The Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar was an American fifty-cent piece struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1923

The Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar was an American fifty-cent piece struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1923, bearing portraits of former presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. Sculptor Chester Beach is credited with the design, although the reverse closely resembles an earlier work by Raphael Beck. The commemorative coin was issued to raise funds for an exposition in Los Angeles honoring the 100th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine; the event was organized in part to generate good press for Hollywood during a time of highly publicized scandals, including manslaughter charges against film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. The exposition was a financial failure. The coins did not sell well, and the bulk of the mintage of over 270,000 was released into circulation. Many of the pieces that had been sold at a premium and saved were spent during the Depression; most surviving coins show evidence of wear. (Full article…)