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Celebrate half, then kill it

The U.S. Mint has a notation on its website of how many days it is until the 225th anniversary of its founding on April 2, 1792.

Two years later will come the 225th anniversary of the half dollar coin. This, too, is worthy of a special celebration.

Perhaps a gold version of the 1794 Flowing Hair half dollar would be in order.

But that should be it. The half should then be abolished.

The fact that it should be abolished doesn’t mean that it will be abolished. There are many things that Congress should do, but doesn’t.

The coin will limp along being struck so they can be sold to collectors by the roll or by the bag.

Sooner or later you would think that the buyers of these coins will decide they have had enough. It is one thing to have a half dollar in a proof set or uncirculated set, but it is something else entirely to be accumulating them in 200-coin bags.

Eventually a spouse will put a foot down, or the high storage costs for coins basically worth face value will put an end to further purchases.

Also, these accumulations will eventually end up in the banking system, there to languish without demand by the public as the dollar coins have done.

The saving grace for the half dollar is there are not as many of them as dollar coins, and the public has so thoroughly forgotten about them that there are no complaints.

We don’t see headlines about hapless would-be half dollar spenders threatened with arrest because they are trying to spend a fake as happens when people try to spend the barely used $2 bills.

So the half dollar will continue to be offered each year to a shrinking band of a few thousand collectors, who for whatever reason, continue to buy by the roll and the bag.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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