Alabama centennial half dollar

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Alabama Centennial Half Dollar
United States
Value .50 U.S. dollars
Mass 12.5 g
Diameter 30.6 mm
Thickness ? mm
Edge Reeded
Composition 90.0% Ag
10.0% Cu
Years of minting 1921
Catalog number -
Alabama centennial half dollar commemorative obverse.jpg
Design William Bibb and Thomas Kilby
Designer Laura Gardin Fraser
Design date 1921
Alabama centennial half dollar commemorative reverse.jpg
Design Adaptation of the State Seal of Alabama.
Designer Marie Bankhead Owen
Design date 1921

The Alabama centennial half dollar commemorative coin was minted to celebrate the centennial of Alabama's admission to the Union in 1819. This was the last slave holding territory admitted prior to the Missouri Compromise in 1820. This was also the first commemorative coin minted with the image of a living individual. These coins were first distributed on October 26, 1921 when President Warren Harding passed through Birmingham to help dedicate a new Masonic temple. They were then sold by banks throughout the state and were widely circulated during the Great Depression.


The obverse of the coin was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser (wife of James Earle Fraser) and depicts overlapping profiles of William Bibb, who was the governor in 1819, and Thomas Kilby, who was the governor in 1919. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is at the top perimeter with IN GOD WE TRUST directly under that. HALF DOLLAR is at the lower perimeter with the date above between BIBB and KILBY. The 22 stars flanking the portraits indicate that Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the Union. On some coins, there is a 2X2 in the right field with the X representing the St. Andrew's cross. The reverse was designed by Marie Bankhead Owen and shows the Alabama State Seal with STATE OF ALABAMA at the top perimeter and 1819 CENTENNIAL 1919 at the lower perimeter.


The Alabama centennial half dollar was minted exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint.


Closeup of "2x2" in right obverse field.

Although the United States Congress authorized 100,000 coins, only approximately 70,000 were struck. Of those, about 5,000 unsold coins were melted. The net mintage was 6,006 of the "2x2" variety and 59,038 of the plain variety. Many of these coins were weakly struck and are difficult to find in higher grades as so many of them circulated.

Date Mint Mark Mint Mintage
1921 None Philadelphia 59,038
1921 2x2 None Philadelphia 6,006


See also[edit]