Featured The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, Inc.

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by leeg, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Most of us find the Oregon Trail half dollar one of the best in the entire early commemorative coin series. I've probably owned two or three thru the years. This is one I just purchased:


    Here is how it all began:

    1930 Association Logo. Courtesy of the “Idaho State Historical Society, Museum Collections.”

    ing the city of Washington.


    The three above are the "Articles of Incorporation." Courtesy of the “Idaho State Historical Society, Museum Collections.”

    Association "Prospectus." Courtesy of the “Idaho State Historical Society, Museum Collections.”

    A letter dated January 27, 1928 over the signature of Ezra Meeker in his capacity as president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. The letter details Meeker's commitment to preserving the history of the Oregon Trail, and it also served as a venue for promoting the sale of Oregon Trail Memorial Halves. Courtesy Stacks Bowers Galleries.

    Ezra Eliza Meeker in 1921. American Oregon Trail pioneer and Writer (1830-1928).

    Oregon Trail Memorial Association, Inc.

    Bulletin No. 4

    “On May 17, 1926, President Coolidge signed the Bill authorizing the minting of 6,000,000 fifty-cent Oregon Trail Memorial silver coins. These are to be sold at $1 each, the difference between their face value and selling price to be used to carry out the objects of this Incorporation, which are briefly stated as follows:
    1. To search out, identify, suitably and permanently mark the line of the Oregon Trail, in so far as possible at this time, with or without visible marks of the old tracks.
    2. To erect suitable monuments or memorials on or nearby the sites of historical forts, trading posts or other important landmarks along the Trail, such as Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, Fort Hall, Fort Bridger, and any others of distinct historical interest.
    3. to restore the Whitman Mission in the County of Walla Walla, State of Washington, as the same existed at the date of the massacre, November 27, 1847; to establish, or promote the establishment of, a park or other memorial to appropriately commemorate the sacrifice of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, and the other victims of that historic tragedy; also to identify other localities where massacres are known to have taken place, and to suitably mark them.
    4. to promote, encourage or portray in moving pictures, vividly recording the historic scenes on the
    great emigration over the Oregon Trail, with a reproduction of the characteristic scenery along the route, for the purpose of teaching exact and truthful history to the schools of the nation. to collect and preserve written accounts, objects of interest and other things pertaining to the history of the winning of the Pacific Northwest; to deposit same with the historical societies, preferably in the States where found, or to designate a museum or museums to preserve such records, relics or objects of interest as may be donated or otherwise acquired; and erect a suitable memorial to the Pioneers, most appropriately in the City of Washington.

    Among the men who have become personally identified with this movement are Ezra Meeker, Edmund Seymour, Caspar W. Hodgson, Rev. David G. Wylie, D.D., LL.D., Charles H. Davis, president of the National Highways Association, Palmer Rogers, M.S. Garretson, Chauncey M. Depew, Guthrie Y. Barber, Rev. H.L. Bowlby, D.D., Robert W. de Forest and several United States Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

    After a through investigation, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Bill, which, with the signature of the President, stamped the approval of the government on the objects of this Association and the methods to be employed. All interested in the success of the great work thus undertaken are requested to file their orders for coins, either with the Association, 18 Old Slip, New York City, or (preferably) with their local banks, at the earliest convenient date.

    The first move after the signing of the Bill was to select a design, and provide for making the dies, all of which are now under contract at of cost of about $2,800, preliminary to minting the coins. We have been fortunate in securing two of the most eminent sculptors and medalists in the United States, Mr. J.E. Fraser and his wife, Laura Gardin Fraser, a no less distinguished medalist than her husband. Never before has a coin been the joint product of a man’s idea and handiwork on one side, and a woman’s design and craftsmanship on the obverse-something which appeals to the imagination!

    A covered wagon of the period of 1843-58 is shown moving slowly westward, carrying a pioneer mother with child in arms; a stalwart pioneer beside the ox-team represents a phase of American history now rapidly passing from the memories of living men.

    On the obverse is the outline map of the Trail, and superimposed upon it, the figure of an Indian with uplifted hands as if to stay the westward progress of the white race, suggesting the tragedy the long line of emigration was to the red man.”1

    1 Oregon Trail Memorial Association, Inc., Bulletin No. 4, From the Fraser Papers, National Cowboy Museum, Dickenson Research Center.

    Much more to follow.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  3. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    I know objectives 1 and 2 were accomplished, at least to some extent. I don't know if objectives 3 and 4 were accomplished.
  4. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Head over to the NNP, where there should be a bunch of Oregon Trail and Ezra Meeker stuff under the Eclectic Numismatic Treasures image library. I remember photographing a large bronze trail marker plaque as well as post cards, photos, and membership cards.
  5. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

  6. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

  7. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Whitman Mission is now a part of the National Park Service. Just shows some empty land where the Mission stood.

    . . . By the Canadian Pacific Railroad, Mr. G. Daniels, Chief commissioner, we were presented with a film of an antelope hunt. This film has been loaned to Mr. Ezra Meeker, as he may wish to depict part of it in his picture ‘The Oregon Trail.’. . .

    The negatives of the buffalo film presented to us by Mr. Charles Goodnight have, with the consent of the Board of Managers, been loaned to Mr. Ezra Meeker for reproduction in his projected film of ‘The Oregon Trail.’ To this loan we have also received the consent of Mr. Goodnight.

    Concerning this film of ‘The Oregon Trail,’ Mr. Meeker has requested the assistance of the Society in securing government cooperation in the making of films of wild game in the government preserves. I think it is important that the society’s influence and co-operation be extended to all such men as Mr. Meeker who seek to make films of wild life on the game preserves, not only for their present interests but for their historical and educational value. . .10

    10 Report of the American Bison Society, Report of the President, Edmund Seymour, 1922-23, p. 13.
  8. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

  9. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Nice example green18.

    To ANA members from Ezra Meeker on April 20, 1928, regarding the sale of the Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar:

    For twenty years my purpose in life has been to recover and mark the Oregon Trail which I first traversed with my wife and babe in 1852. In the wealth of romance that attaches to pioneering, there is nothing more stirring than the winning of the west for this great nation by the great army of home builders who took possession of the Oregon Country, established their provisional government and compelled the Hudson Bay Company to cease their rule with the result that the Treaty of 1846 with Great Britain finally settled the long contention as to the ownership of the Oregon country.

    The Oregon Trail Memorial Association was founded to carry on the work of monumenting the Trail. After a thorough investigation Congress passed a Bill authorizing the issuance of six million memorial coins exclusively to the Association by the United States Government upon payment of their legal face value of fifty cents. The bill was signed by the President which stamped the approval of the Government upon the objects of this Association as set forth in the enclosed leaflet. The coins are sold for one dollar each in order to provide a fund to carry out the work for which this Association was organized.

    The influence of this memorial will continue as long as this nation endures and as time passes the memory of the Pioneers becomes more and more precious and in turn the coins carry on the sentiment and become of greater value to your coin collection. The coins are minted at Philadelphia and San Francisco and it may transpire that you will want one of each mint for your collection. These coins may be secured in whatever quantity you wish by sending your remittance (including postage) to the office of the Association 95 Madison Avenue, New York City.

    In addition to purchasing the coins we want to enlist your interest in the great work and ask that you read carefully the leaflet which we send you in the hope that you feel moved to do what you can to make this great memorial possible. Are you or any members of your family descendants of the pioneers who traversed the Oregon Trail from 1832 to 1860 or do you know of any living pioneers in your locality. This is a wholly altruistic work; I have given many years of my life to it; have just entered my 98th year of life; still on my pegs; but I’m getting in a hurry because I want to see this job finished while I’m still with you.”2

    2 The Authoritative Reference on Commemorative Coins 1892-1954, by Kevin Flynn, Published by Kyle Vick, 2008, p. 307.

    “All Oregon Trail Half Dollars Dated 1926.

    In our August issue, in referring to the coinage of a number of Oregon Trail half dollars in June of this year, we remarked that they were probably dated 1928, relying upon the practice of the mint in dating coins the year in which they are struck for the accuracy of the statement. This, however, proves to be an error, as the following letter from Ezra Meeker, president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, to F.D. Langenheim, Philadelphia, will show:

    We have your letter of the 2d inst. and in reply beg to state that the Oregon Trail Memorial coins are dated 1926. They are minted at Philadelphia and San Francisco. There is no issuance of the coins dated 1928.”3

    3 The Numismatist, Editorial Comment—Numismatic News, All Oregon Trail Half Dollars Dated 1926, October, 1928, p. 609.

    “The Oregon Trail Half Dollars of 1928.

    In the report of the mint coinage for June, 1928, it was stated that 50,036 additional Oregon Trail half dollars had been coined that month. This fact was published in our August issue, and in the same issue the editor commented on this additional issue as follows:

    It is presumed these pieces will be dated 1928, which will give collectors two dates of this coin. The first issue was in September, 1926, when 48,030 pieces were reported coined. The authorized issue is “not more than 6,000,000. (later in 1926 100,055 additional pieces were struck.)

    Collectors and others who ordered these coins from the Oregon Trail Memorial Association after the 1928 issue was reported coined received coins dated 1926. This gave rise to the belief that those struck in 1928 had been dated 1926, as none have ever come to light bearing the 1928 date. Those struck in 1928, however, were dated 1928, as is shown by the following correspondence:

    Mr. Hardwick in his article, ‘The Oregon Trail Memorial Association,’ in the February number of The Numismatist, makes some statements that not only impugn the ethics of the mint, but also contradict the various mint reports for 1926 and 1928. I have been expecting to see some note about the matter in the March or April numbers of The Numismatist, but so far have not found any.

    In 1926 the Philadelphia Mint struck 48,030 Oregon Trail halves and the San Francisco Mint 100,055. No more Oregon Trail half dollars were struck until 1928, when the Philadelphia Mint struck 50,028. None of these coins dated 1928 has ever shown up. A couple of the old-time dealers and collectors most emphatically stated that the coins were struck in 1928 and included in the report of that year, but dated 1926. I accepted there statements at face value and did not bother about it very much, until I read Mr. Hardwick’s article. Then I decided that something should be done about the matter, so I wrote the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint. I am enclosing his reply so that you may see what the Mint says officially.

    Edmund W. May

    The reply of the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint to Mr. May’s inquiry is as follows:

    Replying to your letter of the 2d inst. You are advised that there were 50,000 pieces of the Oregon Trail half dollar struck in 1928 from dies dated 1928. You have not seen any of these coins because they are held at the mint for the commission.


    F. H. Chaffin,

    Acting Superintendent

    In the act authorizing the issue of Oregon Trail half dollars in 1926 it was stated that the maximum number to be issued was 6,000,000. In 1928, less than 150,000 had been taken by the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, but in the year 50,000 additional coins were apparently ordered, none of which have been called for by the Association. In the light of these facts it should cause no wonder that Congress and the Treasury Department hesitate to grant authority for the coinage of an excessive number of an issue of commemorative coins.”4

    4 The Numismatist, The Oregon Trail Half Dollars of 1928, May, 1930, p. 294-295.

    Unveiling of Monument at Kearney, Nebraska, in commemoration of the Oregon Trail, Left to right: Mrs. Ashton C. Shallenberger, Governor Shallenberger, Mrs. Oreal S. Ward, State Regent Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American Revolution; Mrs. Andrew K. Gault, Vice-President General, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution; Mrs. Charles O. Norton, Regent Ft. Kearney Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; John W. Patterson, Mayor of Kearney; John Lee Webster, President Nebraska State Historical Society; Rev. R. P. Hammons, E. B. Finch, assisting with the flag rope. Courtesy of Project Gutenberg EBook Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences, p. 27.
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  10. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    From: The Edmund Seymour Papers, 1896-1948, University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Laramie, WY.

    Biography: Edmund Seymour (1858-1949) was president of the New York banking firm of Edmund Seymour and Company, a rancher, and a member of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association.

    Scope and Content: Collection contains materials relating to the Oregon Trail Memorial Association and Seymour’s banking firm, including correspondence (1896-1948); newspaper clippings (1905-1937); miscellaneous maps of the western United States; correspondence (1926-1941) and financial reports (1926-1927) of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association; glass-plate negatives of Wyoming (1924); and color prints of western scenes.

    “4000 Harrison St.

    Washington D. C.


    Jan 5, 1927

    My Dear Mr. Seymour,

    Frankly, your last note concerning the attitude of Mr. Meeker is very disconcerting. I am not thinking in personal terms at all. I am thinking of you and the lack of appreciation that is being shown by the gentleman in question.

    The attitude that is being shown by Meeker merely indicates to me that our judgment in opposing his trip to the West was founded on good cause. What, in my opinion has happened is simply this. The element out there have whispered foolish thoughts in to that venerable, but none to solid head of his that the wolves of Wall Street were after him. How foolish! He can not handle the funds, and deep down, I do not believe that he ever will. Some one is prompting his move to get you off the Board for the very simple reason that you ARE an honest man and can not be manipulated as it will be necessary for those to hand Ezra the milk as they take the cream. The sentiment in the West is for the Oregon Trail, but handled in a way they will be a credit to all concerned. His idea of committing the Association to a big moving picture at this time is not only ridiculous it is but little short of criminal. It merely shows the craftsmanship of those who are pandering to the vanity of the old fellow.

    There isn’t a $400,000 story left of the West. And you can’t make a four hundred thousand dollar hero of Meeker try as you might. The picture that could and might be taken on this subject should cost very little. Film in the raw and the services of a camera man can be secure [sic] for one hundred and twenty five dollars per thousand feet. This would include the negative and one print. A thousand feet to the reel and six reels would be all that any audience would stand on this subject. There are concerns who have negative of western pictures that have never been used, this could be picked up at a song and as for camera men, the woods are filled with the unemployed.

    My familiarity with the film and FLIM [sic] game comes from the incident that I am one time prompted and publicized the two greatest pictures of their day - - Homers Odyssey and Dantes Inferno. Among my PERSONAL friends in the FILM world are D.W. Griffiths, P.A. Powers Frank Tichenor and the Kessels. I have been out of touch with them for years but they still stand at attention to render me a service. I will undertake to come to New York, sit with a stenographer for a half a day and turn out a scenario with ANY of the writers that may be even in competition. For my services in this phase there would be NO CHARGE. Further, I would undertake the securing of the people, the directors and the camera men and put over a film that would mean something for the cause. This would be but merely a part of the days routine in the promotion of the sale of coins. So much for the $400,000 tidbit.

    The financial plan that you have fethered [sic] is the plan that will mean success to the venture. There is NO other way of handling this matter. That is there is no other way if they want it to be handled on the square. I may be speaking out of turn but I do seem to be impressed with the fact that some one is not advising Mr. Meeker along the right lines. You are a fighter and I know that you are not going to give up without a real fight as a matter of fact, I can not reconcile myself to the thought that there is anything in- the make up of Edmund Seymour that looks like a give up quality. You will battle this out to the end and in the end you will win and by winning earn the gratitude of a nation.

    I am with you to the finish! Nothing worth while comes easy and this is a worthwhile achievement to have helped make history. I do not understand the situation as concerns Mr. Elkin. All that I have said and written about him has been done so in good faith. The best of faith. I have told you all I know. I went to Mr. Elkin with the proposition because I thought that he could help and would be persona grata to all concerned. The plans that I laid out, as you know were all mine and in this connection I expected no help from Mr. Elkin. I figured on using some of his connections, that is all and doing the major portion of the work myself. I can put this thing over, and stand ready to do it alone if it is so desired, and along the lines indicated.

    Those that are prompting these ungracious thoughts in the mind of Mr. Meeker should realize several things, among which is the fact that had it NOT BEEN FOR YOU, there would have been no sanction by Congress of the Oregon Trail Coin. I can tell you in plain language the reaction on the Hill to the Old gentleman, they merely think that he was a damn pest. The merits, the real guts of the plea for the coin was advanced by you and I have it in plain language to this effect. When I commenced to do a little skirmishing along the line on the Hill top to secure the admission into the Record of certain anticipatory speeches boosting the Trail coin sale, I was at first met with the thought that it could be done for the GENERAL CAUSE BUT NOT as a memorial to any ONE individual. The inference here is plain. Then too, your committee must bear in mind that the halo that they are attaching is being placed on a brow ninety six years old. Try, if you please to get a hundred or so thousand dollars insurance on the man who would prmept [sic] this thing. My heart is warm for the memory of the pioeneers [sic], Meeker or any of the others, but here you are facing a cold blooded business proposition. You are asking the public to buy a coin and INVEST its face value in sentiment for the purpose of using this money in expressing that sentiment in certain immobile motifs. This money has to be accounted for and there is no one that will call for a stricter stewardship than the contributing public itself. So if Meeker is to handle this affair from stem to sturgeon, the public must be protected in the common way of doing this is to take out insurance on his life for an equable amount so that his work may be carried on. Meeker is no better risk, physically than he is mentally and it would be a hazardrous [sic] undertaking for ANY body of men to follow his sole guidance on a matter of this kind. Again I tell you, that IF it is the aim to sell MEEKER, this thing will be a fizzle. The SENTIMENT can be sold and in that sentiment, Mr. Meeker has a certain value or at least a certain value can be created and that’s all.

    The self glorification of Mr. Meeker, will only serve the purpose of those who have no other purpose then a selfish one. In the days of Cody, we built the TRADITION and the atmosphere around him. I was in sole charge of the promotion and publicity of his farewell tours. It was, as a matter of fact, my own inspiration that these tours should be organized and give the old man a competence that he could retire on. NEVER did I encounter such a problem. I went to the editors of the papers all over the country and requested editorials on the Farewell. I got them. The New York Times and World started it off for me after long argument and pleading and reasoning, BUT THE EDITORIALS ALL BENT IN THE DIRECTION THAT WE WERE SAYING GOODBYE TO THE WEST, THE FRONTIER AND TO THE DAYS OF THE INDIANS. Cody was merely an incident around which we built the glamour. The remarkable fact about this is that for THIRTY years Cody had been before the public and was the BEST advertised man of his day, BUT WHEN WE CAME TO PUT OVER THE BIG PUSH, It was NOT CODY but the sentiment that he represented that got for me the editorials that I wanted and incidentally the biggest two finnancial [sic] successes over the two years of farewll [sic] tour that ever took place in the big top business. Meeker can not nor never could be classed in the publicity ranks of Cody and to attempt to feature him in a four hundred thousand film or in any other way except as an incident would be to say the least calamitous. A little incident here recalls itself to my mind. When we reached Denver that year of the farewell, the Colonel was taken slightly ill. In some way the news got out. That morning as I was leaving the office of Harry Tammen, who owned the Denver Post, I saw a crowd collecting along the side walk. I paused and saw in the distance that the Colonel was driving down street in his Broughma [sic] and four white Arabian horses. A little stunt that we used in place of a street parade. Just then I heard the following conversation between two newsboys.

    ‘Hey, Jimmie, come take a look,’ one kid cried to another ‘Look, here comes Buffalo Bill.’

    ‘Hell, that ain’t Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill died this morning. That’s some guy named Cody; they got to play his part.’

    Later in the day, I related the incident to the Colonel. I thought it a bully good joke. The old genteleman [sic], smiled at first then slowly rose from his chair, walked to the front of his dressing room tent, stood there looking out for a few minutes, came back and put his arm around my shoulder. There were tears in his eyes.

    ‘Frank” and with a slight clearing of the throat, ‘that youngster was right. After all I am only Cody, and playing a part. The real thing is the West, and its traditions. I am an actor actors die, but the sentiment of the thing will live forever. I thank God for the part He allows me to play.’

    If you wish, and think that I could do any good, I will gladly come on to New York for the meeting. By all have Mr. Rowley there, he is very strong for you. The others are or SHOULD be.

    The thing can be put over and it should be put over but it can only be put over in the manner that has been outlined and with you at the head. That is as it should be and no one would want to play with it in any other way.

    I stand at attention!

    Just to say, that this is the first day in five that I have been out of bed. Old man Flu hit me a swat on the nose but am feeling very much like my old self again and later in the day I will write to the doctor and you on the problem that we face in Congress at the present time. Doctor, I hope will patiently review the thoughts I have in mind and then when you call a meeting, the committee will take some concrete action for my guidance.

    Ever sincerely,

    Frank Winch

    Back again to the Oregon Trail matter. Don’t think me persisting but I must advance this thought again. IT WAS NOT THROUGH MEEKER THAT CONGRESS GRANTED THE COINING OF THE COINS. If he wants tangible evidence of this fact it can be supplied. I know that Congress was NOT in favor of this movement and I know further that Congress would NEVER have passed the Bill if it thought for a minute that Uncle Ezra as estimable as he is was to be put in charge of a six million dollar venture.

    I know your modesty and hesitancy in coming to the front when the bandmaster asks for your solo but you have much at stake in this matter, and your friends, financial and others are looking to you to handle this affair as it should be handled. IF, I have advanced any worthwhile thoughts please at MY REQUEST pass them along to at least Mr. Barber and Mr. Rowley. They will see the kernel of the thing and very likely [sic] assume a supporting attitude on the 10th that will be as well worth while as it is necessary.

    My heart and hand to you, Noble warrior.


    1. To: My Dear Mr. Seymour. From: Frank Winch January 5, 1927, Box Number 4, Edmund Seymour Papers, Collection Number 6138, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
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  11. justafarmer

    justafarmer Senior Member

    It appears the design of the half changed vary little if any over time. Produced from a master hub or maybe even reduced from a galvano that contained the 1st 2 digits of the date. Half 1926 Oregan Half Map.JPG Half 1939 Oregan OBV Overlay.JPG Half 1939 Oregan REV Overlay.JPG
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  12. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    “Puyallup, Wash., Dec 27.–Ezra Meeker, 92, who blazed the original Oregon Trail to the Pacific Northwest with an ox-team in his youth, and has since crossed the continent by rail, automobile, airplane, and even in an ancient prairie schooner just to show that he could do it again, has just been honored by his fellowtownsmen in Puyallup. A bronze statue of him, the work of Alonzo Victor Lewis, noted sculptor, has been unveiled in the public square.

    Meeker was almost too busy to attend the unveiling. Although nearing the century mark, he is dividing an active life among many varied interests. Known as the father of the hop industry in the fertile Puyallup valley, he is trying to put the decadent industry back upon its feet and find a market for the hops in the Orient and elsewhere abroad.

    He is at work, too, on a new history of early days in the West.

    He is organizing a moving picture production company to film the romantic story of his first trek westward through the wilderness 74 years ago. He means to correct what he declares are historical inaccuracies in “The Covered Wagon,” and other films on this theme.

    He is also helping direct government plans for the preservation of the original route of the Old Oregon Trail, with points of historical interest along the way marked with permanent monuments and inscriptions. Six million half-dollar silver coins were recently struck off by the United States mints in commemoration of the Old Oregon Trail. These souvenir coins were sold by the banks for $1 each, the proceeds being used for preservation and marking of the trail.

    ‘That’s the secret of living to a ripe old age–keep busy,’ says Ezra. ‘I’m a young man yet. I’m going to live way past a hundred.”40

    40 Newark American Tribune, Town Honors Pioneer Trailblazer. Newark, Ohio, Monday, December 27, 1926.

    Courtesy Newark (OH) American Tribune.
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  13. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Last post here today.

    Universal Pictures Lobby Card for the American western film serial “The Oregon Trail,” 1923.


    Art Acord as Jean Brulet

    Louise Lorraine as Rosita Velázquez

    Duke R. Lee as Dr. Marcus Whitman

    Jim Corey as Rene Coulier

    Burton Law as Rev. Henry Spaulding (as Burton C. Law)

    Sidney De Gray as Hernandez Velázquez

    Ruth Royce as Narcissa Prentiss

    Grace McLean as Mrs. Spaulding

    Dick Carter as Dr. William Gray

    Walter Bytell

    William Ryno (as William H. Ryno)

    Frederick Peters

    Rex the Dog as Jerry (the dog) (as Rex the Wonder Dog)

    Fleetwood the Horse as Fleetwood (Jean's horse)

    Hank Bell as Trapper (uncredited)

    Survival status: The film is presumed lost.
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  14. Worn Out

    Worn Out Well-Known Member

    Great info and one of my favorite commem designs! Thanks Lee!

    20190607_155222.jpg 20190607_155144.jpg 20190607_155503.jpg 20190607_155529.jpg
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  15. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

  16. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Film billboard showing "The Oregon Trail" is playing. Writer Anthony Coldeway, Robert Dillon, Jefferson Moffitt. Release date March 12, 1923 (1923-03-12). From Alchetron on the Web.
  17. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. :happy:

    “At the Buffalo convention there was considerable discussion on the issue of the 50,000 Oregon Trail half dollars dated 1928 which are still in the Philadelphia Mint waiting to be claimed by the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. The matter was disposed of by referring it to the Board of governors for such action as seemed best to them.

    The facts in the case are, briefly, these: In 1926 there were struck at the Philadelphia Mint 48,030 Oregon Trail half dollars and 100,055 at the San Francisco Mint, all of which are dated 1926. In 1928 the Philadelphia Mint struck 50,028 additional pieces of this issue. These are dated 1928 and they are still at the mint, ready to be turned over to the Oregon Trail Memorial Association on payment of face value for them. No individual or group of individuals or other organization can obtain any of them. It is this latest issue that collectors want made available.

    It appears that all of the 148,085 half dollars struck in and dated 1926 have not yet been sold, and it is not general knowledge whether the Oregon Trail Memorial Association is still actively functioning since the death of Ezra Meeker, its president, several months ago. As matter stand, it seems probable that the coins dated 1928 will not be taken from the mint until those dated 1926 are sold.

    It is obvious that the initial move should be to get in touch with the officials of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association and learn whether it will be possible for them in the near future to withdraw 1,000, 2,000, or 5,000 of the 1928 issue if purchasers can be found at the usual price of $1 each for the entire number withdrawn. The law under which they were coined permits the withdrawal of a portion of the issue at any time. This would mean a considerable profit to the Memorial Association with a minimum of effort. If a favorable reply is received, let the dealers and others who can use a quantity of them get together and learn whether they can absorb the entire number requested to be withdrawn. If so, we should have Oregon Trail half dollars dated 1928 in a short time to supply all demands. If the Memorial Association declines to act in the matter, the present situation will not be changed. It is a very simple proposition.”5

    5 The Numismatist, Editorial Comment—Numismatic News, Those Oregon Trail Half Dollars Dated 1928, November, 1930, p. 752-753.

    “It is a well known fact that Oregon Trail half dollars bearing the date of 1928 were struck for the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, Inc., but have not been released for sale to the public because the association wishes to dispose of its 1926 Oregon Trail half dollars before it sells its 1928 coins. I have a letter from Mae Baker Berryman, office secretary, dated January 28, 1931, in which it is stated that the association had 33,000 of the 1926 coins to dispose of. This may take a long time and make a lengthy wait before the 1928 coins are available. I believe it would be a good idea to appeal to all collectors of commemorative half dollars through The Numismatist to write to the association requesting the release of the 1928 half dollars to collectors and others interested in them.

    Paul H. Ginther

    New Holland, Ill., March 7, 1932”6

    6 The Numismatist, April 1932, The Oregon Trail Half Dollars, p. 245.

    Fort Hall - An Indian Trading Post in Idaho Historical Markers. This historical marker, erected by the Boy Scouts and the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, is located on US Highway 91 on the south edge of Fort Hall, 1932. Courtesy of Waymark.

    Close up of plaque on the Fort Hall Marker.

    View of emblem at top of monument. Undated (Circa 1930s) Oregon Trail Memorial Association Plaque. Cast Brass, Bronze Finish. 16.5 inches. Approximately 14 pounds. By James Earle Fraser and Laura Gardin Fraser. Essentially As Made.

    A typed paper label affixed on the back reads PROPERTY OF O.T.M. A., accompanied only by two loops linked by a wire for hanging.

    Designed by the husband and wife team of James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser. Very similar in design to the reverse of the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar, except the date and motto have been omitted, and J.E. AND L.G. FRASER SCULPTORS has been added at the bottom of the design in small letters. This piece shows no evidence of the inevitable wear and corrosion that would occur as a result of mounting and display outdoors, as was the intended destiny of most of these plaques, which were used as historic markers at various points along the Oregon Trail.

    To the Acting Director of the Mint Mary O’Reilly from the President of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association Howard Diggs on February 6, 1933, regarding the Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar.

    In response to your letter of February 3 inquiring as to the probability of the use of the Oregon Trail 1928 coins by our Association, may I say that it is highly probable that we shall require all of them during this year and next. Most of the 1926 issue has now been put to the service of saving the story of our American pioneers of the West, more than one hundred monuments having been erected during the past two years, despite the depression, along the old trails. That good work is far from completed. This summer will see renewed activities. It would be a serious disappointment to the various states immediately concerned, and to many patriotic societies over the country that are interesting themselves in this work should the coins now being held be melted.

    In addition to the monumenting of the Oregon Trail and its allied branches – the Pony Express, the Overland State, the Utah, and the California Trails, which work is being carried through, there are two centennial celebrations – that of the founding of Fort Hall and of the Whitman Mission – in prospect. Those are now planning for these important historical events are counting on the reinforcement of the coin to help them in their memorialization plans. The Idaho people who are promoting the Fort Hall centennial for 1934 were the ones, indeed, who first started the movement to have the coin minted. We want by all means to help them realize their dreams of restoring this old post at the division point on the Oregon-California Trails.

    So far as the immediate sale of the 1928 coins is concerned may I say that our Association has held back a great many orders for this issue because our board decided to clear away the 1926 issue first. I explained our plan at one time to your Mr. Grant, who assured me of your cooperation. Since then we have, as I just out-lined, been very successful in putting the first issue to good use. So few of that minting remain, that we are now in position to consider the orders for the other coins.

    Just this last Saturday some of our officials were laying plans for the release of some of the coins you hold. We are just not financially in a position to take over all the 1928 issue, but I feel sure that we may be able within a comparatively short time to order some of it. This would be through our fiscal agent, Chase National Bank. Our question is? May we procure the coins in lots of say five hundred or more? If we may have such an arrangement, it will help us greatly in our coming campaign for the funding of our memorialization projects. You will understand that we have various groups, historical associations, societies, Boy Scout troops, and others who take on the work of erecting monuments or carrying through other activities allied to the saving of history. There are others also who desire to purchase some of the coins.

    It is our earnest desire to clear off this 1928 issue as soon as we can do so. We feel sure that you are interested with us in having it serve the high patriotic purpose for which it was created. Some months ago I think we sent to you personally a copy of our Covered Wagon Centennial and Oxteam Days, which gives a vivid account of the story of the work accomplished already. If it did not reach you we shall be happy to send another copy of the book that you may have more detailed information as to the great work the Oregon Trail coin has helped achieve.

    To the Acting Director of the Mint Mary O’Reilly from the President of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association Howard Diggs on July 18, 1933, regarding the Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar.

    Are you in a position to give me definite information as to just when the 1933 coins will be ready? The supply of 1928 coins which we obtained some time ago, is practically exhausted, and we should be helped if we may make the exchange that has been arranged in the not far distant future. I am laying plans to have Mr. Jackson, if possible, at the Century of progress celebration. This is in line with your helpful suggestion during our visit in Washington. It is our hope that we may put this old veteran at the Fair, and have him supplied with coins, maps, and other materials which will not only aid in spreading the story of our cause, but will help in the sale of these beautiful coins.

    One other point which I am presenting to your for your frank and helpful advices. I think through our possible sales of the coins I feel that it would feel better if we could exchange twelve thousand 1926 coins minted for seven thousand 1933 coins and five thousand 1928 coins. You understand that there were a great many of the 1926 coins minted, and therefore there is no great call for this particular issue at this time. We should still have a few hundred of them left to meet special demands for them.

    Now, if Mr. Jackson, as we hope, is to be at the Century of Progress Exposition, he ought to be able to help us clear away a large part of this seven thousand issue of 1933 coins. I am sure that we can handle them all with that and with other calls that we have for them.

    However, if you feel it is not wise to make any change in the present arrangement please be frank to say so. We are very happy over the plan that has been thus far effected, and we do not wish to make any changes if they will at all inconvenience you or the Treasury. I merely put this matter up to you for your helpful suggestion.”7

    7 The Authoritative Reference on Commemorative Coins 1892-1954, by Kevin Flynn, Published by Kyle Vick, 2008, p. 308-309.

    Hope you've enjoyed this chapter so far.
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  18. Jersey magic man

    Jersey magic man Well-Known Member

    Is there a way to copy the above to a Word file for future reference. Or similar way to save it off this site?
  19. Garlicus

    Garlicus Debt is dumb, cash is king.

    You could start a new Word document (or similar?), then copy from here and paste there, then save that file (and add more as the OP updates). The original poster may be able to help otherwise.

    You can also click on ‘watch thread’ at the top right of the page, then whenever you want to review it, come back to CT and click on ‘watched threads’ at the top.
  20. Jersey magic man

    Jersey magic man Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the reply.
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  21. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins


    Bayside, Long Island, New York

    April 1933


    In response to urgent requests from over the country, our Association is now releasing a limited number of the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollars of the 1928 issue, and offering them for sale with the few remaining of the 1926 issue on the following terms:

    1. Set of three coins (one 1928, one 1926 San Francisco Mint, one 1926 Philadelphia Mint). . .$3.75.

    2. Set of two coins (one 1928, one of either the San Francisco or the Philadelphia Mint) to any person

    who has purchased directly from our Association since January 1, 1932, one of the 1926 coins. . .


    3. One 1928 coin– to any person who has purchased directly from our Association since January 1,

    1932, two or more of the 1926 coins $1.75.

    4. Ten 1928 with ten 1926 coins of either San Francisco or Philadelphia Mint or both. . .$22.00. This

    discount of 20% will apply on orders of equal numbers of 1928 and 1926 coins up to 90 of each.

    5. For prices on 200 or more coins equally divided between the 1928 and the 1926 issues, write our


    Note: The above prices hold only for April 1933. All coins are Uncirculated. Orders accompanied by money order or draft on New York Bank will be promptly filled. Coins will be sent by registered mail postpaid, unless otherwise ordered.”8

    8 An Inside View of the Coin Hobby in the 1930s: The Walter P. Nichols File, Edited by Q. David Bowers, Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., Copyright 1984 by Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc, p. 36.

    Dr. Minnie Frances Hayden Howard. One of the founding women of Pocatello who loved writing. Courtesy of Pocatello Writers, a support group for professional and aspiring writers in the Pocatello, Idaho, area.

    “In early 1926 Rep. Addison Smith of Idaho and Sen. Wesley Jones of Washington state sponsored the Memorial Coin Bill to authorize the coinage of 50 cent pieces to commemorate the heroism of the fathers and mothers who traversed the Oregon Trail to the far west.

    In 1986 Bert Webber wrote ‘The Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar, 1926-1939.’ Webber dedicated his book to the memory of Ezra Meeker. While Meeker’s role has been thoroughly documented, there is another story. The concept of the Oregon Trail half dollar originated in Pocatello and Dr. Minnie F. Howard was the central catalyst.

    The Dr. Minnie Howard Collection at Idaho State University contains many documents relating to the Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar. There is also a book, ‘Covered-Wagon Centennial and Ox-Team Days,’ (I have this in my Numismatic Library (LG). which contains information on the Oregon Trail half dollar and has many notes in the margins written by Dr. Minnie Howard or as she liked to be called, Dr. Minnie. The book and documents reveal that there was a direct connection between the Oregon Trail half dollar, the Fort Hall Monument Association of Pocatello and Ezra Meeker’s Oregon Trail Memorial Association.

    Dr. Minnie’s association with Ezra Meeker and Fort Hall dated back many years. Meeker first came to Pocatello as part of his trek from Oregon back across the Oregon Trail with his ox team and dog. Both in 1906 and in a subsequent visit in 1912 Meeker made numerous inquiries in an attempt to find the site of Fort Hall, which he stated that he considered to be the most important historic point on the great trail. On his third trip over the Oregon Trail in 1916 in an automobile, under the auspices and guidance of Dr. William Howard and Dr. Minnie Howard (with Joe Rainey serving as a guide, and accompanied by D. Keeney and E. Young), they found the exact spot where the fort had stood. Following the location of the old fort a marker was erected to mark the site.

    Ezra Meeker and Dr. Minnie shared a greater goal. According to Dr. Minnie: ‘Mr. Meeker always told us that the most pretensions monument on the Oregon Trail should have been at Fort Hall. The Nathaniel Wyeth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution took the initiative to preserve the exact site of the old fort, which was in danger of being covered by the waters of the American Falls Reservoir, and to design a creditable monument to commemorate Fort Hall as a place of destiny.’

    To build a monument it was necessary to obtain funds. In October 1925 Ezra Meeker wrote a letter to Dr. Minnie asking if her Pocatello people had a plan of financing the Fort Hall Monument. Dr. Minnie replied to Meeker: ‘I had no financial plan, but I would consult with others of the group interested. Among these was Mr. F. C. McGowan, whom I often consulted as he was the husband of our regent of D.A.R. which until now was sponsoring the monument plan. He replied without hesitation: ’Yes, Coinage. Like this!’ and he drew form his pocket a Stone Mountain memorial coin. I said fine! Will you write that in a letter to the New York office and I will enclose it in this letter I am taking to mail on this train.’

    Ezra Meeker began working with Dr. Minnie and others to obtain congressional and national support for the Oregon Trail half dollar and the incorporation of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. Legislation was introduced in the U.S. House early in 1926 and was passed on April 5, 1926. Passage in the Senate was placed in jeopardy when Secretary of the Treasury A. W. Mellon recommended substituting a medal for the coin.

    Ezra Meeker immediately telegraphed Dr. Howard and the members of the Pocatello organization (G. Nicholas Ifft, Augustus C.Hinkley, Ethelyn Glasser, Bertha M. Winters, and Jesse L. Retherford) informing them of what had happened and requesting their help. The Pocatello group notified Ezra Meeker by telegram that it was essential that a coin, not a medal, be created. Ezra Meeker presented this information in a Senate hearing and the coin bill subsequently passed the Senate without opposition.

    Once the Oregon Trail coin bill was signed by the president on May 17, 1926, the next step was to design and distribute the coins. Letters from Ezra Meeker and other members of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association Board of Directors detail how Dr. Minnie and her advisors in Pocatello were consulted in each phase. The correspondence reveals that the selection of the sculptors and the final design of the reverse of the coin both come directly from Dr. Minnie. She also drafted proposals to the D.A.R. and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs that brought their support in the sale of the Oregon Trail coinage.

    When the Oregon Trail memorial coinage was sent into circulation, Ezra Meeker was presented with the first coin. Dr. Minnie Howard of Pocatello received the second coin. Dr. Minnie accepted the coin on behalf of her state and deposited it in the state museum at Boise.

    A score of years had passed after Ezra Meeker’s first venture eastward over the old trail when again we fin him on busy Broadway, in the years 1926-1928, still striving to arouse America to an appreciation of the pioneers who had won our great west. His hair has grown white and thin, but his body is unbroken and his spirit has lost none of its fire. Though past ninety, he still is vigorous, with almost boyish enthusiasm for the cause on which for twenty years he has expended his vast energy.

    Ezra Meeker’s activity has expanded; other means than the ox team and the prairie schooner are now commanded by him. With schools, churches, clubs, the motion picture, the radios, and the airplane he is now pioneering. And America begins to pay closer attention. One of the important events that brought the old pioneer into public notice at this time and that interested men of means and vision in his cause was his introduction to the Camp Fire Club by his good friend, Casper W. Hodgson. It was on this occasion that he was first brought into contact with George D. Pratt. From this time on the way was opened for him to carry on his work in New York.

    Courtesy of Wagons West, 1843-1943 Old Oregon Trail Centennial, p.8.

    At this milestone in his struggle Ezra Meeker brought about the organization of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. It was the outcome of years of dreaming and experimenting on the part of Mr. Meeker and a group of earnest friends who had gathered round him. The old pioneer had long felt the need of such reinforcement as he would get from a supporting organization. His most ambitious program, embracing the marking of all the old trails to the West, the creating of motion pictures, the organizing and directing of lecture bureaus, the building of museum and libraries – all with the purpose to teach the story of America’s making – required a national following as well as an inspiring leadership. The Oregon Trail Memorial Association was created to fill that need and furnish that following.

    The impracticality of undertaking an extensive program at the time, however, was soon brought home to the aged pioneer. He did not cease to dream; but he was quick to turn from his dreams to the practical tasks of the hour.

    A definite plan of immediate action must be evolved – one with a clear central purpose. Ezra Meeker recalled the first objective that had set him forth on the pathway of the pioneers – the preservation of the trail itself and the marking of its historic spots. Here was a central aim toward which the efforts of his lat (sic) years should be turned. He acted accordingly.

    The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, with its clearly focused purpose, challenged new interest and brought new friends to the cause. The drive for membership resulted in adding such outstanding Americans as John Hays Hammond, Julius F. Stone, Thomas A. Edison, Mrs. Edward H. Harriman, Chauncey M. Depew, ex-Governor Chase Osborn.

    Ezra Meeker was elected first president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. Charles W. Davis, Edmund Seymour, Chauncey M. Depew, became the vice presidents, David G. Wylie was chosen as secretary, with Robert Bruce as assistant; M.S. Garretson was elected treasurer. The executive committee included, besides Mr. Meeker and Mr. Seymour, Allen Eaton, Palmer Rogers, and Guthrie Y. Barber.

    Mr. Davis generously provided office space in the rooms of the National Highways Association on historic Old Slip in Lower New York. From this new headquarters the work was promoted vigorously, with the good help of Robert Bruce. Edmund Seymour performed a helpful service, rallying good friends to the cause and giving support to the Association during its formative years. Through the efficient and generous services of these and all other pioneer officers of the Association the foundations were laid for the great work that has since been established.

    Courtesy of the book Covered Wagon Centennial and Ox-Team Days by Ezra Meeker. World Book Company, Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York, December 29, 1931, p. 290. Signed (Howard Driggs) edition in my numismatic library.

    Ezra Meeker’s visit to the Western cities at this time to rally support for the Association suggested a new motive for his efforts. In Pocatello, Idaho, a group of interested persons had banded together to help locate and preserve the site of old Fort Hall. These workers had planned to present to Congress a bill for the minting of a memorial coin, profits from the sale of which might be used to finance a memorial enterprise. Here, Ezra Meeker felt, was a golden opportunity for the cooperation of the new Association. He immediately acted on his impulse and brought about a joining of forces. The Oregon Trail Memorial Association espoused the cause of the Memorial Coin Bill, with the Idaho group earnestly reinforcing the national movement. To this group of Idaho supporters belongs great credit for the success of the later efforts of the national society.

    The cause now demanded a new challenge, it appeared. There was to be an international air meet in Dayton, Ohio. Ezra Meeker seized on the opportunity suggested by this event. Why not fly in an airplane along the pioneer trail to that meeting? This thought had hardly flashed across the veteran’s mind before he began to act on it. Success was to crown his efforts.

    And what came of it all? The net result was the final victory of the Memorial Coin Bill. The bill was sponsored by the Honorable Addison Smith, representative from Idaho, and Senator Wesley Jones of Washington.

    While this bill was under consideration, Ezra Meeker and his associates of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association spent much time in Washington. On one occasion the aged pioneer was called before the congressional committee in charge of the measure. His earnest plea, backed by his picturesque personality and the help of his friends, carried the day. The bill came out of the committee with a unanimous endorsement, and not long thereafter it was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate without a dissenting vote. It was signed by President Coolidge in the presence of the old pioneer.

    The Oregon Trail. Line of Original Emigration to the Pacific Northwest Commonly Known as the “Old Oregon Trail" from The Ox Team or the Old Oregon Trail 1852-1906 by Ezra Meeker. Fourth Edition 1907.

    Six million half-dollar coins were placed at the command of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association to carry on the work of perpetuating the pioneer story. These coins are rare beauty, designed by two of America’s eminent artists – James Earle Fraser and Laura Garden (sic) Fraser – express the spirit of the covered-wagon pioneers. Mr. Meeker was confident every American citizen would be eager to possess such a memento and at the same time to help forward a great cause by paying a dollar for the coin.

    The coin, to be sure, would bring millions of patriotic citizens into active participation in the work of the Association and would provide ample funds for this work. With these funds, Mr. Meeker proudly asserted, the old trail could be marked from end to end; the story could be portrayed in motion pictures, true to the verities of the great romance; books could be created to preserve the epic; the historic shrines alone the way could be restored; and a stately memorial could be erected in the national capital to the memory of the stalwart winners of the West.

    Ezra Meeker did not live, however, to realize this hope. He had spent his strength in laying the foundation for such realization. With failing steps but rugged determination he carried on despite growing disappointments. He refused to give up, and brushed aside every discouragement with the remarkable resourcefulness and good cheer.

    Mr. Meeker’s friends suggested that he become president-emeritus of the Association and pass the arduous burdens on to others; but he could not relinquish the helm so long as he had strength to hold it. The work must be accomplished in a spirit of self-sacrifice and fine understanding of its true import. To this end he gave all his strength.

    Among those who won and held his confidence throughout these trying days was Mrs. Rose Jay Schwartz, his secretary. She came to him at a time when he most needed an earnest and intelligent counselor. With sympathetic understanding of the aged pioneer, with patience and tact, she served faithfully and efficiently right up to the close of his life, and afterward for more than a year she held an important place in the Association.

    In one of the last chapters of Ox-Team Days the story of the last days of the valiant old pioneers is told. He had given a great cause to America. By intense devotion and study he had clarified that cause and made America conscious of its importance. Finally, he had left a national association of interested citizens, inspired by his leadership and endorsed by the President and the Congress of the United States, to promote that cause and achieve the purpose for which he had given twenty years of his life.

    Immediately after the death of Mr. Meeker a host of friends gathered in the historic Judson Chapel on Washington Square in New York to hold memorial services in his honor. Out of that impressive ceremony cam a purpose and a deep resolve to carry on the work of which the dauntless old pioneer had struggled.

    This group – all members of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association – soon faced the realities of their resolution and turned to the problem of reorganizing for the work ahead.

    Ezra Meeker at a statue dedication ceremony.

    Howard R. Driggs, professor of English Education at New York University, was chosen as the successor of Ezra Meeker. . .The directorate pledged itself in addition to provide the funds necessary to carry on the work through the year. With these assurances of support, the new president entered upon his duties.”9

    91934 Souvenir Handbook for the Centennial Celebration of the Forts Founding in 1834, p. 8-25.
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