Today's installment features the 1936 half-dollar marking the centennial of the Wisconsin Territory, shown here via an example in PCGS
The classic US commemorative series includes multiple coins that mark statehood anniversaries (e.g., Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, etc.) and early settlements/foundings (e.g., Delaware, Long Island, Maryland, Pilgrim, etc.), but it features only one coin to mark an anniversary of a pre-statehood Territory -- the 1936 Wisconsin.
At the time of its creation in July 1836, the Wisconsin Territory occupied a much larger area than present-day Wisconsin, it also included what is now Minnesota and Iowa, as well as portions of North and South Dakota.Read More: Commems Collection
The coin features elements of the first Great Seal of the Wisconsin Territory on its obverse, namely, an arm holding a pickaxe with a pile of lead ore in the background; a new Seal was adopted in 1839. The original Seal was designed by the First Secretary of the Territory, the Honorable John S. Horner. The reverse of the coin features a badger on a log with arrows (left) and an olive branch (right) behind it; the badger has been the official state animal since 1957, but important to Wisconsin residents since its beginnings. The arrows symbolize the pre-territory clashes settlers had with the indigenous Blackhawk Native Americans, while the olive branch is meant to represent the eventual peace between them.
The basic design for the coin was suggested by the Wisconsin Centennial Commission. Models for the coin were first prepared by David Parsons, a local university art student, but were redone by Benjamin Hawkins after Parsons' models were rejected by the Commission of Fine Arts.
A total of 25,000 coins were struck -- all at Philadelphia -- with none returned to the Mint for melting. The coins were sold for $1.50 each. The coin presented is brilliant, flashy and has nice original surfaces. As with a number of my coins, higher grade coins can be purchased for just a little more but I like the "look" of this one and will likely keep it long-term as part of my set.
In addition to the half-dollar, the Wisconsin Centennial, Inc. had struck 1,500 bronze medals for the centennial; they sold for $1.00. A choice example is shown below in its original holder.
Enjoy!1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial -- Obverse1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial -- Reverse1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Medal -- Obverse1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Medal -- Reverse