Silver Commemorative (1892 – 1954)

#1 Silver Commemorative Buyer Las Vegas & Henderson

History

Since ancient times, the issuing of commemorative coins has been popular. They were usually produced in honor of members of royalty as well as to record significant historical events. Even as far back as Greek and Roman times commemoratives were popular and collected and in most cases circulated as currency. The United States began the practice of creating commemorative coins in 1892, however in most cases they did not appear in general circulation. The first commemorative, the World’s Columbian Exposition half dollar was issued to offset some of the cost of the exposition as well as to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The coins had a face value of one half dollar, but were sold at the exposition for a dollar as a means of raising money and to provide to the public a souvenir of the event. These coins, as is the case with most silver commemoratives, were made with 90% silver and 10% copper, consistent with the circulating silver coinage of the period.

Silver commemoratives were issued in varying denominations including: quarter dollars, half dollars and dollar coins. Starting with the Columbian Exposition piece in 1892, silver commemorative coins continued being produced at varying times and to highlight various individuals and events until 1954. In all, about fifty different commemoratives were produced during this period. These coins were normally not placed in circulation, generally being distributed by some agency at a price over their face value with any profit usually being used to help fund the event being celebrated, (modern commemoratives, beginning in 1982, have been distributed through the U.S. Mint, with proceeds going directly to the government).

As mentioned, the 1892 Columbian Exposition half dollar coin was the first of the silver commemoratives and was issued through 1893. The coin’s obverse has a portrait of Christopher Columbus and the reverse has a representation of Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria. In 1893, a quarter dollar coin was produced for the Columbian Exposition with the image of Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus’s sponsor for his voyages. The reverse of this coin has an image of a woman kneeling with distaff and spindle and is intended to represent women’s industry.

Value

In 1900, the first silver dollar commemorative was issued and is known as the Lafayette Dollar. The heads of George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette appear on the obverse of the coin. This was the first authorized United States coin allowed to have a portrait of a U.S. president. The reverse of the coin displays a statue similar to the monument of Lafayette later erected in Paris as a gift from the American people. The coin originally sold for $2. Exceptional mint examples today are valued at around $18,000.

The next silver commemorative coin was part of a series issued in 1915 to commemorate the Panama-Pacific Exposition. While many of the coins minted for this event were issued in gold, a silver half dollar coin was also produced. The exposition was held in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. These coins were minted at the San Francisco Mint and were sold at the exposition. The image of a woman representing Columbia appears on the obverse of the coin with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. This coin was the first commemorative to display the motto, “In God We Trust”, and appears above an eagle with outstretched wings on the reverse of the coin. Issued for $1, the coin is now worth $3,000 in high mint state.

Beginning in 1918, silver commemoratives issued as half dollars, were minted to commemorate centennials of various states. This was done for Illinois in 1918, Maine in 1920, Missouri and Alabama in 1921, Arkansas in 1935 to 1939, (although in became a state in 1836). A second issue actually came out in 1936 also considered a centennial commemorative. Finally, a commemorative was issued for Iowa’s centennial in 1946. Most of the centennial commemorative coins are worth from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in mint condition. Throughout the period from 1918 to 1954 silver commemorative coins continued being released that acknowledged anniversary milestones from various events relating to the founding of cities, states and territories, as well as commemorating battles, expositions and other significant events in American history. Most of these coins can be had for between a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the condition and rarity of the coin.

Because there are so many varied opinions on the condition (or grade) of a coin, the values mentioned reflect the highest retail prices that have been obtained for those coins that have been assessed by a third party grading company. Such coins have been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by expert coin grading companies to minimize any doubt as to their authenticity, quality and value and therefore their potential worth.

We Buy Silver Commemorative Coins

We want to buy your silver commemorative coins and as a business it is our pledge to offer you the best value for your coins, however, always remember that the prices you may find online or in price guides usually represent the highest retail value for the coin in an already certified condition. As a trusted dealer we will have our coin specialists evaluate your coins at no cost and offer you a price that is both fair for you, but that also allows us to realize a reasonable profit.