The legislation for this coin was first proposed in October 1921 in the House with provisions for 200,000 gold dollars. For various economic and political reasons, the eventual authorizing Legislation which President Harding signed on February 2, 1922, called for 10,000 Gold Dollars and 250,000 silver Half Dollars.
The designs for both coins are identical and were executed by Laura Gardin Fraser. The obverse is dominated by a portrait of Grant in military uniform after a Mathew Brady picture. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” runs along the rim across the top and “HALF DOLLAR” runs along the bottom under the portrait. The president’s name is split by his bust with “ULYSSES S” to the left and “GRANT” to the right. The dates 1822 and 1922 appear under the bust separated by the Sculptures’ monogram a Conjoined “L “,”G” & ” F” .
For a small percentage of the mintage, a small incused star was added above the “N” in Grant. This addition was apparently for no other reason than to create a rare variety to sell more coins, a practice that had been perfected on the Alabama and Missouri Commemoratives the year before.
The reverse design shows the small frame house (not a “log cabin” as the Secretary of the Treasury described it in the annual report of the Mint for Fiscal 1922) in which Grant was born in Point Pleasant Ohio in 1822. Ms. Fraser worked from original photos to generate this design, just as she had done on the obverse. The small house is surrounded by a stand of large trees and a rail fence runs across the design in front of the house. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is squeezed in on the left of the house, but to make the motto fit the longest word had to be split into “PLURI” & “BUS”on separate lines. The Motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” arcs across the top. There are no other words on the reverse, and the word “Liberty” is conspicuously missing from the design!
Note that the designs of both the silver and gold coins are identical except for the denomination across the bottom of the obverse, though the gold coin is considerably smaller!
General Market Notes
The key to the series is the "Star" type variety. Coins with "No Star" are readily available and affordable to collectors.