Who Speaks for the Half Dollar?
March 16, 2012
Three decades ago Bob Wilhite, now the retired editor of the Coin Market price guide, transferred a telephone call to me from someone he knew to be a regular caller.
“Regular caller” doesn’t begin to describe the man.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up the phone.
The caller was simply fixated on the half dollar. Was the U.S. Mint going to stop production of the coin?
It was a fair question. Since the coin saw its silver content reduced and then eliminated and went out of common usage in the 1960s, the future of the half dollar has prompted lively debate and speculation among collectors over the years.
Yet even today, it is still being made for collectors.
So far so normal.
However, the caller’s level of concern was such that he called multiple times during the year. Apparently every letter to the editor on the topic elevated his concern. He always asked for me by name when he phoned.
He also started mentioning other details of his life, such as the neighbors shooting laser beams at him.
Remember, this was 30 years ago.
I got used to it.
He was born in Brazil and had been moved to the United States as a young child. His father had abandoned them somewhere along the way.
Year after year there were calls and little tidbits of additional information would come my way interspersed with the inquiries about the future prospects of the half dollar.
It has been a number of years since the last phone call. In fact, he might have been the last person who cared about the half dollar.
The fate of the circulating half dollar no longer inspires much discussion among collectors at all.
Does this mean it is time for the coin to finally disappear?
On March 17, 2012 Chuck Schroeder
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