About 1928 Oregon Trail Silver Commemoratives
All Oregon Trail half dollars to come after the first year of issue in 1926 are much scarcer than those first production runs from the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints. The problem was, not all of the 1926 Oregons were sold, and many ended up in the smelting pot. Meanwhile, the United States Mint had struck a total of 50,028 Oregon halves in 1928 but would not release them until the 1926-dated pieces were sold first.
The 1928 Oregon half dollars would not hit the market until 1933, when the earliest Oregon half dollars from 1926 were either all sold or melted. Enterprising numismatic publisher and author Wayte Raymond offered to pitch the 1928 Oregon half dollars to the buying public on the condition that all but 6,000 be melted, making the coin artificially scarce. US Mint officials agreed, dumping all but 6,028 of the 1928-dated Oregon halves in the fire. The 1928 issues were sold for $1 apiece.
The 1928 Oregon half dollar, designed by husband and wife coin designers James Earle Fraser and Laura Gardin Fraser, shows on its obverse a Native American before a map of the continental United States highlighting the path of the Oregon Trail, while the reverse shows a cattle-driven stagecoach heading toward a sunset. The coin commemorates the historic 2,000-mile path across the western United States as well as the many pioneers who died along the way.
The 1928 Oregon half dollar is moderately scarce today, with examples MS67 or higher proving quite rare. Most of the uncirculated 1928 half dollars exhibit decent strike and luster.
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