Along with a gold dollar featuring an identical design, the 1922 Grant Memorial Half Dollar was issued for the centennial of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant. He had severed as General of the American Armies during the Civil war and served two terms as the 18th President of the United States.
The Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial Association had been formed in the previous year with ambitious plans to celebrate the occasion. The construction of numerous buildings and a highway to memorialize Grant were planned. Authorization was received from Congress for the minting of commemorative gold dollars and half dollars to help finance the projects.
Laura Gardin Fraser provided the designs for the commemorative coins. The obverse featured a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant adapted from a Matthew Brady photograph. Inscriptions surrounding the portrait included “United States of America”, “Ulysses S. Grant”, “1822-1922”, and “Half Dollar”. The reverse featured a the log cabin in Georgetown, which was where Grant was born. Inscriptions include “In God We Trust”, and “E Pluribus Unum”.
A quantity of 5,000 of the Grant Memorial Half Dollars were struck with the inclusion of a Star on the obverse above “Grant”. The Centenary Memorial Association had requested this quantity of gold dollars struck with the star, but the silver half dollars carrying the star were a surprise. Since the number of 1922 Grant Half Dollars with Star represents only a small portion of the mintage, the coins now represent a rarity amongst early commemorative coins. Originally the “no star” versions were sold for 75 cents, while the “with star” versions were sold for $1.50.
Of the maximum authorized mintage of 250,000 silver half dollars, the mintages net of melting were 4,256 coins “with star” and 67,405 coins with “no star”.
Grant Memorial Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Laura Gardin Fraser
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 67-137
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 250,000
Grant Memorial Half Dollar Mintages
1922 with star: 4,256
1922 no star: 67,405