The Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar does not get a lot of attention today and that’s probably about right as it seemingly did not get a lot of attention back in 1927 when it was sold. It probably deserves a little better since it ranked as one of the last commemoratives issued before the deluge. It also was one of the last where there were seemingly no problems or unusual hoards.
It appears that the Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar had more advance planning than almost any other commemorative half dollar from the period. Some commemoratives were authorized in the same year they were supposed to be issued, causing at least one to basically come out too late for the event where it was supposed to be sold. However, the Vermont Sesquicentennial was authorized in 1925 for a 1927 release.
The design was created by Charles Keck, who had designed the Panama-Pacific gold dollar. The obverse features Ira Allen, Vermont’s founder. On the reverse is a catamount on a pedestal, an appropriate design to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bennington and the independence of Vermont.
Ironically, when it was authorized there were no early signs that the commemorative program might get out of control, but 1925 would see four different half dollars. However, it is hard to argue with most of them: Stone Mountain, Lexington-Concord, California Diamond Jubilee and Fort Vancouver Centennial.
Then in 1926 there was the half dollar and gold quarter eagle for the Sesquicentennial of American Independence, and it is certainly hard to argue with that. The Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar also made its debut in 1926 and while it’s hard to argue with the topic, it’s certainly easy to question why it was produced on and off until 1939.
The fact that the Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar was the only commemorative of 1927 would suggest that commemoratives were still under control. Moreover, 1928 would see just a Hawaii half dollar and then there would be none until 1934 when the wheels started to fly off.
It appears that there was some decrease in commemorative interest around 1927 as the Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar had sales of just 28,142. It would be higher than the Fort Vancouver from 1925 and the Hawaii half dollar of 1928, but it is a far cry from other sales posted in 1925.
It also appears that this half dollar, unlike others, had no special efforts at promotion or sales. There were also no reports of hoards being sold later. It was simply a commemorative half dollar program executed the way it was envisioned.
That means the supply is relatively limited, which is why the Vermont Sesquicentennial half dollar is priced at $290 in MS-60 and $990 in MS-65 today.