The Half Dollar, although authorized by the Act of April 2nd 1972, was not minted until two years later in December of 1974. The first design issued was the Flowing Hair Half Dollar, which was produced for only two short years in 1794 and 1795, before it was replaced by the Draped Bust. 


The Draped Bust was minted from 1796 through 1807 with a small pause between two design variations. The first being the Small Eagle Reverse 1796 through 1979, and then the Heraldic Eagle Reverse from 1801 through 1807. During 1807 the Draped Bust was replaced by the Capped Bust. 


The Capped Bust ran from 1807 through 1839 with two main designs. The first, the large-diameter lettered edge minted from 1807 through 1836, and the smaller-diameter reeded edge struck from 1836 through 1839. 


Following the Capped Bust was the Liberty Seated. Minted from 1839 through 1891 with Five main Varieties. Variety One; No Motto Above Eagle minted from 1839 through 1853. Variety Two; Arrows at Date, Rays Around Eagle in 1853. Variety Three; Arrows at Date, with No Rays from 1854 through 1855. Variety Four;  with the Motto Above the Eagle produced from 1866 through 1873. Lastly, Variety Five; with Arrows at Date minted from 1873 through 1874. In 1875, Variety Four was resumed with the weight standard of Variety Five which lasted until the end of production for the Capped Bust in 1891. 



In 1892, the Barber ( most commonly used ) or Liberty Head was introduced. The design was adopted not only by half dollars, but dimes and quarters too. Named after the designer himself, Charles E. Barber, whose designs were only utilized after a failed open design competition put on by the Treasury. The Barber Half Dollar was produced from 1892 through 1915 concluding the early half dollar history. 



During 1916 a competition for a new coinage design was held yet again, and the design created by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman was chosen for the coin. It has been said that his design was inspired by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his design for the Double Eagle in 1907. The Liberty Walking was first introduced in 1916 during the First World War raging in Europe. Only a slight design change was made by moving the Mints mark from the obverse to the reverse. The Liberty Walking was produced from 1916 through 1947 when World War II was over, with a few small skips in years of production (1922, 1924 through 1926, and 1930 through 1932 ). 


In 1948 the Franklin Half Dollar was designed. At the time of issue, the design was criticized by many due to its rather basic design following that of the Liberty Walking. Compared to other coin types of that era ( Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, and Washington Quarter ) which have remained for more than a half a century, the Franklin Half was minted from 1948 through 1963. Only 16 years, making it one of the shortest U.S. coin series, as well as the last coinage series minted every year in .900 fine silver.


During the end of 1963, after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, many grand tributes were made in his name. However, none were greater than that of his profile circulating on a United States coin. The design for the Kennedy Half Dollar was immediately created following his death, finalized just weeks after, and in production by the end of January 1964.  The first Kennedy Half Dollar was struck in 1964, but due to the rising price of silver the composition of the half dollar was change in 1965 ( 40% fine silver ), and again in 1971 with the complete removal of silver from the composition all together. The Kennedy Half Dollar has been in production from 1964 to present date, but has become an obsolete denomination for everyday use.