In the spring of 1930, the US House of Representatives considered bill HR 4192, a bill to "authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the expedition of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and Capt. William Clark."
Collectors of the classic US commemorative series will recall that the adventures of Lewis and Clark were celebrated with the issuance of a gold dollar commemorative coin. The coin was issued in conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Exposition; the design was first struck in 1904, with a second issue in 1905. The coin was sponsored by the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair Company. (Try to say that mouthful three times fast!)
In 1930, it was the Lewis and Clark Memorial Association, Inc. that served as sponsor for the proposed coin; the Association was based in Lewiston, Idaho. The bill for the coin was introduced in the House by Representative Burton French (R-ID); Mr. French served 11 terms in the House between 1903 and 1933.
The bill called for coinage of a commemorative half-dollar struck to current standards. The bill included some interesting language that, if passed, would have set up a very beneficial situation for the LCM Association. Namely, the bill allowed for the Association to request and obtain the coins "...all at one time, or at separate times, and in separate amounts, as it may determine." The bill did not specify a maximum mintage for the coin nor did it include an expiration date for the striking of the coins nor a restriction on which mint or mints could strike the coins. In essence, the bill's provisions mirrored what was then in place for the Oregon Memorial Trail Association's commemorative half-dollar program. And as with the Oregon Association, the LCM Association could have requested coins from the Mint on an ongoing, annual basis!
The bill was subject to a Hearing before the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. During the Hearing, the Committee heard an impassioned statement from Mr. French in which he outlined the history of the US Northwest and the importance of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the future territorial boundaries of the country. It was suggested that without the expedition, "the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming would to-day probably belong to the British Empire."
The Committee was impressed, and over the objection of the Treasury Department, reported the bill out of Committee and to the full House for consideration. Unfortunately for the bill's sponsor, President Hoover had recently vetoed the bill authorizing commemorative half-dollars for the 75th anniversary of the Gadsden Purchase. Based on this, and the general position of the Hoover Administration on such coins, Mr. French withdrew the bill from consideration by the House.
And so, the 125th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed without an official coin (or medal) being struck by the US Mint for the occasion. The sad thing about this is, if the LCM Association would have been willing to consider a medal instead of a coin, a bill for it would have likely gained passage and today collectors of US Mint products would have one more piece to add to the their collections!
I'm not aware of any commemorative medal or token being struck for the 1930 anniversary, so I've included images of the gold dollar coin and the national commemorative medal for the 1904-05 Lewis and Clark Exposition; both pieces were struck by the US Mint.
Enjoy!1904 Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold $1.00 - ObverseImage courtesy of Heritage Auctioneers and Galleries, Inc.1904 Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold $1.00 - ReverseImage courtesy of Heritage Auctioneers and Galleries, Inc.1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition US Mint Medal / Silver - Obverse1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition US Mint Medal / Gilt - Reverse