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Commems Collection: Booker T at Mardi Gras

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 Posted 06/09/2012  3:31 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

In 1947, the Bebee Stamp and Coin Company of Chicago, Illinois -- a large, well-known dealer at the time -- took an unknown number of brown kraft paper 2x2 envelopes and had them printed as shown below.

Inside the envelopes were placed Booker T. Washington commemorative half-dollars which were sold by Bebee's during Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1947. The "packaged" souvenir coins sold for $1.25 (you can just about make it out under the black redaction at the top of the back of the envelope shown below). The Mardi Gras selling price was 10 cents more than what Bebee's typically charged for single coins (based on the company's contemporary advertisements), but such a small mark-up isn't too bad for a special souvenir from Mardi Gras! (Mardi Gras Fun Fact: 1947 was the first year that floats were part of the annual Mardi Gras parade.)

The coin shown is a 1946 example from the Philadelphia Mint. It appears to have spent a fair amount of time in the souvenir envelope as it shows obverse and reverse toning; it's now in an inert flip. Held in hand, the coin shows nice underlying luster on both sides. You may ask "Why weren't 1947 issue coins used in the envelopes?" And I would answer, "Mardi Gras was held in February in 1947 and the Mint did not strike 1947-dated BTW coins until November."

Bebee's was not an official distributor of BTW coins in 1947, but would become so in 1948.

Anthony Swiatek, noted US commemorative coin dealer, historian and author, has stated that the simple design of the envelope may have lead to counterfeits. While I can't be 100% positive about the authenticity of my example (I wasn't alive in 1947 to buy it from Bebee's ), I do have a high degree of confidence in it as it was purchased from a long-time dealer who is familiar with the pieces and believes it to be an original.

Enjoy!


1946 Booker T. Washington Memorial Half-Dollar -- Obverse




1946 Booker T. Washington Memorial Half-Dollar -- Reverse




1947 Bebee's Mardi Gras Envelope for BTW Half-Dollar -- Front




1947 Bebee's Mardi Gras Envelope for BTW Half-Dollar -- Back



Collecting history, one commemorative coin (or medal) at a time!
Original content (c) Commems, 2012-2014
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 Posted 06/09/2012  4:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Islander2010 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice piece of history, thanks for sharing!
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 Posted 06/09/2012  5:07 pm  Show Profile Check Merc Man's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Merc Man to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am starting to like the commemorative series of coins more and more every day. I think it is the history buff in me that really appreciates what the coins represent. Thanks for continuing to educate commems.
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 Posted 06/09/2012  5:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SilverCoinBoi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I live right outside New Orleans. Thanks for sharing :)
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 Posted 06/09/2012  5:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Outstanding commems.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.finewoodcrafter.com
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 06/11/2012  1:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice!
Jbuck! ... Coin Collector since 1978 ... Learn more about my current avatar and my previous one.

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 Posted 06/11/2012  3:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wquinn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 06/11/2012  10:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add boguilliams to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Any idea how often coins with this original envelope are on the market?
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 Posted 06/11/2012  10:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Bog the coin is on the market a lot but I've never once seen the envelope except from commems
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 Posted 06/12/2012  11:03 pm  Show Profile Check CoinsKelly's eCrater Listings Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Now I have to look for this too!
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 Posted 06/12/2012  11:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The bag and the coin together should be worth more than the total value of the individual items.
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 Posted 06/12/2012  11:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add D0ubl3Eagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Always learn something new from your posts!
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 Posted 06/14/2012  08:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@bogulliams: While I've seen most of the original holders I've presented in my various posts multiple times, the only time I've encountered this particular BTW/Bebee's envelope was the time I purchased it. So, I have to label it as relatively scarce. It's the type of thing, however, that you might glance into a dealer's case at a show and see three of them in his/her case -- it's impossible to predict how/when you will find one. Now that you're aware it's out there, the key to finding one is diligent searching.
Collecting history, one commemorative coin (or medal) at a time!
Original content (c) Commems, 2012-2014
Edited by commems
06/14/2012 08:43 am
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 Posted 06/14/2012  8:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the key to finding one is diligent searching.


Well stated and a perfect closing statement.

In the hunt for great treasure nothing comes easy ... the advantage favors the knowledgeable folks ... and knowledge is the key.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.finewoodcrafter.com
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 06/17/2012  8:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add pairunoyd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is so cool Commem!

You should read his autobiography, Up From Slavery. Gave me all kinds of respect for the man and his ability to the best he could with what he had.

After I read the book I just had to have one of these coins.
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