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Commems Collection: 1936 City Of Elgin Centennial

 
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 Posted 04/21/2012  10:42 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Today's classic US commemorative installment presents the 1936 half-dollar to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Elgin, Illinois; the coin was also meant to be a fundraiser to support the casting in bronze of the city's Pioneer Memorial statue. The coin is represented by an example in PCGS MS-65.

The Elgin is yet another example of a US commemorative coin that plays fast and loose with dates. Though authorized, minted and distributed in 1936, it was actually in 1935 that Elgin celebrated the centennial of its founding. Also, the ‘1673' date on the coin has no relation to Elgin, it marks the year in which Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet traveled the Mississippi River and passed through what is now the State of Illinois.

Read More: Commems Collection

The coin is the work of noted sculptor/artist (and long-time Elgin resident) Trygve Rovelstad. The obverse features the portrait of a fur cap wearing pioneer circa 1835. The reverse of the coin is based on Rovelstad's planned Pioneer Memorial statue that was to be erected in Elgin. The statue/coin includes four standing figures, a scout holding a rifle on the left, a pioneer father and mother (holding a baby) at the center and a young pioneer boy on the right; the father is said to be modeled after James Gifford, the founder of Elgin.

Rovelstad began work on the statue in the 1930s, creating plaster models and refining its design. Original funding for the project came in 1935 from the Works Project Administration (WPA), but funds ran out after about a year. Next, it was hoped that funds raised through sales of the Elgin half-dollar would be able to push the project through to completion. Unfortunately, coin sales were not enough to fund the statue's bronze casting -- coin sales were actually a bit disappointing as approximately 5,000 of the 25,000 struck were returned to the Mint for melting. Though Rovelstad would continue to work on the statue in the following years, it essentially sat in his studio for decades waiting to go from plaster model to cast bronze statue. Enough funds were eventually raised to cast the statue and it was finally dedicated in Elgin in 2001 -- 65 years after release of the coin! Unfortunately, Rovelstad did not live long enough to see his 12-foot tall masterpiece unveiled in bronze, he died in 1990.

The coin shown is a pleasing, satiny white example with nice cartwheel luster on each side. The Elgin is a coin that is available in quantity in high mint state grades (through MS-66), so don't settle for a coin that isn't pleasing to your eye.

500 examples of the Elgin were placed in custom holders and then signed and numbered by the artist (essentially the same as with the Bay Bridge coin that I previously posted). The holder presented below includes a nice mint state example of the half-dollar and a bit of mis-information regarding the statue being erected.

Enjoy!


1936 Elgin Centennial -- Obverse




1936 Elgin Centennial -- Reverse




1936 Elgin Centennial -- Artist-Signed Holder, Front




1936 Elgin Centennial -- Artist-Signed Holder, Back




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 04/21/2012  11:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add The Silver Searcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is cool! Kind of like the mercanti sigbed ASE 25th sets.
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 Posted 04/21/2012  11:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add The Silver Searcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry meant signed.
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 Posted 04/21/2012  11:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another great coin commens. Love the design on the reverse of this one
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 Posted 04/22/2012  1:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Elgin half dollar ... in my view ... is aesthetically pleasing and technically superior design. Not surprising given that Trygve Rovelstad was a fabulous sculptor.

Quoting below from Wikipedia ...

"Rovelstad designed medals for the United States War Department, including the Combat Infantryman Badge, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Occupation of Germany Medal (General John J. Pershing Medal), Unit Blue Citation Badge, Women's Army Corps (WACs) Medal and Insignia Lapel Pins, and the E-Medal."

His life work, of course, was the Pioneer Memorial statue in his home town ... which as correctly stated above was not erected until after his death.

An interesting historical connection is that the Elgin half dollar was distributed by El Paso, TX coin dealer L.W. Hoffecker ... he of the infamous money-grab Old Spanish Trail half. In the case of this coin, however, it appears that Hoffecker contributed well to this civic project.

The vast majority of the Elgin half were sold directly to collectors ... and the issue was handled well at the Philadelphia mint ... hence the majority of surviving examples are in MS and ... as commems states ... finding a clean and lustrous gem example should not be a problem.

The corollary to that is circulated examples are very tough to find. I have never seen even an AU Elgin ... one of the holes in my circulated set.

Commems example is a lovely and typical flashy gem Elgin. I very much as well enjoy the special signed holder.

Good stuff commems ... keep them coming.

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 04/22/2012  11:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add D0ubl3Eagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice coin!
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 Posted 04/26/2012  12:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wquinn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting looking obverse and a nice coin!
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 Posted 05/27/2013  5:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add LowBall Commem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry for bringing up an old thread, but I have never seen an Elgin in a artist signed holder like this. Are they scarce in these holders? I would love to find one as a companion to the Bay Bridge I have.
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 Posted 05/28/2013  12:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...I have never seen an Elgin in an artist signed holder like this. Are they scarce in these holders?

Yes, I've found that they are relatively scarce and don't appear on the market very often. Only 500 of the Elgin half-dollars were released in these custom signed and numbered holders vs. the 1,000 such holders containing a Bay Bridge half-dollar. Over the past few years, I have definitely seen more Bay Bridge holders than the Elgin holders.

In case you're interested, here's a link to my autographed Bay Bridge holder: https://www.coincommunity.com/forum...IC_ID=115776


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/29/2013  10:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add LowBall Commem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you, Commems!

You have got an amazing collection. What would you venture the premium would be for an Elgin in the signed holder?

Thanks again.
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 Posted 05/30/2013  5:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'd answer the same way as I did recently for the Bay Bridge holder - "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."

I will say, however, that prices for these types of items can vary quite a bit from seller to seller. For example, coins in these holders in large auctions will often sell for more than they would from a coin dealer at a local show (as long as they don't specialize in commemoratives!).

My general advice for these types of items is that the bargain is sometimes in the opportunity. In other words, it's probably best not to "bargain hunt" when searching for these scarcer pieces as sometimes the wait for one a few dollars cheaper can be very long! I'm not saying there aren't bargains out there, but...



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/30/2013  5:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Some more info on the Elgin Centennial Half Dollar.
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 Posted 05/31/2013  07:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CENTertainment to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Commema- are there any others commemorating the Fox Valley area?
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 Posted 05/31/2013  09:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Are there any others commemorating the Fox Valley area?


As far as official US commemorative coins go, the Elgin is the only one to celebrate a Fox Valley city. There is a another coin that commemorates the State of Illinois, however. It was issued in 1918 to mark the state's centennial. Here's an example:






If you expand your interests to tokens and medals, you will find a number of pieces issued by Fox Valley cities. I've seen such pieces from Elgin, Batavia, St. Charles and Aurora to name a few.

Good luck with your search!



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 06/01/2013  12:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CENTertainment to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the info, Commens. Interesting stuff!
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