Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be offering a number of attractive classic commemorative half dollars in the February 21, 2024 Collectors Choice Online Auction of U.S. Coins. Notable among them is a 1935 Spanish Trail issue graded MS-65 by PCGS.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s was a Spanish conquistador who landed in what is today Florida in 1527 and traveled extensively in what would become the southeastern United States and northern Mexico. In 1935, the U.S. Mint struck 10,000 half dollars commemorating the 400th anniversary of the end of Cabeza de Vaca’s journeys in the New World.
An English translation of Cabeza de Vaca’s name – “head of a/the cow” – inspired the coin’s obverse design, a cow skull. On the reverse, the dates 1535 and 1935 appear beneath a map tracing Cabeza de Vaca’s route through the southeastern United States and a yucca plant, with “Old Spanish Trail” above.
The coin is housed in an Old Green Holder Rattler, specifically a Generation 1.2. Among the first used by PCGS after the service launched in 1986, the Gen 1.2 was in use from 1986 to 1989, according to PCGS’ Museum of Coin Holders. PCGS assigned the coin an MS-65 grade, placing it solidly in the middle of the service’s census for this issue. The coin itself has pleasingly original surfaces and even light gray coloration.