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Commems Collection: What If? 1949 Marblehead, Massachusetts 300th Anniversary

 
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 Posted 05/20/2022  09:49 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
A bill that seemed doomed from its inception was one that called for a 1949 half dollar "in commemoration of the three-hundredth anniversary of the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts."

Marblehead, MA is a small town located on the North Shore of Massachusetts, on a peninsula that extends into the Massachusetts Bay. The town traces its European settlement roots to the 1620s when small fishing villages were first set up in the area. As more settlers moved into the area, the developing community was considered a part of the previously-established Salem, MA. Marblehead incorporated in 1649 as an independent town, separate from Salem. It is this date/year that was to be celebrated with the coin.

In 1949, it had been over a decade since Congress had passed a coin bill for a city and its associated local event. In the then-current climate within Congress, a coin needed to clearly celebrate an event of national significance if it was to have any chance of being approved. So, when Representative George Joseph Bates (R-MA) introduced his very local Marblehead bill in May 1949, he couldn't have had very high hopes for its success.

The Marblehead bill sought up to 100,000 half dollars, but did not explicitly limit the coinage to a single Mint facility. The bill did contain language that could be interpreted as limiting the coin's mintage to 1949, but it did not specifically state such. In addition, the bill did not list a sponsor for the coin, though its language suggests that the coins were to be struck for the town itself. The bill also lacked the standard language regarding protecting the Government from incurring any costs related to the coins, as well as language pertaining to the rules for placing coin orders and selling the commemorative pieces. In short, the bill did not follow the precedents/guidelines set for such coin bills in the 1930s. Considering that Bates had been in the House of Representatives since 1937, I would have expected a bit more historical awareness on his part.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking and Currency, but was never reported out. Thus, the Marblehead, MA coin bill joined the long list of those that died for lack of action.

Note: Marblehead claims to be the birthplace of the US Navy - a claim also made by Beverly, MA, Whitehall, NY, Philadelphia, PA and Providence, RI. The roots of Marblehead's claim lie in the fact that residents of the town owned and crewed the schooner Hannah which was the first ship (1775) that George Washington ordered to be outfitted as a warship to harass British ships in the area. The outfitting of the ship was completed in Beverly, thus the competing claims. The five "birthplace" claims make for an interesting story, but beyond my scope here.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
05/20/2022 09:50 am
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 Posted 05/20/2022  10:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting!


Quote:
The five "birthplace" claims make for an interesting story, but beyond my scope here.
Imagine, if you will, competing US Navy commemorative coins sponsored by five different groups representing each claim.
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 Posted 05/20/2022  10:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Marblehead is one of the most charming seaside towns you could imagine.
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 Posted 05/20/2022  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Winesteven to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Apparently, this town must have been named after the ancestors of a guy I knew in high school, lol.
A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!

My collecting "Pride & Joy" is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
https://www.PCGS.com/setregistry/ty...edset/213996
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 Posted 05/23/2022  12:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Apparently, this town must have been named after the ancestors of a guy I knew in high school, lol.
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 Posted 05/23/2022  6:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's simply amazing to me that 10 years after the classic commemorative series was shut down in 1939 that a seasoned congressional veteran would propose a coin with such purely local significance.

Truly enjoy reading your research commems - appreciate all that you bring to us.

Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
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 Posted 05/24/2022  3:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for another interesting "What if?" article.
My U.S. Type Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278808/
My U.S. Classic Commemorative Complete Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278741/
My 20th Century U.S. Type Set - Proofs only, No Gold https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/co...sets/396301/
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