The Gettysburg commemorative half dollar was struck to commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. It was a worthy commemorative, but abuses were many during the commemorative boom of the 1930s. As Q. David Bowers wrote,
"The 75th anniversary was to be held in 1938, but once again the promoters sniffed an immediate profit and simply could not wait. The Commission originally requested 20,000 from Philadelphia, 15,000 from Denver, and 15,000 for San Francisco to make up the quantity, an idea that was rejected. The coins were dated 1936, a year completely irrelevant to the situation."
The Gettysburgs were only struck in Philadelphia and 26,928 were originally distributed. The issue price was $1.65, later raised to $2.65. Whatever the abuses of the original issue, today Gettysburgs are very popular with commemorative collectors. The design is impressive and the event commemorated was indeed monumental.
The Gettysburg is moderately scarce in Gem condition. It is more scarce than the New Rochelle, Antietam, Elgin, Roanoke, Norfolk, Wisconsin, and York. It is not as rare as the Connecticut and Robinson and the Gettysburg is about equal in rarity to the Lnychburg, Maryland, and Albany.
The typical Gettysburg is a very nice coin. Most survivors have relatively clean, mark-free surfaces. Luster is usually excellent and often quite white and flashy.