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United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative Half Dollar

obverse, United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative Half Dollar


The National Park Service Centennial Half Dollar commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916, the National Park Service is a federal organization that oversees the operation and maintenance of many public parks throughout the United States. When An Act To Establish A National Park Service, also known as the Organic Act, was passed in 1916, the National Park Service oversaw 35 parks and landmarks, including Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is one of the nation’s oldest, having been declared a “public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” by Congress in 1872 and placed “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.”

Over the course of one hundred years, the National Park Service has grown to incorporate more than 400 sites, include more than 20,000 employees and volunteers, and encompasses some 84 million acres across all 50 states. The Park Service hosts millions of visitors each year and provides an array of educational programs for individuals of all ages. The significance of the National Park Service and its contributions to enriching the public warranted a series of commemorative coins celebrating the centennial of this beloved organization.

Congress passed The 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service Act (Public Law 113-291) in the spring of 2014 and President Barack Obama signed it into law on December 19 of that year. The bill authorizes the production of a commemorative half dollar, silver dollar, and $5 gold coin.

Specifically, it permits a total mintage of 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars across all finishes.


The Copper-Nickel Clad 2016 National Park Service Centennial Half Dollar obverse features two separate images divided by a banner reading “NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.” Above the banner, a backpacking hiker overlooks the grandeur of a mountainside lake. On the bottom portion of the obverse, a young child looks upon a frog hiding under a fern; the inscriptions “1916-2016,” “LIBERTY,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST” envelope the lower obverse design element that includes the child and frog. The obverse was designed by Barbara Fox and was sculpted by Michael Gaudioso.

reverse, United States 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative Half Dollar


The reverse of the half dollar centrally features the National Park Service logo and bears the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “HALF DOLLAR,” “STEWARDSHIP,” and “RECREATION” encircling the main design element. The reverse was designed by Thomas Hipschen and was sculpted by Charles L. Vickers. The coin’s mintmark is located to the central right side of the National Park Service logo.

Designer(s): Before joining the United States Mint, engraver Barbara Fox worked as a commercial artist (View Designer’s Profile). Michael Gaudioso joined the United States Mint in 2009. An accomplished medalist, his work has appeared on more than a dozen United States coins and medals (View Designer’s Profile). Thomas Hipschen is yet another up-and-coming designer who got their break through the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. After a lengthy-career as a sculptor for Franklin Mint, Charles L. Vickers joined the U.S. Mint’s Engraving department in 2003 (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications:

Country:  United States
Year Of Issue:  2016
Denomination:  50 cent
Mint Mark: D (Uncirculated); S (Proof)
Mintage:  750,000
Alloy:  91.67% Nickel, 8.33% Copper
Weight:  11.340 g
Diameter:  30.61 mm
Edge:  Reeded
OBV Designer  Barbara Fox/Michael Gaudioso
REV Designer  Thomas Hipschen/Charles L. Vickers
Quality:  Proof, Uncirculated

Keep up with all the latest coin releases from the United States Mint by clicking on CoinWeek’s Modern U.S. Coin Profiles Page.

CoinWeek IQ
CoinWeek IQ
With CoinWeek IQ, the editors and writers of CoinWeek dig deeper than the usual numismatic article. CoinWeek IQ provides collectors and numismatists with in-depth information, pedigree histories, and market analysis of U.S. coins and currency.

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    • The CCAC recommended this design for the clad half dollar b/c of its potential appeal to children, who might see it in a park gift shop and become enchanted with coins.

    • And the relatively low-cost of the clad half dollar being easier on a child’s allowance or their parent’s wallet.

  1. I believe Modern clad half dollar commemoratives are under-rated and a real sleeper. Most collectors rightly go for the silver dollar, which often keeps the clad halves low in mintage. And yes, sometimes the half ends up looking better than the dollar.


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