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Sparked by low-mintage issues which appreciated in value, the market for United States commemorative coins spiked in 1936. Until 1954, the entire mintage of such issues was sold by the government at face value to a group authorized by Congress, who then tried to sell the coins at a profit to the public. The new pieces then came on to the secondary market, and in early 1936 all earlier commemoratives sold at a premium to their issue prices. The apparent easy profits to be made by purchasing and holding commemoratives attracted many to the coin collecting hobby, where they sought to purchase the new issues. Among the pieces which had recently been struck and had appreciated in value was the 1935 Old Spanish Trail half dollar. This piece had been issued at the behest of L. W. Hoffecker, a Texas entrepreneur and coin dealer, who put aside a fifth of the 10,000 mintage for himself and sold them well into the 1940s, by which time he had served as pre sident of the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Congress authorized an explosion of commemorative coins in 1936; no fewer than fifteen were issued for the first time. At the request of the groups authorized to purchase them, several coins minted in prior years were produced again, dated 1936, senior among them the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar, first struck in 1926. Thomas G. Melish Thomas G. Melish, a coin collector and entrepreneur from Cincinnati, came up with an idea for a commemorative coin that he would control and from which he could profit. Melish was a prominent businessman who had inherited the Bromwell Wire Company. He formed the Cincinnati Musical Center Commemorative Coin Association, and secured the introduction of H.R. 10264 on January 31, 1936. This bill would have provided for 10,000 coins from the Philadelphia Mint, 2,000 coins from Denver, and 3,000 from the San Franci