The History Of The Oregon Trail Half Dollar Collectible Coin

The Oregon Trail half dollar commemorates the arduous and dangerous journey made by thousands of pioneers who braved the 2,000-mile route during the 1840s from Independence MO to Fort Vancouver, in what is now Washington State. Issued as one of many early silver commemorative coins, the Philadelphia Mint struck the first 48,000 coins in September 1926. The San Francisco mint issued an additional 100,000 pieces later that year due to public demand. Production halted in 1927 when the US Treasury realized that buyer enthusiasm was not what it once was but the mints resumed production in 1928 with 50,000 coins remaining in the vaults until 1933.

The Scott Stamp and Coin Company in New York attempted to liquidate the 1928 issues but sold only 6,000 coins and sent 44,000 units to the melting pot. The Denver Mint issued 7,000 Fort Hall, Fort Laramie and Jason Lee issue coins in 1934 with another 10,000 coming from the Philadelphia Mint and 5,000 from San Francisco in 1936. The Denver Mint followed up with 12,000 coins in 1937. Sets featuring one coin from each mint became available in 1938 and 1939.

James Earle, designer of the Buffalo nickel, created the obverse design featuring a team of oxen pulling a Conestoga wagon toward a setting sun. Earle’s wife, Laura Gardin Fraser, is responsible for the reverse design with its depiction of a Native American standing with outstretched arm and a United States map serving as the background. Collectors consider the coin to be one of the best examples of American design among all US coins.

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 7:40 am by admin · Permalink
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