50 Dollars, United States, 1877

50 Dollars, United States, 1877

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Some twenty years after the private sector had abandoned the idea of a fifty-dollar gold piece in the mid-1850s, the Philadelphia Mint considered the possibility of a federal coin of this denomination. There was even talk of a "union," or hundred-dollar coin, and a drawing or two has survived to suggest what the Mint had in mind. But in the end, no such coin was ever produced.
The project went a bit farther in the case of the "half-union." Dies were prepared, the work of William Barber (father of the eventual Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber).
Barber's obverse and reverse designs look vaguely akin to Longacre's work for the double eagle. A few patterns were struck in copper and two in gold; the latter share a reverse die but each has a slightly different obverse die. The project was abandoned soon afterwards, as it became apparent that the new coin simply wasn't needed.
Object Name
pattern coin
date made
U.S. Mint
place made
United States
Physical Description
gold (overall material)
overall:.3 cm x 5.11 cm; 1/8 in x 2 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Department of the Treasury, United States Mint
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
Legendary Coins
Coins, Currency and Medals
The Value of Money
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object