Booker T. Washington Commemorative Half Dollar

MINTAGE YEARS: 1946-1951

DESIGNER: Isaac Scott Hathaway


EDGE: Reeded


DIAMETER: 30.61 millimeters


WEIGHT: 12.5 grams

THICKNESS: 2.15 millimeters


MINTAGE: 1,609,041 (5,000,000 authorized)


MINT: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco


COMPOSITION: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

FINISH: Business Strike

CONNECTION: The obverse depicts Booker T. Washington, an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States. Washington was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. The reverse shows the cabin in which Washington was born, now the Booker T. Washington National Monument, and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, in which Washington is honored.


      The Booker T. Washington Commemorative Half Dollars were issued for six years, 1946 to 1951. Each of the three U.S. Mints (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) issued coins in all six years, so there are a total of 18 Booker T Washington issues. For the first two years, mintages were huge. In fact, for the 1946 Philadelphia BTW, over a million coins were struck. They were not very popular at the time of issue, but many survive today. They are one of the more available issues in the silver commemorative series. Booker T. Washington Commemorative Half Dollars suffered design issues that resulted in flatness of the design and propensity for marks.