“When Half a Buck Just Ain’t Half a Buck”

The items related to numismatics are as diverse as the stars in the skies, and so too are the methods and means of collecting them. Some collect type coins, others collect Morgan dollars, some collect Hard Times tokens, and others collect everything under the sun. I’m in danger daily of joining the last of those groups. Among the numerous numismatic items I collect are contemporary counterfeit half dollars, and I’m not alone. I know many collectors who specialize in off-metal Capped Bust half dollars; Liberty Seated coinage in brass is another area of collecting I delve into when the opportunity allows.

The “coin” in this week’s article is a Capped Bust half dollar struck in German silver and no doubt contemporary to the date, 1833. The collectors of these Capped Bust evasion pieces are legion, and scores of varieties are known. Indeed, there is even a reference book on the Capped Bust contemporary counterfeits. The illustrated piece is 32.0 mm in diameter and weighs in at 182.3 grains, lighter than a genuine piece by some 26 and more grains. The present piece was picked from a dealer’s stock as a genuine half dollar, but I knew exactly what it was when I saw it in his case. The price was reasonable to me, and I took my treasure home where it resides on my velvet tray at work along with dozens of other “neat” numismatic items. Medals, coins, tokens, they all “live” there on my tray and are the source of my columns. It’s a great way to collect without having to pigeon-hole yourself into one narrow area of collecting.

If any of our readers would like to send me a picture of an exonumia item they enjoy, we may feature it in one of our exonumia columns. Include your name and telephone/email and anything you know about the item, and email it all to me at This can be your column too!

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

We are sorry, an unexpected error occurred!
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.