The United States Mint issued the first official commemorative coins in 1892 for the Worlds Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. This would begin the era of early commemorative coins running from 1892 to 1954, during which dozens of silver and gold coins would be issued to mark important people, places, events, or anniversaries of national importance.
During the period from 1892 to 1916, the majority of commemoratives were issued in conjunction with expositions. After the Columbian Exposition, there were two gold coins issued for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. This was followed by coins for the Lewis and Clark and Panama-Pacific International Expositions. As opposed to later years, coins were struck in gold and silver, as well as across different denominations providing a measure of variety.
Highlights from this era include the only commemorative silver quarter and silver dollar issued during this early era. Additional highlights are the $50 gold pieces issued for the Panama Pacific Exposition, which due to extremely low sales have become majority rarities for present day collectors.
Detailed Information on 1892-1916 Commemorative Coins
- 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition Half Dollar
- 1893 Isabella Quarter
- 1900 Lafayette Silver Dollar
- 1903 Louisiana Purchase Exposition Jefferson Gold Dollar
- 1903 Louisiana Purchase Exposition McKinley Gold Dollar
- 1904-1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold Dollar
- 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition $50 Gold Piece
- 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition Quarter Eagle
- 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition Gold Dollar
- 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition Half Dollar
- 1916-1917 McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar