Articles

The pilgrim Tercentenary Half-Dollars

The three-hundredth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims was the occasion for ceremonies both in England and in the United States during 1920 and 1921. The town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, celebrated the Tercentenary in 1921 by several pageants which attracted national attention.

A special half-dollar was struck in commemoration and turned over to the Pilgrim Tercentenary Commission for distribution through the National Shawmut Bank of Boston. These were offered at one dollar each and bear the dates, 1920 and 1921,

The Act of Congress reads as follows:

[PUBLIC—No. 203—66TH CONGRESS]

An Act To authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal-tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

SEC. 2. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.) Approved, May 12,1920.

In accordance with this Act, 200,112 of these pieces were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1920 during the month of October, and 100,053 in July, 1921, a total of 300,165 pieces.

Due to the large coinage of these half-dollars, the entire issue was not sold. Of the 1920 issue, 48,000 pieces were returned to the Mint; and of the 1921 variety, 80,000 pieces were returned for melting.

The designs were furnished by the Pilgrim Tercentenary Commission and were executed by Cyrus E. Dallin, a well-known Boston sculptor, who has specialized in Indian subjects, The obverse bears a portrait of Governor Bradford, ns a representative Pilgrim. The reverse shows a side view of the “Mayflower.” The coin met with a fair measure of enthusiasm, although there was criticism regarding the vessel’s flying jib, a sail which had not come into use in 1620, The sail should have been the square water-sail hung under the bowsprit.

Obv. Half-length portrait of Governor Brad-ford to left, wearing conical hat, and carrying Bible under left arm; in field back of head, in small letters: IN GOD / WE TRUST Above, around border, in larger letters: UNITED•STATES•OF * AMERICA Below, around lower border:☆ PILGRIM•HALF•DOLLAR ☆ Under elbow, a small incused D for Dallin.
The “Mayflower” sailing to left; around upper border: PILGRIM•TERCENTENARY•CELEBRATION, and at lower border: ☆ 1620-1920 ☆
Reeded.30 mm. Silver.
Gothic.
Same as above, but with the date 1921 in relief on obverse left field.
As the previous piece bore no date of striking but carried only the anniversary dates, 1620-1920, the addition of this third date is notable in that it followed the precedent set by the Columbian half-dollar issues and also for many of the subsequent issues of commemorative half-dollars, which vary from one another only because of the addition of memorial or coinage dates.

The postage stamps issued in connection with the Pilgrim Tercentenary Celebration are of interest since the one-cent denomination depicts the “Mayflower” as shown upon the reverse of the Pilgrim half-dollar.

THE ALABAMA CENTENNIAL HALF-DOLLARS

In commemoration of the admission of the State of Alabama to the Union on December 14, 1819, centennial celebrations were held throughout the State in 1919 and 1920. The Centennial Commission decided it would be fitting to have a commemorative half-dollar struck. This was provided for by the Act of Congress, reading as follows:

[PUBLIC—No. 200—66TH CONGRESS]

An Act To authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Alabama into the Union.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That as soon as practicable, and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Alabama into the Union as a State, there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of one hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, and said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

SEC. 2. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.) Approved, May 10,1920.

Congress authorized the Alabama and the Maine Centennial issues on the same date. These two Acts, in addition to the Illinois Act of 1918, carry the phrase that the coins may be struck by the Mint “as soon as practicable.” The Maine and the Illinois issues were struck the year they were authorized, but in the Alabama issue, due to delay, anawkward date confusion arose. The coins were authorized in 1920 to commemorate a centennial in 1919, but the coins were not struck until 1921, so that in addition to the anniversary dates on the reverse, they carry the later coinage date on the obverse. The Alabama issue’s double-dating plan set a precedent for later issues. The coin was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser, of New York, incorporating suggestions made by the Alabama Commission.

The pieces were first put on sale at Birmingham. Alabama, on the morning of October 26, 1921, during the visit of President Harding to that city. They were later distributed by the various banks in the State for one dollar each. The profit from the sale was used for commemorative purposes. Although the Act called for 100,000 pieces, only 70,000 were struck.

The Philadelphia Mint struck 6,006 pieces in October 1921, with the St. Andrew’s Cross dividing the figure 22 at the back of the head of Governor Kilby. The St. Andrew’s Cross is the emblem on the Alabama State flag, which, in turn, was taken from the Confederate battle flag. The “22” indicates that Alabama was the twenty-second State to enter the Union.

In December, 1921, an additional 10,008 of these pieces were struck, as well as 54,030 of the plain variety after the 2X2 had been removed from the hub. Thus there were struck 16,014 with the 2X2 and 54,030 of the plain variety. Of this issue, 5,000 pieces, presumably of the plain variety, were re-turned to the Mint.

20. Obv. Accolated busts of William Wyatt Bibb, first Governor of Alabama, and Thomas E. Kilby, Governor at the time of Centennial (1919), facing left; beneath truncation in small letters: BIBB 1921 KILBY In field, at lower left, twelve five-pointed stars in three rows; at lower right, ten similar stars in three rows; in center right field, incused: 2X2; at top, in large letters: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and parallel, directly below, in smaller letters: IN GOD WE TRVST At bottom: HALF DOLLAR

Rev. Seal of Alabama, an eagle to left with raised wings, arrows in talons, resting on shield of the United States. Ribbon in eagle’s beak with motto of the State incused in small letters: HERE—WE—REST Above, around upper border, in larger letters: STATE OF ALABAMA Below, around lower border: 1819 CENTENNIAL 1919 At extreme left border in relief, in small letters, the artist’s initials, LGF

Edge.Reeded.30 mm. Silver.

Lettering.Gothic.

21. Same as above, but without the incused 2X2 on the obverse.

The portrait of Governor Kilby on this piece has caused much comment. It was the first instance of the portrayal of a living person on a coin of our country, and has served as a precedent for several later issues. It seems indeed strange that this signal honor was not first accorded to a President or some other personage of greater significance in American history than a state Governor.

Since the time of Washington, the portrayal of living persons upon coinage of the United States had been avoided. During the 1860’s and 70’s, the portraits of living Government officials did appear upon the United States notes and fractional currency, but owing to unsympathetic public reaction, it was considered advisable to abandon the practice. Coolidge, Glass and Robinson, respectively, later were accorded the honor of having their own portraits upon the United States coinage. Although there have been four exceptions to this unwritten law, there is general opposition to the procedure.

THE MISSOURI CENTENNIAL HALF-DOLLARS

On August 10, 1821, Missouri was admitted to the Union, and in connection with the one-hundredth anniversary of this event, commemorative half-dollars were issued.

The Government’s authorization of this issue, reads as follows:

[PUBLIC—NO. 381—66TH CONGRESS]

AN ACT To authorize the coinage of a 50-cent piece in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of Missouri into the Union.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of Missouri into the Union there shall be coined at the mints of the United States 50-cent pieces to the number of two hundred and fifty thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

Sec. 2, (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.)

Approved, March 4, 1921.

Although 250,000 pieces were authorized, only 50,028 half-dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in July, 1921. Of this number, the first 10,000 pieces coined bore upon the obverse 2☆4, and the balance of 40,028 were of the issue without star. Although the half-dollars with the additional 2☆4 were coined first, these pieces were not offered for sale until several months after a quantity of the plain variety had been sold. The starred variety was struck first, as the star was on the original hub, and later was polished off to permit striking of the plain type without having to prepare new hubs. Later 29,600 half-dollars, presumably of the plain type, were returned to the Mint to be melted.

The design of the coins is the work of Robert Aitken, who designed the Panama-Pacific Exposition fifty-dollar gold pieces. The hubs for the dies were prepared by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

A description of the issue is, as follows:

22. Obv. Bust of frontiersman with ‘coonskin’ cap and deerskin jacket to left; above, around border in large letters; UNITED•STATES•OF•AMERICA•Below: HALF•DOLLAR In lower field, divided by bust: 1821—1921. In left obverse field, above 1 of 1821, incused, 2☆4, thus indicating that Missouri is represented by the twenty-fourth star on the flag. All within wide border.

Rev. A frontiersman with powder-horn and gun, arm extended to left, beside an Indian wearing war bonnet, holding shield and pipe, both standing facing left. In left lower field, divided by the two figures, four rows of five-pointed stars; same in right field. (The 24 stars again denote Missouri as the 24th State to be admitted to the Union, emphasizing the 2☆4 on the obverse.) Above, around border in large letters: MISSOURI•CENTENNIAL•(Indian’s head touches I•C and frontiersman’s head touches first N of MISSOURI•CENTENNIAL.) In exergue, in smaller letters, incused:•SEDALIA•In right field, incused, near stock of gun, monogram of sculptor, RA. All within wide border.

Edge.Reeded.30 mm. Silver.

Lettering.Gothic.

23. Same as above, but without 2☆4 on obverse.

The name “Sedalia” on the reverse refers to the Exposition and State Fair held in August, 1921, at Sedalia, in celebration of the Centennial.

Robert Aitken submitted sketches for this coin, showing on the reverse the State Arms of Missouri. At the suggestion of the Fine Arts Commission, the reverse design was changed to the frontiersman and Indian—a decided improvement. In the meantime, the advertisements and first illustrations of the model showed the piece with the Arms of Missouri.

The Missouri Centennial Committee of the Sedalia, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce was made custodian of these memorial coins, and the Sedalia Trust Company distributed them at one dollar each.

The Missouri and the Columbian half-dollar issues are the only instances of the omission of all three mottoes from the commemorative half-dollar series. The Missouri issue assumes special significance when it is considered in relation to the other commemorative types.

THE GRANT MEMORIAL COINAGES

The centenary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant (April 2, 1822) brought forth another souvenir coinage.

The chief celebrations were held in Ohio, the State in which General Grant was born. In 1921, an organization was incorporated in that State under the name of “The Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial Association,” to conduct appropriate celebrations in Clermont County, Ohio. It was also determined to erect memorial buildings in Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio, where Grant lived as a boy and from which place he was named as a West Point cadet; and at Bethel, Clermont County, where he resided for a short while after his graduation. To help defray the costs of these various undertakings, including the construction of a highway, as noted in the Act, a bill was introduced in Congress directing the Government to mint gold dollars to be sold at a premium by the Committee. After a number of vicissitudes and amendments, the bill passed Congress, reading as follows:

[PUBLIC—NO. 137—67TH CONGRESS]

AN ACT TO authorize the coinage of a Grant memorial gold dollar and a Grant memorial silver half dollar in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of General Ulysses S. Grant, late President of the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That for the purpose of aiding in defraying the cost of erecting a community building in the village of George-town, Brown County, Ohio, and a like building in the village of Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio, as a memorial to Ulysses S. Grant, late President of the United States, and for the purpose of constructing a highway five miles in length from New Richmond, Ohio, to Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, the place of birth of Ulysses S. Grant, to be known as the Grant Memorial Road, there shall be coined in the mints of the United States, Grant memorial gold dollars to the number of ten thousand and Grant memorial silver half dollars to the number of two hundred fifty thousand, said coins to be of a standard Troy weight, composition, diameter and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint and approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, which said coins shall be legal tender to the amount of their face value, to be known as the Grant memorial gold dollar and the Grant memorial silver half dollar struck in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, late President of the United States.

That all laws now in force relating to the gold coins and subsidiary silver coins of the United States and the coining or striking of the same, regulating and guarding the process of coinage, providing for the purchase of material, and for the transportation, distribution, and redemption of the coins, for the prevention of debasement or counterfeiting, for security of the coins, or for any other purposes, whether such laws are penal or otherwise, shall, so far as applicable, apply to the coin-age herein authorized: Provided, That the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary dies and other preparation for this coinage.

Approved, February 2, 1922.

The original bill called for 200,000 gold dollars, but it met with decided objections on the ground that too much gold would be drawn away from more useful purposes. Therefore 10,000 gold dollars were authorized, and 250,000 silver half-dollars were added. Also the word “memorial” was substituted in the bill for “souvenir,” in describing the coins.

The design, which is the same for both the gold dollar and the silver half-dollar, was the work of Laura Gardin Fraser, who had previously designed the Alabama issue. The initial for her maiden name, Gardin, appears on the Grant issue. The models for the half-dollar were prepared prior to those for the gold dollar.

During March, 1922, the Mint at Philadelphia struck 10,016 gold dollars, the first 5,000 of which bore in the obverse right field a small incused star which was subsequently removed for the second half of the coinage. Later, there were also struck 100,055 of the silver half-dollars. The first 5,006 of this coinage also had the incused star. The coins were put on sale during the month of April, two months after the bill’s passage. The half-dollars were sold at one dollar each, and the gold dollars at three dollars each for the plain issue, and at three and one-half dollars for the variety with the star.

The entire issue of the gold coins was sold by the Commission; but of the silver half-dollars, 750 of the type with the star and 27,650 of the plain variety were returned to the Mint.

In the case of the Alabama and Missouri coins, there was some meaning to the added symbols, but in this case there was apparently no significance. Had four stars been placed on the coin, they would at least have shown the rank of Grant as General. The placing of the star upon the half-dollar was not originally contemplated. It was brought about by a request for two varieties of the half-dollar when the gold dollars were ordered. This commemorative gold dollar was the only issue to carry any of the mottoes.

24.Obv. Bust of Ulysses S. Grant in military uniform to right; below truncation, in small figures: 1822 G 1922 In field at left: ULYSSES /•S•and at right: GRANT Around upper border in large letters: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and at bottom, ONE DOLLAR A small incused five-pointed star in ob-verse right field after final A of AMERICA and above N of GRANT.

Rev. Fenced log cabin in Point Pleasant, Ohio, where Grant lived as a boy. Tall silver maple trees fill upper field. In field at left: E / PLURI•/ BUS / UNUM and at top border in larger letters: IN GOD WE TRUST

Edge.Reeded.14½mm. Gold.

Lettering.Gothic.

25. Similar to above, but without star on obverse.

26.Similar to variety with star, but with obverse denomination HALF DOLLAR

Edge, Reeded.30 mm. Silver.

27.Similar to above, but without star on obverse.

The letter G between the dates on the obverse of this series was placed there by the Mint, as was the case with the Columbian and the Pilgrim issues. The artist’s monogram or initials are usually in relief when placed there by the artist. The Mint, on the other hand, usually inserts an incused single letter to designate the artist.

The inscriptions on the Grant series make no direct reference to the purpose for which the coins were struck.

The practice of artificially creating a variety of a commemorative coin by addition of a device, or change in date or mint-mark, is open to criticism. Notwithstanding that numismatists have considered the varieties superfluous, the fact that they are limited issues makes them readily marketable. Of recent years, because of the limited number struck and a consequent advance in price of the Grant half-dollar with the star, there have been offered for sale numerous half-dollars of the plain variety with the star fraudulently punched in.

In connection with the spuriously added star of the Grant issue, it might be well to mention here that in 1935 many of the rarer issues were counterfeited. Fortunately, the pieces were recognized before the market was flooded, and the counterfeiter was apprehended.

At one time it was believed that the genuine Grant pieces with star could be recognized by certain flaws in the obverse field which were rectified when the star was removed from the original hub, preparatory to the coinage of the plain issue. A special study of these pieces by the late Howland Wood, revealed the fact that a number of die-combinations had been used in striking the Grant issue, but no record was kept as to which dies struck the star variety. Minute examination of the coins reveals a number of characteristics by which the dies may be noted, such as the outlined initial “G.” in GRANT, and the period on the reverse following the “I” of PLURIBUS. From this study it was found that the genuine star in the Grant half-dollar must be recognized on its own merits rather than by the accompanying characteristics on the other parts of the coin. Genuine half-dollars have been noted with and without these characteristics, although the majority of coins with the star appear to have been struck from the dies having the flaws.

The records show that eight obverse and six reverse dies were used in the total coinage of the half-dollars. The strikings per die, however, show that more coins were struck than are actually accounted for in the Mint Reports, since the combined total for the obverse and reverse dies was 117,685 pieces. The Mint Report gives 100,061 as the total coinage, leaving a wastage of over 17,000 pieces.

THE MONROE DOCTRINECENTENNIAL HALF-DOLLAR

The centennial of the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine was celebrated in June, 1923, at Los Angeles, California, and was the occasion for an issue of commemorative half-dollars. The motion picture industry was the force behind the issue, as an historical revue and motion-picture exposition commemorating events in our national history were shown, and the proceeds from the sale of these half-dollars contributed toward financing this project.

The Act of Congress authorizing this issue, reads as follows:

[PUBLIC—NO. 391—67TH CONGRESS]

AN ACT TO authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the enunciation of the Monroe doctrine.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the enunciation of the Monroe doctrine there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of not more than three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

SEC. 2. That the coins herein authorized shall be issued only upon the request of the Los Angeles Clearing House and upon payment by such clearing house to the United States of the par value of such coins.

Sec. 3. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.)

Approved, January 24, 1923.

The models for this coin were prepared by Chester Beach, who used for the reverse of this piece, the symbolic figures representative of the Americas. This motif had been less successfully employed on the badge of the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901. The reduction work was done by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

The obverse shows the heads of Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, respectively, who were instrumental in the formulation of the Doctrine, thenceforth the cornerstone of American foreign policy. The relationship between this issue and the Panama-Pacific issue of 1915 is interesting.

During May and June, 1923, the San Francisco Mint struck 274,077 of these half-dollars, representing nearly the entire authorization. The coins were released to the public at one dollar each. According to the records of the Mint, none of these coins were returned for melting; however, the majority of the pieces were not sold to the public but subsequently were placed in circulation at face value. This fact has made it increasingly difficult to secure specimens in perfect condition.

28. Obv. Accolated busts of James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, to left. Below, separated by two links: MONROE—ADAMS In left field, in small letters: IN GOD / WE TRUST In right field: 1923 / S At top: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA At bottom: HALF DOLLAR All within hairline border.

Rev, A representation of the Western Hemisphere, portrayed by two females so placed that their respective outlines represent North and South America. North America presents to South America the sprig of dive as a token of peace. South America holds the cornucopia, or horn of plenty. In field, faint lines representing ocean currents. In lower left field, a scroll and quill-pm (symbolic of the Doctrine) dividing dates: 1823—1923 Around upper circumference: MONROE DOCTRINE CENTINNIAL (North America’s elbow touches OC, and olive sprig touches RIN OF DOCTRINE). At bottom: LOS ANGELES (South America’s foot covert first E of ANGELES). At right border, monogram of artist: CB in faint relief. Entire reverse within hairline border.

Edge.Reeded.30 mm. Silver.

Lettering.Gothic.

THE HUGUE NOT-WALLOON TERCENTENARY HALF-DOLLAR



Upon the three-hundredth anniversary of the founding of New Netherland, a souvenir half-dollar was authorized. In 1626, the Dutch Want India Company sent Peter Minuit as Director-General to the new settlement. A group of permanent colonists had arrived in New York harbour in the vessel “Nieu Nederland” in 1624 under Cornelius Mey, the first governor. Soon after his arrival in the New World, Minuit became friendly with the local Indians and purchased Manhattan Island for a nominal sum (reputedly twenty-four dollars) in the name of his Company.

There were other Huguenot-Walloon colonies in South Carolina and in Florida; however, the term “Middle States” in the Act refers only to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware settlements. The settlement which centered about Manhattan Island was the most prosperous in later years. The colony was called New Netherland from the time of its settlement until 1664. In that year, after the territory had been torn from the possession of the Dutch, the name was changed, by the English, to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who later ruled as James II.

It is notable that the Act authorizes a coinage to commemorate an event, whereas the coin portrays persons only indirectly associated with the occasion.

The persons whose portraits are shown upon this issue are worthy of a brief historical note. Goth Admiral Gaspard Coligny and William the Silent were Protestant leaders of the Reformation, during the latter part of the 16th Century. Coligny was killed in 1572, and Prince William was assassinated in 1584. Their relationship to the founding of New Netherland in 1624, nearly half a century later, is a spiritual rather than a factual one.

[PUBLIC—NO. 440—67TH CONGRESS]

AN ACT TO authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of the settling of New Netherland, the Middle States, in 1624, by Walloons, French and Belgian Huguenots, under the Dutch West India Company.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of the settling of New Netherland, the Middle States, in 1624, by Walloons, French and Belgian Huguenots, under the Dutch West India Company, there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

SEC. 2. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.)

SEC. 3. That the coins herein authorized shall be issued only upon the request of the Fifth National Bank of New York, and upon payment of the par value of such coins by such bank to the United States Treasury.

Approved, February 26, 1923.

This issue of souvenir half-dollars was struck at the Philadelphia Mint during February and April, 1924, from models prepared by G. T. Morgan of the Mint. A total of 142,080 pieces was struck—approximately half the 300,000 coin authorization; these were distributed by the bank authorized in the Act, at one dollar each. All but 55,000 of these coins were sold to the public at a premium. The remaining coins were placed in circulation at face value in order to avoid their return to the Mint and the subsequent recoining expenses. Stamps were also released for the occasion, the one-cent variety showing the ship, “Nieu Nederland,” depicted on the half-dollar reverse.

A description of the issue follows:

29. Obv. Accolated busts, facing right, of Admiral Coligny and Prince William the Silent of Nassau-Orange, both wearing soft hats of the period. Around top border: united states•of•America In right field, in small type in four lines: in / god / we / trust Below busts, in very small type: coligny•william•the•silent Below, around lower circumference: huguenot•half•dollar On truncation of bust of Coligny, incused letter M for Morgan.

Rev. The vessel, “Nieu Nederland,” sailing to left, between dates: 1624—1924 Around upper border: huguenot-Walloon•tercentenary Around lower border: founding•of•new-netherland

Reeded.30 mm. Silver.
Lettering.Gothic.

There was considerable agitation concerning this issue. Some desired its suppression feeling that it was solely a vehicle for religious propaganda and, as such, un-American and unsuitable for the national coinage. The bill for this issue of souvenir coins, included, as sponsors, several religious leaders—the first instance in which religious groups had actively participated in an issue of coins.

Since the occasion for the coinage was the settling of the Huguenots and Walloons in the New World, it was contended that American events associated with the settling could have supplied the types for the coinage.

THE STONE MOUNTAINHALF-DOLLAR

For many years a permanent memorial to the military leaders of the Confederacy has been planned. It was proposed that Stone Mountain, Georgia, comprising one of the largest known masses of workable granite, be suitably carved with portraitures of these leaders in heroic size. Arrangements were finally completed and in June, 1923, the work began.

In order to secure additional funds to finance this memorial, Congress authorized an issue of souvenir half-dollars, not only as a memorial to the Confederate leaders but also as a memorial to Warren G. Harding who was President of the United States when the work of carving Stone Mountain began.

The act authorizing the coinage, signed by President Coolidge, follows:

[Public—No. 46—68th Congress]

An Act To authorize the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the commencement on June 18, 1923, of the work of carving on Stone Mountain, in the State of Georgia, a monument to the valor of the soldiers of the South, which was the inspiration of their sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters in the Spanish-American and World Wars, and in memory of Warren G. Harding, President of the United States of America, in whose administration the work was begun.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representativesof the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the commencement on June 18, 1923, of the work of carving on Stone Mountain, in the State of Georgia, a monument to the valor of the soldiers of the South, which was the inspiration of their sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters in the Spanish-American and World Wars, and in memory of Warren G. Harding, President of the United States of America, in whose administration the work was begun, there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of not more than five million, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

2. That the coins herein authorized shall be issued only upon the request of the executive committee of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association, a corporation of Atlanta, Georgia, and upon payment by such executive committee for and on behalf of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association of the par value of such coins, and it shall be permissible for the said Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association to obtain said coins upon said payment, all at one time or at separate times, and in separate amounts, as it may determine.
Sec. 3. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.)

Approved, March 17, 1924.

The models for this half-dollar coinage were prepared by Gutzon Borglum, a noted American sculptor, who also held the commission for the actual carving of Stone Mountain. The dies were prepared by the Medallic Art Company of New York. Mr. Borglum and other officials of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association were present when the first pieces were struck at the Philadelphia Mint on January 21, 1925, the 101st birthday of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The first coin struck was subsequently mounted on a plate of Georgia gold and presented to President Coolidge. During the remainder of that month and through March, a total of 2,314,709 pieces was coined, which was less than half of the authorized issue. It was proposed by the Association to release these coins simultaneously throughout the nation on July 3, 1925, in order to avoid speculation. The first million were sold at one dollar each, with the Association reserving the right to sell the remainder at a higher price. They made their first appearance in May.

Due to the tremendous number of coins which the Association had to market, it was necessary to devise methods for sales promotion. Several large institutions, as their contribution to the Memorial, were prevailed upon to purchase the coins at the premium and then distribute them at face value, Throughout the South they were distributed on a quota basis, each town subscribing for a fixed number. In each town, also, there was one special coin which was auctioned off to the highest bidder, with the proceeds, which often amounted to several hundred dollars, returnable to the Association.

During the work of cutting the memorial, a misunderstanding between Mr. Borglum and the Association officials resulted in the resignation of Mr. Borglum, not without considerable publicity. The Association was not only short of funds at this time but also lacked a sculptor. A sculptor was secured (Augustus Lukeman) and money was raised by marking some of the Stone Mountain coins with numbers and also with letters designating the state (e. g., Tenn = Tennessee) and these were sent to communities throughout the South, and auctioned.

Mention of the Stone Mountain half-dollar is incomplete without stating that there was considerable opposition to this issue. The issue was severely criticized, particularly by Northerners, because it was not considered fitting that the coinage of the United States be used to commemorate and perpetuate the memory of erstwhile leaders of the Southern states. Opposition gained sufficient strength at the time, as previously noted, to demand that the entire issue be suppressed. In order to modify the specific clauses in the enacting bill pertaining to the Confederate Army, the phrase making this issue a memorial to President Harding was added. When the coins were released, however, it was obvious that no reference to President Harding had been made. At one time his portrait had been considered as the main obverse device.

In addition there were protests against the design adopted, as well as general resentment regarding the nature of the Memorial itself which was being done with the funds received from the sale of the coins. Much unfavorable publicity resulted from the disagreements between Mr. Borglum and the Association, and the sale of the coins became increasingly difficult.

The widest divergence of opinion was with regard to the design. Some people felt that the diework and lettering were not sufficiently clear. This was due to the fact that this coin has no level field. Instead, the entire surface is treated as if it were rough-hewn stone against which stars are seen. In previous commemorative coinages, the surfaces of the coins had been comparatively smooth and they might have been struck as proofs, but with this issue there was not the possibility of a brilliant proof, thereby producing for numismatists an altogether new effect, and one which, at first, was thought not wholly pleasing. The question appears to be whether the result produced is not more proper for medallic work.

The authorization called for 5,000,000 half-dollars, the largest issue since that of the Columbian, which, too, had had five million, but of which only about two and a half-million had been sold. In fact, the authorization for this issue was over twice the aggregate authorizations for all thirteen intervening issues including all denominations. Fortunately, the Mint authorities realized the absorption point of the country for these souvenir issues and in this period between 1893 and 1924, only about two-thirds of the number of coins authorized were struck. In this same period, about one-third of the number struck were returned to the Mint and subsequently melted. The Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association returned 1,000,000 to the Mint, of which 500,000 were melted at once. The remaining half-million pieces also were melted recently.

The obverse of this coin shows General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson—both on horseback. The decision to portray these two men upon a United States coin was not based solely upon their military leadership in the War between the States, but upon their importance as leaders and as Americans fighting for what they considered to be right and just.

Obv. Equestrian figures of General Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson.General Lee with military hat in foreground. At top border: ☆☆☆☆IN GOD WETRUST☆☆☆☆ Inner border of five stars. Below horses’ heads: stone / mountain Beneath, 1925 At extreme right border, near horses’ tails, artist’s monogram, faintly incused: gb
Rev. An eagle about to take flight from a mountain crag. Around top border: united ☆ stat ☆ es ☆ of ☆ AMERICA Within, in field, parallel, but small: E pluribus unum In center left field, in four lines: memorial / to the valor / of the soldier / OF the south Around bottom, in large letters: half ☆dollar And above, from field to crag: ☆ liberty The entire field is studded with about thirty-five stars of varying magnitude, considerably less prominent than those shown upon the obverse.

Edge.Reeded.30 mm. Silver.

Lettering. Roman.

THE LEXINGTON-CONCORD SESQUICENTENNIAL HALF-DOLLAR

The Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775) was the occasion for an issue of souvenir half-dollars, as well as an issue of special postage stamps.

At Concord, the signal was given by the Americans, and the British were attacked from all aides, and forced to retreat to Charleston, near Boston.

Following this battle, the Colonies were sufficiently aroused to send Minute-men to Boston, where the British army was besieged by the patriotic colonists. The British showed their mettle, but not without great losses at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June, 1775; and shortly after this engagement, George Washington took command of the newly formed army.

Congress was prompted to authorize a commission which would assist in a celebration of these events, pertaining to the earliest phases of American Independence, and this commission had charge of the distribution of the souvenir half-dollars. Profits realized from the sale of these pieces defrayed the costs of the celebration.

The authorizing Act is, as follows:

[Public Resolution—No. 43—68th Congress]

Joint Resolution Establishing a commission for the participation of the United States in the observance of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, authorizing an appropriation to be utilized in connection with such observance, and for other purposes.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby established a commission to be known as the United States Lexington-Concord Sesquicentennial Commission (hereinafter referred to as the commission) and to be composed of eleven commissioners . . .

(Sections 2, 3 and 4, refer to the regulations of the Commission, and the authority for an issue of commemorative postage stamps.)

5. That in commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.
Sec. 6. (Same as Illinois issue, Section 2, page 38.)

Approved, January 14, 1925.

The coin was designed by Chester Beach, whose initials do not appear upon the finished coin.

During the months of April and May, 1925, there were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, 162,099 half-dollars representing about half of the authorization of 300,000 half-dollars. They were distributed (each in a small wooden box) by the Concord National Bank of Concord, Massachusetts, and the Lexington Trust Company of Lexington, Massachusetts, at one dollar each. Eighty-six coins, only, were returned to the Mint when the Commission closed the celebration.

It is of note that the statue depicted on the five-cent stamp, released for this celebration, is similar to that on the half-dollar obverse design. The statue, executed by Daniel Chester French, is located in Concord, Mass. A description of the coin follows:

31.Obv. Statue of Minute-man with musket in hand, plough at right, with coat hanging from handles. Around top border: united states of America (es of states, behind head). At lower border: ☆patriot half dollar☆ In lower left field, in two lines, in small letters: concord / minute-man In upper left field, in two lines: in god/ we trust

Rev. The Old Belfry at Lexington, Massachusetts, without background. Around border at top: LEXDCGTON-ÇONCORD—SESQUICENTENNIAL Under Belfry in small letters:▲old belfry, Lexington▲ At lower edge: 1775-1925

Reeded.30 mm. Silver.
Gothic.
The relief employed in the designing is very low, and as a result the coins appear to be thin.

THE CALIFORNIA DIAMOND-JUBILEE HALF-DOLLAR

In 1925, President Coolidge signed a bill authorizing the coinage of half-dollars for three celebrations. This was the first time that an authorizing Act of Congress covered more than one issue.

This Act called for half-dollars to commemorate:

1. The one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Bennington, and the independence of Vermont.

2. The seventy-fifth anniversary of the admission of the State of California into the Union.

3. The one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver, in the State of Washington.

The anniversary of the Battle of Bennington fell in 1927, and the coin, in chronological sequence, is Number 47.

The Act authorizing these issues is, as follows:

[Public—No. 452—68th Congress]

An ActTo authorize the coinage of silver 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Bennington and the independence of Vermont, in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the admission of California into the Union and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver, State of Washington.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Bennington and the independence of Vermont there shall be coined in the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of forty thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

SEC. 2. That in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the admission of the State of California into the Union there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of not more than three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

The coins herein authorized by section 2 hereof shall be issued only upon the request of the San Francisco Clearing House Association and the Los Angeles Clearing House Association, or either of them, and upon payment by such associations, or either of them, to the United States of the par value of such coins.

SEC. 3. That in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Fort Vancouver by the Hudson Bay Company, State of Washington, there shall be coined at the mints of the United States silver 50-cent pieces to the number of not more than three hundred thousand, such 50-cent pieces to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device, and design as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, which said 50-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value.

That the coin herein authorized shall be issued only upon the request of the executive committee of the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation, of Vancouver, Washington, and upon payment by such executive committee for and on behalf of the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation of the par value of such coins, and it shall be permissible for the said Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation to obtain said coins upon said payment, all at one time or at separate times, and in separate amounts, as it may determine.

SEC. 4. (Same as last paragraph of Grant issue, page 51.)

Approved, February 24, 1925.

The designer of the California half-dollar was Jo Mora, of Carmel, a noted sculptor of California, whose distinctive designs on the obverse show a miner panning for gold—a scene symbolizing California’s phenomenal growth in the middle of the nineteenth century, following the discovery of gold; and on the reverse, the bear, the state emblem. Although 300,000 coins were authorized, only 150,200 were struck—in August, 1925, at the San Francisco mint. These half-dollars were sold at one dollar each by the two clearing-house organizations named in the bill. There remained unsold at the end of the celebration 63,606 coins which were returned to the Mint by the sponsors.

This issue commemorated a span of seventy-five years only, the shortest period commemorated on our coins up to that time, with the exception of the memorial and exposition issues.

A description of the California Diamond-Jubilee half-dollar is, as follows:

32. Obv, A prospector of the days of ’49 kneeling to left, operating a crude pan with his hands, in hope of obtaining placer gold. Above, around border, in large letters: LIBERTY In left field, in small Gothic letters: IN GOD / WE TRUST In exergue:▲CALIFORNIA’S•DIAMOND▲/▲JUBILEE▲/ 1925 The field is appropriately natural and unpolished.

California grizzly bear walking to left. Above: E•PLURIBUS•UNUM In exergue:▲UNITED•STATES▲/ OF•AMERICA /▲At bottom, in small Gothic letters: HALF DOLLAR At extreme base, very small, mint-mark: s The field is unpolished, as on the obverse.
Reeded.30 mm. Silver.
Roman.
A very virile and well executed half-dollar, in which obverse and reverse are definitely related to each other.

THE FORT VANCOUVER CENTENNIAL HALF-DOLLAR

The occasion for this souvenir half-dollar was the centennial of the founding of Fort Vancouver, Washington, in 1825 by Dr. John McLoughlin, an employee of the Hudson Bay Company. A pageant was staged for this celebration, and in order to secure funds to assist in the financing, an issue was authorized by Congress in 1925. The authority for this coinage was one section of the act which also authorized the California Diamond-Jubilee and Battle of Bennington half-dollar issues, approved February 24, 1925.

The Fort Vancouver half-dollar models were prepared by Laura Gardin Fraser, who had designed several of the previous issues. The design is in well executed relief, and the coin is pleasing.

In August 1925, the San Francisco Mint struck 50,028 pieces. They were distributed throughout Washington by the Fort Vancouver Centennial Corporation at one dollar each. The Act called for the minting of 300,000 coins, but the Mint struck only a fraction of this number, as had been its recent practice. Of those coined, 35,034 were returned unsold.

The fact that the entire issue was transported by plane from the San Francisco Mint to Fort Vancouver is an interesting side light.

Dr. John McLoughlin, whose memory is perpetuated by this issue, was born in Canada in 1784 of Scotch-Irish parents. As an employee of the Hudson Bay Company, he built Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, in 1825. From 1824 to 1846, he conducted the affairs of the company from this Fort, and became known throughout the territory to Indians as well as to settlers, as a man of great integrity and honesty, and also as a humanitarian. He was able to convince the Indians of his good intentions, at a time prior to the extension of true British or American influence in this region.

In 1846, Dr. McLoughlin removed to Oregon City, Oregon, where he became a naturalized American citizen. The conspicuous part which Dr. McLoughlin played in the development of the West made it fitting that honor be paid to his memory. His early selection of a site on the banks of the Columbia River for a settlement proved well-chosen as it is not distant from the present city of Portland, Oregon.

33. Obv. Portrait bust of Dr. John McLoughlin facing left, dividing dates of the centennial and motto: 1825—1925 / IN GOD—WE TRUST Beneath bust, curved, in small letters: Dr•JOHN MCLOUGHLIN Above, at top of border: united states OF AMERICA At bottom border: Half Dollar

A pioneer settler in a buckskin suit standing with a musket in hand, facing to right. In background, the Fort with stockade around it and mountain peak rising in the distance, all within medallion. At top border, around medallion: FORT VANCOUVER CENTENNIAL In small letters below medallion:•Vancouver•WASHINGTON•FOUNDED•1825•By•and at border, in larger letters: HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY Inside medallion at extreme right near stockade posts, designer’s initials LGF in relief. Through an inadvertence, these half-dollars, although struck at the San Francisco Mint, bear no mint-mark.
Reeded.30 mm. Silver.
Gothic.
The commemoration of the founding of Fort Vancouver, by the Hudson Bay Company was an event more worthy of a medal than a commemorative half-dollar, insofar as the national significance of the occasion is concerned. The celebration appearsto have been purely local.

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