David P. writes: I have a columbian half dollar commemorative coin. 1893 chicago worlds fair columbian exposition. Was wondering if it had any value. Thank you, Dave
Yes, it is worth more than face value. Average circulated pieces bring about $10-$15. Columbian Exposition half dollars were made in 1892 and 1893 and both were sold as souvenirs for $1 at the exposition. The show opened a year late and that is why there are two dates for this coin. There were 950,000 1892 and 1,550,405 1893’s minted. It seems that not very many were sold at the Fair. Fair-goers balked at paying one dollar for a fifty cent value coin. I guess many of them thought double face value was too high a price to pay.
Years later, the remaining coins were released to U.S. banks at face value; that is the reason there are so many circulated examples. While circulated example values languish at about double their melt value, high quality (MS65 or better) uncirculated specimens are quite scarce and worth hundreds of dollars or more.