½ Dollar Oregon Trail Memorial

½ Dollar (Oregon Trail Memorial) -  obverse½ Dollar (Oregon Trail Memorial) -  reverse

© Steve27K


Issuer United States
Period Federal republic (1776-date)
Type Non-circulating coin
Years 1926-1939
Value 1/2 Dollar = 50 Cents (0.5 USD)
Currency Dollar (1785-date)
Composition Silver (.900)
Weight 12.5 g
Diameter 30.6 mm
Shape Round
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓
Number N# 9258
Numista type number (https://numista.com)
References KM# 159
Tracy L. Schmidt (editor); 2019. Standard Catalog of World Coins / 2001-Date (14th edition). Krause Publications, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA.
And 4 more volumes.

Commemorative issue

Oregon Trail Memorial


A covered wagon drawn by two oxen moving west, towards the setting sun


Engravers: James E., Laura G.Fraser


Full figure of a Native American in headdress. He stands before a map of the United States with the Oregon Trail marked, with his left hand outstretched to the east and a bow in his right hand spanning the continent.


Engraver: Laura Gardin Fraser

Laura Gardin Fraser was an American sculptor and the wife of sculptor James Earle Fraser. Laura Gardin studied under Fraser at the Art Students League of New York from 1910 to 1912.




United States Mint, Philadelphia, United States (1792-date)
D United States Mint, Denver, United States (1906-date)
S United States Mint, San Francisco, United States (1854-date)


Despite having one of the most beautiful designs in the series, the Oregon Trail Half Dollar is usually cited as the best example of the abuses which began to take place within commemorative coin programs. Between the years 1926 and 1939, the coins were minted with eight different dates at three different mint facilities for varying prices, in an attempt to make as much money as possible.

The maximum authorized mintage for the program was set at a lofty 6 million pieces, which was the largest authorization for commemorative coin thus far. For the first year of issue, coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and San Francisco Mint and offered by the Oregon Trail Memorial Association for $1 each.

Since the law authorizing the coins did not include a specific time frame or mint, the Association requested more coins struck in subsequent years and from different mints. Additional coins would be minted in 1928, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939, variously at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. Individual coin pricing varied from $1.50 to $2.00 to $1.60. The final two years were sold as complete sets from all three mints for $6.25 and later $7.50 each.

Despite the vast number of different issues for the Oregon Trail Half Dollars, ultimately only 264,419 coins were sold. All coins remain relatively accessible for collectors of today, despite some lower mintages. Some issues are available in exceptionally high grades at relatively affordable prices.

Authorization: Public Law 69-235
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 6,000,000

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Date Mintage VG F VF XF AU UNC Frequency
1926  47 955 $ 78 $ 130 $ 187 45%
1926 S 83 055 $ 130 $ 187 35% Type coin
1928  6 028 1.8%
1933 D 5 008 1.8%
1934 D 7 006 8%
1936  10 006 10%
1936 S 5 006 5%
1937 D 12 008 $ 265 10%
1938  6 006 1.8%
1938 D 6 005 1.8%
1938 S 6 006 3%
1939  3 004 3%
1939 D 3 004 4%
1939 S 3 005 5%

Values in the table above are expressed in USD. They are based on evaluations by Numista users and sales realized on Internet platforms. They serve as an indication only; they are not intended to be relied upon for buying, selling or exchanging. Numista does not buy or sell coins or banknotes.

Frequencies show the percentage of Numista users who own each year or variety among all the users who own this coin. Since some users own several versions, the sum may be greater than 100%.

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Numista Rarity index: 47 Search tips
This index is based on the data of Numista members collections. It ranges from 0 to 100, 0 meaning a very common coin or banknote and 100 meaning a rare coin or banknote among Numista members.

Bullion value: USD 8.15 Search tips
This value is given for information purpose only. It is based on a price of silver at 725 USD/kg. Numista does not buy or sell coins or metal.

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