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Commemorative Coin Programs Not Signed Into Law (Classic Era)

Proposed Classic Commemorative Coins. Image: Adobe Stock / USPS / CoinWeek.
Proposed Classic Commemorative Coins. Image: Adobe Stock / USPS / CoinWeek.

The classic era of United States commemorative coins saw the release of 50 silver and 13 gold types, for a total of 157 coins, counting mintmarked examples and multi-year issues. However, Congress did not support every idea proposed for a commemorative coin. The following list lays out several commemorative coin programs that were not signed into law during the classic commemorative era through the 1960s.

  • Jamestown Tercentenary $2 Silver Coin (1907 – proposed by Farran Zerbe)
  • Stephen Foster (1929-1930, rejected on the grounds that commemorative coins should commemorate events and not individuals. Foster was later celebrated on the obverse of the Cincinnati half dollar (1936).
  • 75th Anniversary of the Gadsden Purchase (1930 – H.R. 2029, promoted by L.W. Hoffecker. vetoed by Hoover)
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition 125th Anniversary (1930 – H.R. 4192, sponsored by Lewis and Clark Memorial Association, Inc. Open-ended bill could have allowed for multi-year striking of the commemorative. Withdrawn after Hoover vetoed Gadsden)
  • Yorktown Sesquicentennial (1930, introduced by Roy Fitzgerald (R-Ohio)January 21, 1930)
  • Centennial of the Waiilatpu Mission (Walla Walla Valley Washington). Introduced in 1936. Law passed after changing half dollar to medal. The commission requesting the coin chose not to produce the authorized medal, citing low interest in medals.
  • 50th Anniversary of the Founding of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. (1936).
  • 100th Anniversary of the changing of the name of Sawpit to Village of Port Chester, NY” (1937)
  • “Heroes of the Alamo”
  • Construction of the Fort Peck dam.
  • Founding of the International Peace Garden (1936). No more than 50,000 to be struck in 1936; no more than 50,000 to be struck in 1937.
  • 400th Anniversary of the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (1936)
  • Dr. Charles P. Steinmetz (1936). 25,000 coins struck “at the mints”.
  • 300 Year Anniversary of the Founding of Hartford, Connecticut (1937). 25,000 coins.
  • 160th Anniversary of Washington’s Arrival at Morristown (1936). 10,000 coins.
  • Centennial of Michigan’s Statehood (1936). 5,000 coins.
  • Opening of the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (1936). This bill failed, while the San Francisco Bay Bridge bill introduced earlier in the year by Senator Hiram Johnson passed.
  • New York World’s Fair / 150th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the First President of the United States and the establishment of the federal government in the city of New York (1936).
  • 150th Anniversary of the Constitution. Written by J. Tyson McGill (ANA #5001) and introduced in Congress by New York Representative Marcellus H. Evans. (H.R. 12443) Bill called for an unlimited dollar coinage to bring it into circulation. The bill also called for the cessation of any further commemorative coins during the year 1937.
  • Tri-State (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas) half dollar (1936). H.R. 8107. Reported to House on February 27. Passed the House on April 20.
  • West Virginia half dollar (1938)
  • 400th Anniversary of the journey and explorations of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (1940). Not more than 100,000 silver half dollars.
  • Will Rogers (1946). Tabled by Committee of Banking and Currency.
  • 150th Anniversary of the Graduation of Sylvanus Thayer from the U.S. Military Academy (1948; H.R. 13166), introduced by Representative Katherine St. George.
  • 50th Anniversary of the Termination of the War with Spain (1948; H.J. Res 333, 80th Congress). Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking on Currency. Published in Report 1720. Submitted by Michigan Representative James Wolcott. Called for the striking of 250,000 half dollar coins.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Commemorative half dollar (1958; S. 3299, reintroduced by Senators William Langer and Milton Young, both of North Dakota). Legislation called for 100,000 mintage with coins bearing the date 1958 (regardless of the year of striking). Backed by the North Dakota Coin Club, the Queen City Coin Club, and the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park and Badlands Association.
  • Lumberman’s Memorial Monument (Huron National Forest), proposed by Congressman Elford A. Cederberg (H.R. 11709). To be distributed by Tawa City, Michigan Kiwanis Club.
    Colorado “Rush to the Rockies” Centennial / U.S. Air Force Academy Reverse dollar (1958, proposed by Sen. Gordon Allott, S. 4185)
  • Colorado “Rush to the Rockies” Centennial / U.S. Air Force Academy Reverse half dollar (1959; proposed by Sen. Gordon Allott, S. 225)
  • Pioneer Spirit of the Nation’s Early Lumberjacks Half Dollar (1959; proposed by Rep. Elford A. Cederberg, H.R. 58)
  • 150th Anniversary of the Graduation from the U.S. Military Academy of Sylvanus Thayer half dollar (1959; proposed by Rep Katharine St. George, H.R. 1065)
  • Centennial of the Drilling of the First Oil Well at Titusville, PA (1959; proposed by Rep Carroll D. Kearns, H.R. 3655)
  • 100th Anniversary of the Founding of Denver, Colorado (1959; proposed by Rep. Byron G. Rogers, H.R. 925)
  • Michigan Copper Mining (requested by the state of Michigan in 1964)

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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