has trended downward since the 2009-10 rare coin bull market. This represents an opportunity for bargain seekers.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 1200
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 4.9
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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1794 Flowing Hair half dollar images 1794 Flowing Hair half dollar price trend analysis
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Last updated 5-11-24
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1. PCGS.  1794 50C (Regular Strike).

2. Taxay, Don.  The U.S. Mint and Coinage.  New York, NY: Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications, 1966.

3. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  Finest Known 1794 O-105 Half Dollar.  Nov 2017 Auction.

4. NGC.  1794 50C MS.

5. Heritage Auctions.  1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar, MS64+.   Jan 2021 Auction.

**Many very fine coin dealers sell on eBay. At any point in time, there may be over one million search results for United States coins. This includes quite a few of the recommendations on our Key Date Coin List.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rare coin, eBay is certainly worth a look. For your convenience, the links from this site to eBay are coded to bring up only coins certified by PCGS and NGC.

As is always, always the case, never buy a valuable coin from a seller whose trustworthiness cannot be verified. Learn more about this at our chapter Best Places to Buy Coins, which also has a section on doing business on eBay.

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Coin Images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.