The 1982 George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar marked the beginning of the modern commemorative coin era. The coin was issued to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington.
The obverse of the coin portrays George Washington on horseback. The reverse features the eastern facade of Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, with a heraldic eagle appearing below. The coin was designed by Elizabeth Jones, who was serving as the chief sculptor and engraver of the United States Mint at the time the coin was issued.
The obverse inscriptions read “George Washington”, “Liberty”, “250th Anniversary of Birth” and the date “1982”. The reverse inscriptions include “United States of America”, “In God We Trust”, and the denomination “Half Dollar”.
Coins were struck in 90% silver and represented the first 90% silver coins to be produced by the United States Mint since 1964. Proof and uncirculated versions were issued, with proof coins struck at the San Francisco Mint and the uncirculated coins struck at the Denver Mint. A maximum authorized mintage of 10 million coins was established by law. The coins were initially sold at a discount for during a “pre-issue” period before regular prices went into effect.
Unlike most subsequent modern commemoratives, the George Washington Half Dollars were produced in anticipation of sales throughout 1982 and 1983, although all coins were dated 1982. When the US Mint finally stopped accepting orders for the coins on December 31, 1985, a quantity of more than one million unsold coins were melted. Nonetheless, the program achieved a profit of more than $36 million, which was deposited into the Treasury General Fund.
Due to the high mintage of this issue, the coins remain readily available for present day collectors. The predominant factor in valuing the coins is the market price of silver, based on the coin’s silver content of 0.36169 troy ounces.
Designer: Elizabeth Jones
Weight: 12.5000 g
Composition: 90% Silver (0.3617 ounces of silver)
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 10,000,000 (across both options)
1982-D Uncircultaed George Washington Half Dollar
Pre-issue Price: $10.50
Regular Price: $12.50
Final Mintage: 2,210,458
1982-S Proof George Washington Half Dollar
Pre-issue Price: $8.50
Regular Price: $10.00
Final Mintage: 4,894,044