David Hall: The 1934-D and 1934-S with the "small 1934" varieties of the Boone commemorative half dollars were the subject of tremendous manipulation and controversy at the time of issue. The 200th anniversary of Daniel Boone's birth was in 1934. In that year Boone silver commemoratives were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and distributed nationwide. The people involed with the distribution of the Boone commems wanted to keep the series going and indeed did thru 1938. In 1935, Boones were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints and dated 1935. In steps the distributer, C. Frank Dunn, the secretary of the Boone Bicentennial Commision, along with others, who convinced the powers that be that the 1935 Boones should also have the 1934 date on them. Then a very small number of Denver and San Francisco Mint Boones (2,003 and 2,004 respectively) were struck dated 1935 but also having a "small" 1934 on the coin. This small mintage literally created a contemporary rarity. Dunn offered the two low mintage "small 1934" varieties thru the numismatic press at $3.70 for the pair. However, very few people who ordered them actually got their order filled. Speculation is that Dunn bought the coins himself and just refunded everyone's money. Shortly after the 1935-D & S small 1934 Boones "sold out" they jumped in price on the aftermarket to $25 for the pair, then eventually $50 for the pair. And shortly after that Dunn came up with a good number of the coins, supposedly from people who had originally bought and then had resold to Dunn. The whole sleazy deal was part of the boom and bust commemorative collecting/investing fad of the mid-1930's.
Today, all the manipulation of the past has been forgotten and commemorative collectors just want the coins for their sets. Because of their extremely low mintage, the 1935-D and 1935-S small 1934 Boones have good collector demand. But while scarce, they really aren't all that rare as virtually the entire mintage was saved and survivors mostly grade MS64 to MS66. For some reason, the 1935-D small 1934 is easier to find than the 1935-S small 1934. Both issues usually have semi-frosty satin-like luster and good eye appeal.
J & L 144 Complete Set Collection
Bruce Scher Collection