Unusual Hapalua 1883 King Kalakaua Half Dollar Mounted Pendant
A decorative jewelry piece made from a decommissioned Hawaiian Silver Half Dollar, in amazing condition, nearly uncirculated, with a custom pendant mount worked to look like a gryphon.
Measurements: 2 3/4″ L x 2 1/2″ W x 6″ H
Hapalua or half dollar 1883:
Diameter: 30.5 millimeters
Weight: 12.5 grams
Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper
About Hawaiian Coins of 1883: “King Kalakaua (1874-91), who sought to bring the islands up to Western standards of development, interviewed representatives from various foreign mints on the subject of a contract coinage. This move alarmed sugar magnate Claus Spreckels, whose influence in the islands made him a virtual second king. Certain that Hawaii was vital to the interests of both himself and the United States, he persuaded Kalakaua to have the desired silver coins struck by the USA to American standards. The latter provision was a key selling point, as the use of standard USA coin planchets lowered the cost of this coinage. The master hubs and dies for this coinage were prepared by the United States Mint’s Chief Engraver, Charles Barber. He worked from designs submitted by Spreckels and subsequently modified by Mint Director Horatio C. Burchard.
The circulating coinage of Kalakaua was executed at the San Francisco Mint between November of 1883 and June of 1884, though all pieces bore the earlier date. The denominations struck corresponded to those provided for in the law of 1846, with one exception. The hapawalu, or eighth dollar, was excluded from regular production in favor of the umi (ten) keneta, or dime. Retired pieces were returned to the USA and melted. As a result, all denominations are fairly scarce in circulated grades and genuinely rare in Mint State, with the sole exception of the hapaha, or quarter dollar.