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OREGON TRAIL HALF DOLLAR
Introduction: The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, Inc., a New York corporation, for reasons best known to itself, sought in early 1926 to have Congress authorize no less than 6,000,000 commemorative half dollars. In the grandiloquent language of the bill, these were "to commemorate the heroism of the fathers and mothers who traversed the Oregon Trail to the Far West with great hardship, daring, and loss of life, which not only resulted in adding new State to the Union, but earned a well-deserved and imperishable fame to the pioneers; to honor the 20,000 dead that lie buried in unknown graves along 20,000 miles of the great highway of history; to rescue the various important points along the trail from oblivion and to commemorate by suitable monuments, memorial or otherwise, the tragic events associated with that immigration, erecting them either along the trail itself or elsewhere in localities appropriate for the purpose, including the City of Washington..." Possibly because the stated purpose was nationalistic rather than obscurely local, the House Coinage Committee reported the bill favorably, and it became the Act of May 17, 1926.
The Indian-no single tribe is represented stands with blanket and bow, but without peace pipe, his gesture seemingly warning the westward-bound whites, "So far and no further." (His position has been irreverently compared to that of a traffic policeman demanding "Halt!") Behind him is a Map of the United States on which a line of Conestoga wagons is headed for what is now the State of Washington; but the map shows no state boundaries. On issues possessing mintmarks, the D or S for Denver or San Francisco appears right of the F in HALF. A Conestoga wagon heading for the setting sun, drawn by oxen led by a pioneer, his wife and baby within, dominates the reverse.
Behind it is the joint monogram JE/LGF for the designers, James Earle Fraser (reverse) and Laura Gardin Fraser (obverse). There is no stated reason for the five stars-perhaps they represent states or territories crossed enroute from St. Joseph, Missouri on the way west.

Summary: Considered one of the most American of all US Coins and one of the most aesthetically pleasing. "Oregon Trails" as they are known are available starting from as little as $100.00 to over $1000.00 for a new perfect example.

Investment Recommendation: US Rare Coin Investments recommends building a complete set (14 different Oregon Trails) for investment!


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