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Commemoratives on Block for Heritage Sale

In a sale set to close Jan. 15, Heritage Auctions offered classic silver and gold commemoratives in its U.S. Coins Monthly Online Auction.

The following are some highlights of the auction.

1892 Columbian Half Dollar

One of just 100 minted, this example is graded PR-64 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Heritage calls the silver commemorative “problem-free.”

1892 Columbian half dollar. (All images courtesy Heritage Auctions)

1892 Columbian half dollar. (All images courtesy Heritage Auctions)

Issued by the Mint in 1892 and 1893, the Columbian half dollar is considered to be the first traditional U.S. commemorative coin. It was issued both to raise funds for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and to mark the quadricentennial of the first voyage to the Americas of Christopher Columbus, whose portrait it bears.

It was also the first American coin to depict a historical person.

1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial Half Dollar

From a mintage of 14,994, the silver 1925 Fort Vancouver half dollar commemorative offered in the sale is certified MS-67+ by PCGS and verified by Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC).

1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial half dollar.

1925 Fort Vancouver Centennial half dollar.

The coin was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. Its obverse depicts John McLoughlin, who was in charge of Fort Vancouver from 1825-1846. The reverse shows an armed frontiersman standing in front of the fort.

1937-S Daniel Boone Bicentennial Half Dollar

The Daniel Boone commemorative example in the sale hails from the Bagne Collection.

1937-S Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollar.

1937-S Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollar.

Heritage describes it as, “decidedly prooflike in the obverse fields and appreciably so on the reverse. Iridescent toning has tendencies toward yellow-gold overall, and the devices are sharp.”

It is graded MS-66* Prooflike by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

The coin was made to commemorate the 200th birthday of Boone. The obverse depicts his portrait while the reverse features an Indian Chief standing next to the frontiersmen.

1938-D Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar

The example featured in the sale is graded MS-68 by PCGS and labeled as “problem-free” by Heritage. It comes from a mintage of 6,005.

The commemorative was struck intermittently by the Mint between 1926 and 1939. Designed by Laura Gardin Fraser and James Earle Fraser, it pays tribute to those who traveled the Oregon Trail and settled the Pacific Coast.

1938-D Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar.

1938-D Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar.

The obverse design bears an image of a Native American standing with arm outstretched superimposed over a United States map. A Conestoga wagon pulled by oxen heading toward the setting sun is the focal point of the reverse. Five stars appear under the wagon.

1935-S California Pacific International Exposition Half Dollar

The San Diego commemorative half dollar was produced in San Franciso in 1935 and in Denver in 1936. The piece in the sale, dated 1935-S, is Graded MS-65 Prooflike by NGC.

California Pacific International Exposition dollar

California Pacific International Exposition dollar

“NGC has certified a half dozen examples of the former issue with a Prooflike designation, all in the MS-65 numeric grade,” Heritage says in its auction write-up. “This example is housed in an old NGC slab, with a noticeably reflective sheen in the fields. A trace of golden color warms the borders, and a loupe reveals only a few trivial marks that limit the grade.”

The design, created by Robert I. Aitken, features Minerva and other components of California’s state seal on the obverse and buildings from the California Pacific International Exposition, held 1935-1936 in San Diego, on the reverse.

1915-S Panama-Pacific Gold Dollar

One of 15,000 minted, this example of the 1915-S Panama-Pacific gold dollar commemorative is graded MS-67 by PCGS.

The coin’s obverse depicts a worker, representative of the labor it took to build the Panama Canal. The reverse features the denomination, “ONE DOLLAR,” at center. Around the perimeter is “PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION” and “SAN FRANCISCO.”

The gold dollar was one of five commemorative coins minted to mark the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco.

For complete lot details and sale results (which were not available at the time of writing), visit Heritage online at