The 1892 and 1893 Columbian half dollars were the first commemorative coins issued by the United States. They were coined to commemorate the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This event, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, was to be held in 1892. With the cost of the fair ballooning, an enterprising manager of the expo suggested that souvenir half dollars be produced and sold for $1 each to help cover the cost of the exposition. The bill to produce the coin was passed on August 5th of 1892 and called for the mintage of no more than 5 million half dollar coins.