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Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)





Classic Commemoratives, those issued from 1892 to 1954, have become one of the most popular series in recent years. There are 144 varieties of silver issues, of which all but two are half dollars (one is a quarter, the other is a dollar). Many collectors build type sets, which include 50 issues. Although some silver Classic Commemoratives are very scarce and valuable, others are quite affordable, even in high grades.

The first United States commemorative coin was issued in 1892 in conjunction with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. These coins celebrated the 400th Anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America and were sold for $1 at the fair. Nearly one million examples were sold in the first year. The so-called Classic Commemorative series began with the Columbian half in 1892 and ended in 1954 with the Washington/Carver half. In recent years Classic Commemoratives have become one of the most popular series with collectors.

Nearly all of the silver Classic Commemoratives were half dollars, and many marked important historical events. A quarter (Isabella) was issued in 1893, and a dollar (Lafayette) in 1900. Congress often used the commemoratives to raise money for projects related to the historical event, such as building a memorial. By the 1920s, however, commemoratives were being issued for seemingly unimportant events and struck for multiple years at several mints to boost sales. With the plethora of commemoratives issued in the 1920s, Congress noted in 1925 that many of these “commemorate events of local and not national interest.”

The Oregon Trail Memorial half, for example, was struck from 1926 to 1939 at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. This may have been the last straw; on February 27, 1939 Congress prohibited further commemoratives from being issued, although there were a few exceptions. The Classic Commemorative series officially came to a close with the Washington/Carver half dollar, struck from 1951-1954 to “oppose the spread of communism among Negroes in the interest of national defense.”

There are 144 silver Classic Commemoratives in a complete set, but many collectors try to build a type set, which includes 50 issues. Some issues are quite scarce, and others, such as the Lafayette dollar, have broad appeal and are very valuable. Many Classic Commemoratives, however, are relatively affordable even in higher grades. It is no wonder that this interesting series has steadily gained popularity over the years.


Coins in Category

1893 ISABELLA 25C MS 1921 2X2 ALABAMA 50C MS 1921 ALABAMA 50C MS 1936 ALBANY 50C MS 1937 ANTIETAM 50C MS 1935 ARKANSAS 50C MS 1935 D ARKANSAS 50C MS 1935 S ARKANSAS 50C MS 1936 ARKANSAS 50C MS 1936 D ARKANSAS 50C MS 1936 S ARKANSAS 50C MS 1937 ARKANSAS 50C MS 1937 D ARKANSAS 50C MS 1937 S ARKANSAS 50C MS 1938 ARKANSAS 50C MS 1938 D ARKANSAS 50C MS 1938 S ARKANSAS 50C MS 1939 ARKANSAS 50C MS 1939 D ARKANSAS 50C MS 1939 S ARKANSAS 50C MS 1936 S BAY BRIDGE 50C MS 1934 BOONE 50C MS 1935 BOONE 50C MS 1935 D BOONE 50C MS 1935 S BOONE 50C MS 1935/1934 BOONE 50C MS 1935/1934 D BOONE 50C MS 1935/1934 S BOONE 50C MS 1936 BOONE 50C MS 1936 D BOONE 50C MS 1936 S BOONE 50C MS 1937 BOONE 50C MS 1937 D BOONE 50C MS 1937 S BOONE 50C MS 1938 BOONE 50C MS 1938 D BOONE 50C MS 1938 S BOONE 50C MS 1936 BRIDGEPORT 50C MS 1925 S CALIFORNIA 50C MS 1936 CINCINNATI 50C MS 1936 D CINCINNATI 50C MS 1936 S CINCINNATI 50C MS 1936 CLEVELAND 50C MS 1936 COLUMBIA 50C MS 1936 D COLUMBIA 50C MS 1936 S COLUMBIA 50C MS 1892 COLUMBIAN 50C MS 1893 COLUMBIAN 50C MS 1935 CONNECT 50C MS 1936 DELAWARE 50C MS 1936 ELGIN 50C MS 1936 GETTYSBURG 50C MS 1922 GRANT-STAR 50C MS 1922 GRANT 50C MS 1928 HAWAII 50C MS 1935 HUDSON 50C MS 1924 HUGUENOT 50C MS 1918 ILLINOIS 50C MS 1946 IOWA 50C MS 1925 LEXINGTON 50C MS 1936 LONG ISLAND 50C MS 1936 LYNCHBURG 50C MS 1920 MAINE 50C MS 1934 MARYLAND 50C MS 1921 2*4 MISSOURI 50C MS 1921 MISSOURI 50C MS 1923 S MONROE 50C MS 1938 NEW ROCHELLE 50C MS 1936 NORFOLK 50C MS 1926 OREGON 50C MS 1926 S OREGON 50C MS 1928 OREGON 50C MS 1933 D OREGON 50C MS 1934 D OREGON 50C MS 1936 OREGON 50C MS 1936 S OREGON 50C MS 1937 D OREGON 50C MS 1938 OREGON 50C MS 1938 D OREGON 50C MS 1938 S OREGON 50C MS 1939 OREGON 50C MS 1939 D OREGON 50C MS 1939 S OREGON 50C MS 1915 S PAN PACIFIC 50C MS 1920 PILGRIM 50C MS 1921 PILGRIM 50C MS 1936 RHODE ISLAND 50C MS 1936 D RHODE ISLAND 50C MS 1936 S RHODE ISLAND 50C MS 1937 ROANOKE 50C MS 1936 ROBINSON 50C MS 1935 S SAN DIEGO 50C MS 1936 D SAN DIEGO 50C MS 1926 AMERICA SESQUI 50C MS 1935 SPANISH TRAIL 50C MS 1925 STONE MOUNTAIN 50C MS 1934 TEXAS 50C MS 1935 TEXAS 50C MS 1935 D TEXAS 50C MS 1935 S TEXAS 50C MS 1936 TEXAS 50C MS 1936 D TEXAS 50C MS 1936 S TEXAS 50C MS 1937 TEXAS 50C MS 1937 D TEXAS 50C MS 1937 S TEXAS 50C MS 1938 TEXAS 50C MS 1938 D TEXAS 50C MS 1938 S TEXAS 50C MS 1925 FORT VANCOUVER 50C MS 1927 VERMONT 50C MS 1946 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1946 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1946 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1947 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1947 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1947 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1948 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1948 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1948 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1949 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1949 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1949 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1950 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1950 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1950 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1951 B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1951 D B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1951 S B.T. WASHINGTON 50C MS 1951 WASH CARVER 50C MS 1951 D WASH CARVER 50C MS 1951 S WASH CARVER 50C MS 1952 WASH CARVER 50C MS 1952 D WASH CARVER 50C MS 1952 S WASH CARVER 50C MS 1953 WASH CARVER 50C MS 1953 D WASH CARVER 50C MS 1953 S WASH CARVER 50C MS 1954 WASH CARVER 50C MS 1954 D WASH CARVER 50C MS 1954 S WASH CARVER 50C MS 1936 WISCONSIN 50C MS 1936 YORK 50C MS 1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS 1925 NORSE AMERICAN THICK SILVER MEDAL MS 1925 NORSE AMERICAN THIN SILVER MEDAL MS 1925 NORSE AMERICAN LARGE FORMAT SILVERED MEDAL MS 1925 NORSE AMERICAN LARGE FORMAT NICKEL MEDAL MS

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