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Commems Collection: 1936 Columbia, SC Ephemera #2

 
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 Posted 02/26/2013  7:04 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Tonight I thought I'd share a few paper items associated with the 1936 Columbia, SC Sesquicentennial half-dollar.

First up is a letter sent by the Columbia Sesqui-Centennial Commission to those with pending orders for the coin.

The letter apologizes for the delay in filling orders, and discusses how some of the delay has been caused by the Commission's promise to ensure the widest possible distribution of the coins among collectors. By making these statements, it would appear that the Columbia Commission was letting collectors know that they were not following the same collector unfriendly distribution path as some other commemorative coin sponsors. In short, they would not be selling large quantities of the coin to a small group of dealers who could then manipulate the coin's market price to the detriment of individual collectors. The letter also lets it be known that the Commission has exercised its right to limit the quantities sent to any individual purchaser.

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The Commission also placed part of the blame on the US Post Office and its inability to process the mailing of orders as quickly as they apparently could prepare them.

Though the letter is undated, I would theorize that the letter was sent to collectors in November or very early December 1936. I base this on a few things:
  • it is known the coins were not struck by the Mint until September 1936

  • it is known that the Commission began taking delivery of the coins in October, but it did not receive all of the coins (i.e., from each of the mints) until weeks later

  • it is known that the Commission decided to hold off filling orders until all coins had been received from the Mint

  • the letter indicates that the Commission is in possession of the coins and is actively processing orders

  • the Commission shipped most of its orders in December 1936, before the Christmas holiday


As news and updates re: the status of the coins was available to collectors via hobby publications, I believe by November the Commission had likely received a large number of inquiries about orders placed throughout the summer and early fall and would have felt obliged to update those with pending orders. I plan to continue looking for a definitive answer, however, and will update CCF if I come across anything.

I've also included one of the original three-coin cardboard holders for the Columbia along with its mailing envelope; the back of the holder is blank.

You'll note from the back of the envelope that is was dispatched from Columbia, SC on 16 December and arrived in Brooklyn, NY just two days later. Rather good service for 21 cents!


1936 Columbia, SC half-Dollar Order Delay Letter




1936 Columbia, SC Half-Dollar Original Holder




1936 Columbia, SC Half-Dollar Mailing Envelope - Front




1936 Columbia, SC Half-Dollar Mailing Envelope - Back




1936 Columbia, SC Half-Dollar - Obverse




1936 Columbia, SC Half-Dollar - Reverse




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 02/26/2013  7:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another great read from you commems ... and as always your insightful posts help to place into context the history of this great series of classic silver commemorative coinage.

Interesting that the commission called themselves the Sequi-Centennial commission ... not used to seeing that word hyphenated.


Quote:
I plan to continue looking for a definitive answer, however, and will update CCF if I come across anything.


We look forward to any definitive updates you might someday be able to provide.

in the spirit of adding context ... and in fear of perhaps in any small way stealing your honest limelight in this thread ... I add the following ...

The 3-coin set (Philly, Denver and San Francisco mints) was originally offered at $6.45 ... or a patron at the time could have chosen a single coin at $2.15.

Imagine then if you will the set of circumstances that might have forced a paitent collector to spend his Columbia at face value ... the coin having survived to today ... and now in the hands of a modern collector seeking honestly circulated examples of these very difficult to find coins.

Your same coin ...

1936 Columbia PCGS XF40



Truly appreciate all that you share with us commems ... hoping you accept my 'intrusion' into the thread in the spirit of sharing what happened on rare occasion after the coins were finally distributed.

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 02/27/2013  05:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Doug58s to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
More good stuff commems... I am just happy when I find a commemorative I can afford and you find the history and other artifacts along with them! Those are 2 beautiful coins of era - nickels - yours shows someone with common sense pulled that out of circulation pretty quickly and the MS66...wow! I was looking through my RedBook and it struck me as kind of odd - that 1936 seemed to be the year of the commemorative coin didn't it.
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 Posted 02/27/2013  07:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add blackjack to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Love the coin; love the envelope; love the history. Thank you, commems.
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 Posted 02/27/2013  3:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you commems for the post. Thank you nickelsearcher for the circulated version. Thank you jbuck for the links - I had missed the one on the wooden nickels.

This is an interesting read on how customer service happened back then. I look at these items and wonder what people 100 years from now will get in saved memorabilia from this era. Probably not much since most are enthralled with the internet and e-mail is the main way of communication. Do you think collectors in the future will become as jazzed about a printed e-mail as we are about commems posts? Probably not and as silly as it sounds, it makes me want to save the direct mailings from the mint for future posterity.

On another note, has anyone come across some coins that sat in the cardboard holder long enough to start toning? I bet it would be a fascinating pattern and I would love to see that.
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 Posted 02/27/2013  4:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@jbuck: Thank you for taking the time to add the links to my previous posts on the Columbia, SC half-dollar. It was very thoughtful of you. I need to go back and "enhance" my original post on the coin, it came at a time when I was more succinct then I am now!


Quote:
On another note, has anyone come across some coins that sat in the cardboard holder long enough to start toning? I bet it would be a fascinating pattern and I would love to see that.

Examples of "bull's eye" tab toning can be found on all of the classic commemoratives that featured a holder like the one shown. On such coins, the areas under the cardboard stay basically brilliant and the open areas tone. It can make for a very striking look! Here's an example from a Heritage Auction back in May, 2003:





Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 02/27/2013  4:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To quote a mod: !
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 Posted 02/27/2013  5:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Thank you for taking the time to add the links to my previous posts on the Columbia, SC half-dollar. It was very thoughtful of you.
You are very welcome.

Quote:
To quote a mod: !



Quote:
Examples of "bull's eye" tab toning can be found on all of the classic commemoratives that featured a holder like the one shown... Here's an example...
That is very nice. The toning follows the rim lettering quite well. I suspect it might do the same with similar commemorative issues.
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 Posted 02/28/2013  8:41 pm  Show Profile   Check wheatiefan's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add wheatiefan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi commems,

I read all of your posts and add my voice to the chorus that you could write an excellent book!

I am from SC so this coin has been on my wantlist for a while. Although I must say the palmetto tree does not look quite right.

These lines got me thinking:


Quote:
it would appear that the Columbia Commission was letting collectors know that they were not following the same collector unfriendly distribution path as some other commemorative coin sponsors. In short, they would not be selling large quantities of the coin to a small group of dealers who could then manipulate the coin's market price to the detriment of individual collectors.


Was this a common concern of coin committees at the time, or was Columbia somewhat unique in this respect?

Did other committees express regret or frustration at the actions of coin dealers hoarding and distributing their coins?
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 Posted 02/28/2013  9:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@wheatiefan: Thank you for the positive feedback, I'm glad you are enjoying my posts.

My comment about the Columbia Commission was meant as a positive for them. They were doing their best to distribute the coins to individual collectors at the original selling price.

Several of the sponsoring committees of the era decided to take a different path (one that was easier on themselves) and sold large quantities of their coins to a small number of dealers (sometimes, just one!) who then were able to manipulate the market price for the coins by creating an artificial scarcity. The Boone Bicentennial half-dollar is one example. This led to some dealers reaping significant, undeserved (IMO) profits which helped lead to the late 1930s backlash against US commemorative coins and their eventual cessation in 1954. I'm sure at least a few members of the committees who followed this path had some regrets when they realized what their actions meant to collectors.

Financial "games" are just one part of the fascinating history behind the US classic commemorative series!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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