The Arkansas Centennial coin program was one of the classic series' multi-year programs. The first coins were issued in 1935 (the year before Arkansas' statehood centennial) and continued on with issues in 1936-37-38-39. Coins were struck at all three US Mints operating at the time (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco) for each year of the program. Type Set collectors of the commemoratives series have many coins to choose from, those going after complete Date and Mintmark Sets have many coins to purchase!
As can be expected with a long-lived program, the selling price of the coins increased over time as did the group/organization responsible for selling and distributing the coins. The Arkansas Centennial Commission led the sales efforts in 1935 and 1936. Read More: Commems Collection
The Commission sold the 1935 coins at $1.00 per coin. B. Max Mehl purchased most of the branch mint coins and raised their selling price several times - he got away with it because the commemorative craze was in full swing! By early 1936, he was selling the Philadelphia coins for $2.25 and the branch mint pieces for $2.95 each. Here's a link to a post I did about Mehl's promotion of the 1935-dated Arkansas coins: http://goccf.com/t/139161
The 1936 coins were initially sold by the Commission for $1.00 each but prices were soon raised to $1.50 per coin and $4.50 per PDS set; the Commission ultimately raised the 1936 set price to $6.75. Stack's, a New York City based coin dealer, took over distribution for the 1937 issues; they sold PDS sets for $8.75.
The Commission was again in charge of distribution for the 1938 and 1939 releases. Initial pricing for the 1938 PDS sets was $8.75, but in the spring of 1938 the Commission decided to increase the price for all sets, regardless of year, to $10.00. The postcard shown below announces the price increase and notes a July 1st deadline to place orders at the previous (lower) price level.
The Commission sold the 1939 sets at the $10.00 price point and was able to sell out the small run of 2,100 sets. By the end of the year, the Commission lowered its prices on its remaining inventory of earlier-dated sets but eventually sent unsold inventory to the Mint for melting.
An interesting note about the postcard shown below is the fact that it is addressed to "H. Chapman" in Philadelphia, PA. Henry Chapman was a long-time coin dealer and auctioneer. He began his career in the coin business alongside his brother Samuel Hudson Chapman. As teenagers, they worked for noted coin dealer John Haseltine in the mid-1870s, and opened their own business in 1878. The brothers remained in business together, conducting more than 80 auctions, until 1906. At that time, disagreements between them caused each to pursue a separate numismatic career - both were successful.
You'll note that the card is postmarked on June 6, 1938. Henry died in January 1935 but his coin business was continued, under his name, by his wife Helen until 1948. I've included an image of a November 1937 advertisement of "Henry Chapman" featuring US commemorative coins. Note that the 1937 PDS set was being offered at $14.00 - significantly higher than the $8.75 price offered by Stack's in 1937 or the $10.00 level that the Commission was to charge after its July 1, 1938 price increases! I'd like say "Thanks!" to nickelsearcher for alerting me to the auctioning of the postcard shown. Such friendly support of fellow collectors is one of the great benefits of being a member of and participating in CCF.
Enjoy!1935 Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half-Dollar - Obverse1935 Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half-Dollar - Reverse"Price Increase" Postcard - Front"Price Increase" Postcard - Back"Henry Chapman" Commemorative Advertisement (Numismatist, November 1937)