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Coin of the Month

1938 Daniel Boone Half Dollar

This month, we'll be dipping back into two ways.  Not only is this month's coin a historic coin, but the man it commemorates was born two hundred years earlier.  The man was Daniel Boone.  He was born near Reading, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 1734.  His coin was first made in 1934, and then was made every year until 1938, the year shown in this picture.  After the first year, the date "1934" was struck above the words "Pioneer Year" on the back of the coin.

Daniel Boone was a man of the frontier, one who set up housekeeping in places where there were no houses before he got there.  He was a hunter, a surveyor, part of the Virginia militia, and served in the state legislature of Virginia.  Two of Boone's greatest adventures began in the month of March. 

Starting in March 1775, he helped to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap, making a way for other settlers to join him west of the Appalacian Mountains in what is now Kentucky and Tennessee.  Back in Boone's day, Kentucky and Tennessee where considered the western frontier.

Boone was captured by Shawnee Indians once and lived with them for several months.  While he was with them, one of their chiefs adopted Boone as his son.  That's him, Chief Blackfish, standing with Boone on the back of the coin.  The adoption also took place in the month of 1778.

Later, Boone moved with his wife and 10 children to West Virginia, then to Missouri while it was still owned by Spain.  By the time he died in 1820, he had made quite a name for himself.  He was such a legend that Lord Byron devoted seven stanzas to him in his poem "Don Juan" 3 years later, which spread his fame around the world.


Image shows the front of the Daniel Boone half dollar.
Obverse:  Daniel Boone's profile is surrounded by the inscriptions "United States of America" and "Half Dollar."

Image shows the back of the Daniel Boone half dollar.
Reverse:  Daniel Boone is shown standing with Chief Blackfish, holding a rifle.  The inscription on the left is "Daniel Boone Bicentennial" and, on the right, "Pioneer Year".

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