Early commemorative coins issued between 1892 and 1954 experienced a wide range of mintages. Some issues had a mintage of just a few thousand pieces, while others exceeded one million coins. The absolute lowest mintage issue was the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition $50 Gold Piece, with 645 octagonal and 483 round coins distributed.

The varying mintage levels were driven by a number of factors, one of which was the maximum or minimum level specified within authorizing legislation. For certain issues, the maximum was established at a level lower than actual demand, resulting in the entire mintage being sold out. In other cases, the maximum was too high, leaving the coins to be sold and sometimes minted for several years after the original release. In certain situations, a particularly low mintage was encouraged by the organizers behind the commemorative issue to foster higher prices on the secondary market.

The number of commemorative coins released during a particular year also had an impact on sales trends and resulting mintages. For example, in 1936 an outpouring of different issues led to an over saturation of the market and poor sales as collectors cut back or only selectively purchased offerings. In later years, a lengthy gap in releases led to pent up demand and higher sales for certain issues.

Other important factors were the theme of the commemorative or the circumstances of its distribution. Certain issues such as the Stone Mountain Memorial Half Dollar were heavily promoted in order to raise money for a particular cause. A wider participation by banks and other channels of sale led to higher sales and greater distribution.

As opposed to other series, low mintages for individual early commemorative coins are less significant than low mintages for a particular design. For example, many of the designs produced for multiple years and mint marks eventually saw mintages of just a few thousand pieces. While these do command premiums, they are viewed as less important than several issues produced for only a single year with a limited mintage. The three half dollars with mintages of about 10,000 each are the Old Spanish Trail Half Dollar, Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Half Dollar, and Hudson Sesquicentennial Half Dollar.

Included below are mintage figures for early commemorative coins. These figures represent the net distribution, generally comprising the total mintage less the number returned for melting.

Columbian Half Dollar  
1892950,000 
18931,550,405 
Total 2,500,405
   
Isabella Quarter  
1893 24,214
   
Lafayette Dollar  
1900 36,026
   
Louisiana Purchase Exposition Jefferson Gold Dollar
1903 17,500
   
Louisiana Purchase Exposition McKinley Gold Dollar 
1903 17,500
   
Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold Dollar  
190410,025 
190510,041 
Total 20,066
   
Panama Pacific Exposition $50 Gold Piece 
1915-S Round483 
1915-S Octagonal645 
Total 1,128
   
Panama Pacific Exposition Quarter Eagle 
1915-S 6,749
   
Panama Pacific Exposition Gold Dollar  
1915-S 15,000
   
Panama Pacific Exposition Half Dollar  
1915-S 27,134
   
McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar  
191615,000 
19175,000 
Total 20,000
   
Illinois Centennial Half Dollar  
1918 100,058
   
Maine Centennial Half Dollar  
1920 50,028
   
Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1920152,112 
192120,053 
Total 172,165
   
Missouri Centennial Half Dollar  
1921 “2*4”9,400 
192111,400 
Total 20,800
   
Alabama Centennial Half Dollar  
1921 “2X2”30,000 
192135,000 
Total 65,000
   
Grant Memorial Gold Dollar  
1922 Star in Field5,016 
19225,016 
Total 10,032
   
Grant Memorial Half Dollar  
1922 Star in Field4,256 
192267,405 
Total 71,661
   
Monroe Doctrine Centennial Half Dollar 
1923-S 274,077
   
Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary Half Dollar 
1924 142,080
   
Lexington-Concord Sesquicentennial Half Dollar 
1925 162,013
   
Stone Mountain Memorial Half Dollar  
1925 1,314,709
   
California Diamond Jubilee Half Dollar  
1925-S 86,594
   
Fort Vancouver Centennial Half Dollar  
1925 14,994
   
Sesquicentennial of American Independence Quarter Eagle
1926 46,019
   
Sesquicentennial of American Independence Half Dollar
1926 141,120
   
Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar  
192647,955 
1926-S83,055 
19286,028 
1933-D5,008 
1934-D7,006 
193610,006 
1936-S5,006 
1937-D12,008 
19386,006 
1938-D6,005 
1938-S6,006 
19393,004 
1939-D3,004 
1939-S3,005 
Total 203,102
   
Vermont Sesquicentennial Half Dollar  
1927 28,142
   
Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Half Dollar  
1928 10,008
   
Maryland Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1934 25,015
   
Texas Independence Centennial Half Dollar 
193461,463 
19359,996 
1935-D10,007 
1935-S10,008 
19368,911 
1936-D9,039 
1936-S9,055 
19376,571 
1937-D6,605 
1937-S6,637 
19383,780 
1938-D3,775 
1938-S3,814 
Total 149,661
   
Daniel Boone Bicentennial Half Dollar  
193410,007 
193510,010 
1935-D5,005 
1935-S5,005 
1935, 1934 on reverse10,008 
1935-D, 1934 on reverse2,003 
1935-S, 1934 on reverse2,004 
193612,012 
1936-D5,005 
1936-S5,006 
19379,810 
1937-D2,506 
1937-S2,506 
19382,100 
1938-D2,100 
1938-S2,100 
Total 87,187
   
Connecticut Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1935 25,018
   
Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar  
193513,012 
1935-D5,505 
1935-S5,506 
19369,660 
1936-D9,660 
1936-S9,662 
19375,505 
1937-D5,505 
1937-S5,506 
19383,156 
1938-D3,156 
1938-S3,156 
19392,104 
1939-D2,104 
1939-S2,105 
Total 85,302
   
Robinson-Arkansas Centennial Half Dollar 
1936 25,265
   
Hudson Sesquicentennial Half Dollar  
1935 10,008
   
San Diego California Pacific Exposition Half Dollar 
1935-S70,132 
1936-D30,092 
Total 100,224
   
Old Spanish Trail Half Dollar  
1935 10,008
   
Rhode Island Tercentenary Half Dollar  
193620,013 
1936-D15,010 
1936-S15,011 
Total 50,034
   
Cleveland Centennial Half Dollar  
1936 50,030
   
Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Half Dollar 
1936 25,015
   
Cincinnati Music Center Half Dollar  
19365,005 
1936-D5,005 
1936-S5,006 
Total 15,016
   
Long Island Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1936 81,826
   
York County Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1936 25,015
   
Bridgeport Centennial Half Dollar  
1936 25,015
   
Lynchburg Sesquicentennial Half Dollar 
1936 20,013
   
Elgin Centennial Half Dollar  
1936 20,015
   
Albany Charter Half Dollar  
1936 17,671
   
Bay Bridge Half Dollar  
1936-S 71,424
   
Columbia Sesquicentennial Half Dollar  
19369,007 
1936-D8,009 
1936-S8,007 
Total 25,023
   
Delaware Tercentenary Half Dollar  
1936 20,993
   
Battle of Gettysburg Half Dollar  
1936 26,928
   
Norfolk Bicentennial Half Dollar  
1936 16,936
   
Roanoke Half Dollar  
1937 29,030
   
Battle of Antietam Half Dollar  
1937 18,028
   
New Rochelle Half Dollar  
1938 15,266
   
Iowa Centennial Half Dollar  
1946 100,057
   
Booker T. Washington Half Dollar  
1946700,546 
1946-D50,000 
1946-S500,279 
19476,000 
1947-D6,000 
1947-S6,000 
19488,005 
1948-D8,005 
1948-S8,005 
19496,004 
1949-D6,004 
1949-S6,004 
19506,004 
1950-D6,004 
1950-S62,091 
1951210,082 
1951-D7,004 
1951-S7,004 
Total 1,609,041
   
George Washington Carver Half Dollar  
195120,018 
1951-D10,004 
1951-S10,004 
19521,106,292 
1952-D8,006 
1952-S8,006 
19538,003 
1953-D8,003 
1953-S88,020 
195412,006 
1954-D12,006 
1954-S42,024 
Total 1,332,392