Commemorative coins are minted to memorialize specific people, places and historical events, and are often prized by collectors for their unique and beautiful designs. A new online resource produced by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) highlights the U.S. Mint’s early silver commemoratives (1892-1954), providing detailed images and information for all 50 coins in the series as well as the broader historical perspective surrounding each coin.
The U.S. Mint’s classic commemorative era started strong with the World’s Columbian Exposition half dollar in 1892. By the 1930s, however, collectors had reached a saturation point. (An astonishing 21 different half dollars were struck in 1936 alone.) After a hiatus of several years, the last coin in the series, the Carver/Washington half dollar, was minted from 1951 to 1954.
“Commemorative coins exist to familiarize people with a specific event, person or place in history,” said Rodney Gillis, ANA education director. “They are excellent teaching tools.” Gillis spent months gathering the stories behind each of the coins and the subjects they represent.
“U.S. commemorative coins are really a window into our culture,” said Gillis. “Some of the coins remind us of things that we should be very proud of while others relate events that have fallen into disfavor. They are a perfect reflection of our society.”