Most Timeless, Classic United States Commemorative Silver Coins to Hold Forever
Updated: Aug 17
The US Mint classic commemorative coin program was the first commemorative coin program authorized by US Congress that existed 1892 to 1954 which still enamors and mesmerizes coin collectors or enthusiasts to this day.
The classic commemorative coin program is prized for its unique, intrigant designs as compared to the modern US commemorative coin series that began in 1982, and some of these classic coins rise to the level of such importance that these belong in anyone's collection.
There are a handful of classic commemorative coins that are the pinnacle of numismatic art and the best of US coin design unmatched any by modern release.
Just as important as the design of these coins, each one tells a story that forever changed US history. Below are just some of the many US classic commemorative coins you might want to consider for your collection or as an investment.
After all, the classic commemorative coin market has under appreciated to a fraction of the price from about 30 years ago despite the original mintages being the same, and the designs as beautiful and timeless as ever meaning that demand will come again.
This lists focuses on only the silver half dollars of the commemorative coins program; I may create a list of the gold classic commemorative coins in a future post
Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar
This coin was first issued intermittently between 1926 and 1939 to commemorative those who traveled west during the mid 1800's. This coin is regarded as one of the most popular of the commemorative coin series, and the iconic design was as beloved at release as it is today.
The coin was so popular at release that the coin was issued with 8 different dates at three different mints to make as much money as possible.
Ultimately, 264,419 coins were sold and can be obtained in a decent grade today for a relatively affordable price.
The Oregon trail made it possible for American pioneers to settle in the west as quickly as they did. The trail really spoke to the 1800's belief of manifest destiny that the United States was destined to expand it territory and dominion across the North American continent
Battle of Antietam Half Dollar
The battle of Antietam half dollar was issued in 1937 to commemorate the 75th anniversary one of the bloodiest days in American history.
The front features the two prominent Civil War generals, George B. McClellan and Robert E. Lee, and the reverse depicts the Burnside Bridge in Maryland where a battle took place that would prove to be one of the turning points of the war.
The battle resulted in a Union victory and the first failed Confederate invasion of the North that gave Abraham Lincoln the opportunity he needed to announce the Emancipation Proclamation.
This coin has one of the lowest mintages on this list of around 18,000, making it relatively expensive to obtain at $500 to over $1,000 depending on the grade. However, this is certainly a coin that will hold and increase its value over time
Texas Centennial Half Dollar
The Texas Centennial half dollar was issued from 1934 to 1938 to commemorate the independence of Texas from Mexico after the Mexican-American War.
"Remember the Alamo" is engraved on the front of the coin was the famous battle cry which symbolized the Texans' resistance and persistence in their struggle for independence.
The design glorifies the sacrifice of early Texans and pioneers with the Goddess Victory's wings spread over the Alamo fort.
Also, Texas heroes Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin appear on the obverse of the coin who are the namesake of two of Texas' largest cities.
The mintage for all years is around 149,478, and is relatively available today
Battle of Gettysburg Half Dollar
The Battle of Gettsyburg half dollar dated 1936 commemorates the most crucial battle of the Civil War.
The Battle of Gettsyburg is synonymous with the civil war as it the last failed attempt of the Confederate Army to invade the North, and was the turning point of the war that would inevitably lead to the Confederate States' surrender.
This battle also inspired Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address speech which transformed the Union cause into a struggle for equality and liberty.
This commemorative coin was given in to Union and Confederate civil war veterans at the Blue and Gray Reunion in 1938. The event was in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the civil war and promoted reconciliation and reunion between the opposing sides.
This is another extremely expensive coin on this list with only a low 26,928 mintage.
Lexington-Concord Sesquicentennial Half Dollar
The Lexington-Concord half dollar was released in 1925 to commemorative the 150th anniversary of the battle of Lexington and Concord.
The battle kicked off with the "shot heard around the world" as American colonists began the first battle in a large scale war paving the way for the independence of the United States.
The battle resulted in an American colony victory proving that the colonists could stand up to the most powerful military force in the world which marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
The mintage of this coin is 162,099 and is relatively inexpensive at below $150
Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar
The Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar was released in the year 1920 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim's journey to the new world and the landing of the Mayflower.
The beautiful design depicts a Pilgrim holding a Bible on the obverse and the Mayflower ship that brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts on the reverse.
To this day, the Pilgrims are a quintessential representation of the freedom of religion. Their journey to the Americas to escape persecution later inspired the religious liberty that became one of the foundations of the U.S. Constitution.
This coin can be obtained for around $100 in a decent condition
Grant Memorial Half Dollar
The Grant Memorial half dollar was released in 1922 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the birth of General Ulysses S. Grant who is known for leading the Union armies to victory over the Confederacy in the civil war along with his time as the 18th president of the United States.
The hallmarks of his presidency include his post-civil war Reconstruction of the south as well as enforcing civil rights for recently freed African-Americans. The reverse of the coin shows his log cabin birthplace emphasizing his humble beginnings.
This coin has a mintage of 67,405 and is surprisingly on the inexpensive side at around $200 or below for most grades.
There was a version of the Grant half dollar minted with a star on the front of the coin, and these expensive "with star" versions only have a mintage of 4,256 and are extremely coveted in the hobby.