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Commems Collection: 1926-39 Oregon Trail Memorial - A Missed Opportunity

 
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 Posted 07/04/2022  08:42 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've written before about how the Oregon Trail Memorial Association and Scott Stamp & Coin Company teamed up beginning in 1933 to create distinctive names for the various issues of the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollars to create a pseudo-link to current events and/or historical anniversaries. (See: 1926-39 Oregon Trail Memorial - 1934 Oregon Trail Centennials.)

Due to financial issues within the Association, partially stemming from lower-than-expected sales of its 1926-issue coins, the Memorial Association was unable to capitalize on a pair of legitimate centennial anniversaries in 1930 that, if promoted effectively, could have generated solid coin sales (IMO). On April 10, 1830, the first wagon train bound for the Oregon Country departed from St. Louis. In addition, Ezra Meeker, the primary driver behind drawing nationwide attention to the importance of marking the Oregon Trail before it disappeared and also a key figure in the commemorative half dollar's approval, was born on December 29, 1830. No doubt, a meaningful pair of anniversaries with obvious connections to the Memorial Association and its commemorative coin!

President Herbert Hoover was enlisted by the Memorial Association to issue a Presidential Proclamation for the "Covered Wagon Centennial":

Proclamation 1900. February 21, 1930

OBSERVANCE OF THE COVERED-WAGON CENTENNIAL

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The Congress by unanimous vote has authorized commemoration of the heroism of the fathers and mothers who traversed the Oregon Trail to the Far West. [This is a reference to the easy approval of the Oregon Trail coinage bill.]

On April 10, 1830, the first wagon train left St. Louis for Oregon, pioneering the way for the thousands of men and women who settled the Pacific States.

On December 29, 1830, Ezra Meeker was born, who carried over into our day the personal memory of this historic epoch. The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, which he founded and which includes men and women in all walks of life in all parts of the country, has sponsored the movement to observe the period from April 10 to December 29 of this year as the Covered-Wagon Centennial, to recall the national significance of this centenary of the great westward tide which established American civilization across a continent.

Therefore, I, HERBERT HOOVER, President of the United States, do call upon our people to employ this fitting occasion to commemorate the lives and deeds of the heroic pioneers who won and held the West.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

DONE at the city of Washington this twenty-first day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and fifty-fourth.

(Signed) HERBERT HOOVER
By the President

(Signed) J. P. COTTON
Acting Secretary of State


But, due to the Treasury's refusal to strike more coins for the Memorial Association while it had thousands of 1926- and 1928-dated coins in storage at the Mint, the Association missed out on a genuine opportunity to market a date-relevant commemorative half dollar.

I would support (via purchase) a "1930-D" Fantasy Over-Strike of the Oregon Trail Memorial Half dollar by Daniel Carr. I consider his Fantasy Over-Strike pieces to be medals (not coins), and I wouldn't mind adding a 1930-dated commemorative medal to my collection as a true What If? piece.

1926-39 Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar



For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, including more on the history of the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar, see: Commems Collection.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 07/04/2022  10:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good read. One of the best combo designs in the series.
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 Posted 07/05/2022  11:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That was a missed opportunity for sure. Thank you for sharing.
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 Posted 07/06/2022  05:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I enjoy making the connection between this missed 1930 example and your prior writings on how the Association was denied additional dated coins due to their backlog of prior date coins stored at the mint.

Amazing that later years simply kept being produced.

Thank you for all the knowledge sharing.
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