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Commems Collection: 1936 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

 
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 Posted 04/05/2012  7:40 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Decided it was time to spend a little time on the West Coast, so today the 1936 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Opening commemorative half-dollar takes the stage via a PCGS MS-66. (Had this one prepped and ready before I saw TreeMonkey's post -- hope another view of this one won't hurt!)

Yes, this coin is commonly referred to as the "Bay Bridge," but the title above is its more official name as per its authorizing legislation. It was issued to mark the opening of the bridge that spans the San Francisco Bay and connects the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. The bridge opened to the public on 12 November 1936 -- motorists could purchase the coin during its opening days at kiosks at the entrances for $1.50.

Read More: Commems Collection

The bridge is actually a pair of bridges (a Western Span and Eastern Span) that meet at Yerba Buena Island. The Western Span from San Francisco is primarily a suspension bridge, while the Eastern Span to Oakland is primarily a cantilever bridge. The Eastern Span was damaged during the 1989 earthquake that hit the area and is being replaced by a new suspension bridge due to open in September 2013.

The coin's design is the work of local artist Jacques Schnier and features a California grizzly bear on its obverse and a somewhat "artistically licensed" view of the bridge on its reverse. I've always liked the "creamy" look that nicely preserved Bay Bridge coins display on their obverse, nice examples can have one of the most unique looks in the entire series. The fully detailed (i.e., busy) reverse hides many marks but is certainly attractive on well-struck examples. The Bay Bridge is one of only a few commemoratives struck at the San Francisco Mint; the mintmark is to the left of the bear's right paw.

In addition to my certified coin, I've also included an interesting item I picked up a few years back -- a Bay Bridge commemorative half in a "numbered, artist signed" holder.

The NGC write-up on the Bay Bridge references these signed pieces and states they were signed by Jacques Schnier in 1980. That date is a little surprising considering the 1986 copyright notice on the back of the card, but I have no solid evidence to suggest NGC is wrong.

Schnier was born in 1898, emigrated to the US from Romania in 1903, grew up in San Francisco, got an Architectural degree from Stanford, was an Art professor at Berkeley as well as a prolific, critically-acclaimed sculptor whose commissions ranged from small to monumental. He died in 1988.

The coins in these holders are said to range from choice AU to choice BU. I would rate the piece in this holder an MS-62/63.

The signature holder is an interesting supplement to my core collection.

Enjoy!


1936 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Opening -- Obverse




1936 San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Opening -- Reverse




Artist-Signed Holder -- Obverse/Front




Artist-Signed Holder -- Reverse/Back


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 04/05/2012  8:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow ... outstanding post commems.

You've covered all the points ... great MS66 coin ... history ... story ... and your tremendous related commemorative holder.

I am in awe of your collection and associated lovely materials.



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 04/06/2012  12:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TreeMonkey to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Actually, commems, I think your timing is perfect! This coin is worthy of some extra love. Your example is stunning and I adore the signature holder. Very cool.
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 Posted 04/09/2012  6:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add D0ubl3Eagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Spectacular coin! This is the first time I have seen the coin in that holder.
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 Posted 04/10/2012  2:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wquinn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice and to have an autographed one is really nice too! It never hurts to see too many of the same type of coin, so please keep posting.
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 Posted 05/28/2013  8:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jack jeckel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
When was the autographed holder issued?

At the time of original issue or many years later?
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 Posted 05/28/2013  9:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am sorry I missed this the first time around but second time's a charm in my book!


Quote:
NCG states they were signed by Jacques Schnier in 1980. That date is a little surprising considering the 1986 copyright notice on the back of the card


I am not sure but doesn't the copyright notice post the "expiration date" (not sure if this is the right term)? If so, then the signature in 1980 with the copyright of 1986 make sense to me.

Awesome post as usual.
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 Posted 05/28/2013  11:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@CoinsKelly: My understanding is that the date of a copyright indicates the date of first publication of the material.

So, since the holder bears a (19)86 copyright notice, I've been assuming that 1986 was the year these commemorative pieces were released. The other piece of data supporting this is the text on the holder's card which references the fact that it was being issued to "celebrate this scarce coin's jubilee" - 1986 was the golden jubilee (i.e., 50th anniversary) of the 1936 Bay Bridge half-dollar.

Jacques Schnier was alive in 1986 (he died in 1988) and, from what I've read, was in good enough health at the time to be able to sign the cards.

I am tending toward the "1980" date in the NGC write-up as being a typo as I haven't found any other supporting evidence that Schnier signed the special holders six years before their issue - but I keep looking!




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 Posted 05/28/2013  11:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Commems what should those cost? I only ask because I found one and I really like the Bay Bridge so I'm thinking of picking it up but have no clue what kind of premium the signed holder should get
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 Posted 05/28/2013  11:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'd be comfortable paying up to a ~$100 premium over the value I attached to the coin itself, based on its grade and eye appeal.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/29/2013  12:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add muddler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As usual your coins are impeccable and your script enlightening.
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 Posted 05/29/2013  8:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks commems
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