53. [NUMISMATICS]. U.S. silver half dollar coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Captain Cook in Hawaii in 1778. Philadelphia Mint, 1928. Diameter: 3.6 cm. Weight: 12.5 grams. Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper. Edge: Reeded. Net Weight: .36169 ounce pure silver. The present example is in average condition (MS 63).
Cook’s portrait dominates the obverse, eight volcanoes are shown (representing Hawaii’s eight largest volcanic islands). The reverse depicts a native warrior chief in full regalia, stretching his hand in a gesture of welcome. The coconut tree behind him evokes the long romance the world has had with the islands, and grass huts in the distance symbolize Hawaii’s antiquity. Juliette Mae Fraser of Honolulu prepared the design, which was executed by Chester Beach. Only a little over 10,000 copies were struck, making it scarce and difficult to obtain in any grade. This Hawaii half dollar has long been considered the number one “key” in a set of U.S. commemorative halves. ($2,500-5,000)
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