Oregon Trail Half Dollar

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  • #3360
    semoochie
    Participant

    Here’s something I pulled off of the front page of Wikipedia: The Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar was a fifty-cent piece struck intermittently by the United States Bureau of the Mint between 1926 and 1939. The coin was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser and James Earle Fraser, and honors those who traveled the Oregon Trail and settled the Pacific Coast of the United States. Ohio-born Ezra Meeker had traveled the Trail with his family in 1852 and spent the final two decades of his long life publicizing the Trail. In 1926, at age 95, he appeared before a Senate committee, requesting that the government issue a commemorative coin to raise money for markers to show where the Trail had been. The many varieties produced after Meeker’s death in 1928 came to be considered ripoffs, and in 1939 Congress ended the series. The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, distributor of the coin, had difficulty in selling them, and they remained available from the OTMA’s successor organization as late as 1953. Just over 260,000 of the 6,000,000 authorized coins were struck, of which about 60,000 were melted. The US commemorative coin struck over the longest period, the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar has been widely praised for its design.

    #3361
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Obverse

    Reverse

    #3368
    semoochie
    Participant

    Thanks Andy. That’s pretty cool!

    #3375
    jr_tech
    Participant

    Lovely coin, a *must* for Oregon collectors. Fairly decent examples of common date (1926-about 130k distributed) can often be found for less than $100. High grade, rare date (1933D-about 5k distributed) may bring $1000 or so.
    Some *completed* eBay listings here:
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&LH_Complete=1&_nkw=oregon+trail+half+dollar&_pgn=3&_skc=100&rt=nc

    #3495
    Mrs.Merkin
    Participant

    Very Cool! I would love to get one of those for my Dad.
    Our family belongs to to the ‘Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers’ on my dad’s side, and of course, my Mom’s side of the family was already here.

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