Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Yes, the Treasury still mints half dollars

Tracking 'Midsomer Murders'

Will Midsomer Murders ever return to the United States on the A&E network or BBC America?

Episodes of Midsomer Murders, a stylish English drama centering on Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby's crime-solving in the snooty fictional county of Midsomer, have been purchased exclusively by American Public Television. APT buys rights to programs and resells them to public TV stations.

However, the two public TV stations in the Tampa Bay area, WEDU and WUSF, did not purchase the rights to broadcast the show, according to APT's Mike Nadeau. About 11 U.S. markets have, and episodes in those markets will be shown through April 2011.

Nadeau said DVDs of the show are available through and such retailers as Acorn Media and Amazon.

John Nettles, who plays Barnaby, announced in February he was stepping out of the role after the 13th season, with his final episode being shown in early 2011. There are plans to replace him and film a 14th season.

Treasury still mints half dollars

How come we never get half dollars as change these days? I can't remember the last time I received one. Is the Treasury not minting them anymore?

Half-dollar coins have been minted every year since 1794 (though no known half dollars are dated 1975). Only the penny has been minted more consistently.

As you have noticed, though, their circulation is fairly limited. Why?

About three months after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963, his image was placed on the half dollar, replacing Benjamin Franklin. Collectors began hoarding them for sentimental reasons, but also because they were the only U.S. coin still containing silver, which was rising in value.

By 1971, when the coin's composition was switched to match the new dimes and quarters, the nation had adapted to not having half dollars in general circulation. People were used to getting change in two quarters. Businesses stopped stocking them for change, and banks subsequently quit handing them out. And vending machines do not accept them, which further limits their usefulness.

As their circulation dwindled, the U.S. Mint stopped producing so many. In 1967, the Mint made 295 million Kennedy half dollars. Ten years later it was 74 million. By 1987 it was less than 6 million and in 2008 only 3.4 million were made.

By comparison, in 2008 there were more than 1 billion pennies made, 296 million quarters, 146 million dimes and 79 million nickels.

Since 2001, half-dollar coins have been produced primarily for collectors. Outside of that, you're most likely to see them if you go to a casino, where they are often used for antes.

Q&A: Yes, the Treasury still mints half dollars 07/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, July 5, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tie vote blocks grant money for husband of Dade City mayor

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Taking another shot at obtaining a Community Redevelopment Agency grant to improve his downtown building, the husband of Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was denied this week by a deadlocked board.

    Mayor Camille Hernandez recused herself but was asked to stay in the room.
  2. Deputies responding to car crash in Riverview find shooting victim inside


    RIVERVIEW — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after deputies responding to a single-car crash late Wednesday discovered someone in the car had been shot, authorities said.

  3. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us


    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: School grades, teacher pay, transgender lawsuit and more


    SCHOOL GRADES: Florida's school grades showed improvement as the state's revised accountability system entered its third year in its current form. …

    Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates her school's A grade with students in a summer program at the school.
  5. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland



    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.