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Commems Collection: 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Revisited

 
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 Posted 09/20/2013  6:41 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I previously discussed some of the history, controversy and design elements regarding the 1924 Huguenot-Walloon commemorative half-dollar here: http://goccf.com/t/118339. Tonight, I am following up on that discussion with a few interesting tidbits about the proposed coin as it was discussed in Congress.

Read More: Commems Collection

Tidbit #1

The original bill, submitted by Representative Fred Benjamin Gernerd (R-PA), for the Huguenot-Walloon coin did not include a designated sponsor that would be authorized to request the coins from the US Mint, be responsible for paying for them or for taking delivery of the them. As written, the bill would have enabled anyone to request the coins from the Mint as long as they had the funds to pay for them.

The lack of a specified sponsor was not an oversight, however, as Rep. Gernerd patterned his bill after the one that was authorized for the 1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary half-dollar " it too lacked the name of an authorized sponsor.

This issue was discussed by the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures during the Hearing it held on the proposed bill. Ultimately, the bill was amended and included the Fifth National Bank of New York as the authorized agent. This in itself was a bit unusual, as the Bank was not the sponsor of the memorial coin; it was simply the bank of record for the unincorporated Huguenot-Walloon New Netherland Commission, the group set up by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the coin's true sponsor, to plan and oversee the Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary. In any case, the Fifth National Bank agreed to serve as the Commission's agent for the purchase and receipt of the coins and found itself as part of the approved legislation.


Tidbit #2

At the time the coin was proposed in Congress, the designs under consideration for the coin were different from what ultimately appeared on the coin (at least on the reverse). When questioned during the Committee Hearing about the designs intended for the coin, Rev. John Baer Stoudt, Director of the New Netherland Commission, suggested that the coin "would have the arrival of the New Netherland on one side and the purchase of Manhattan by Governor Minuit on the other." The New Netherland was the ship that brought the original Walloons to America, and Peter Minuit was the third governor of the New Netherland colony.

As collectors of the series are aware, the issued coin did feature the New Netherland on the reverse, but it had the conjoined portraits of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny of France and William the Silent of the Netherlands on its obverse. (See my previous post [link above] for a brief discussion of these two figures.) The published reports of the Huguenot-Walloon New Netherland Commission do not include a discussion of why the originally considered scene of Governor Minuit purchasing Manhattan Island from the local Native Americans was replaced by the portraits of Coligny and William the Silent. It is possible, however, that the Minuit/Manhattan design came under a fire as being too "New York City focused" with its history considering the fact that the Walloon's first settlement was actually further up the Hudson River at present-day Albany, NY.


Tidbit #3

The US commemorative coin program was still in its relative infancy in 1924. Though the number of proposed issues was most definitely increasing, they had not yet become the "serious threat" to the integrity of the nation's coinage that they would soon become " at least in the opinion of the Treasury Department. So, the Huguenot-Walloon coin received no objection from the Treasury. In fact, in his letter to the House Committee, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon indicated that he would "take pleasure in instructing the Director of the Mint to cooperate with the Committee in charge of the proposed coinage."

Over the next five years, the Treasury would gradually change its opinion on commemorative coins and would begin to voice its opposition to the striking of such coins. Its resistance eventually led to the first veto of a US commemorative coin bill in 1929, as President Herbert Hoover sided with the Treasury and blocked the approval of the Gadsden Purchase coin.


Following is the example of the 1924 Huguenot-Walloon half-dollar in my collection.


1924 Huguenot-Walloon Half-Dollar " Obverse




1924 Huguenot-Walloon Half-Dollar - Reverse




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 09/20/2013  8:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Doug58s to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks commems for another interesting post! It is timely as well considering Coin Update just ran an article on James Earle Fraser and his help in designing this coin as well. It is on my list of coins to purchase and is actually not a bad price all things considered in the classic commemorative coins genre...
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 Posted 09/20/2013  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@Doug58s: Thanks for the heads up re: the Coin Update article " it was a very interesting read! I enjoyed it.

The author was very kind in his description of the "collaboration" between George Morgan and James Earle Fraser. I would have to say that it was more of a battle than a positive working relationship.

Fraser, the sculptor member of the Fine Arts Commission at the time, offered a very poor review of Morgan's original models for the coin. He didn't like the execution of the obverse portraits, the depiction of the New Netherland on the reverse or the lettering used for the inscriptions. I'm guessing that he was OK with the blank fields of the coin, but I can't confirm.

Based on Fraser's critique, the original models were not approved and Morgan was essentially forced to modify them under Fraser's direction. In the end, Morgan was able to produce a pair of revised models that were accepted by Fraser, the CFA and the Huguenot-Walloon New Netherland Commission.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 09/20/2013  10:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add amida17 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
And sadly the only memory, in most minds, of the Walloon history in Albany are Orange Ford (car dealership) and Orange St. Boys (a gang) in the Arbor Hill hood.
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 Posted 09/21/2013  4:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Indeed ... thanks commems for another of your exceptionally insightful posts.

Not sure how to find the Coin Update article ... will try a Google search and see what comes up.

David
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 Posted 09/23/2013  12:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank your for your continued contributions to the community. I do enjoy reading your posts.
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 Posted 09/23/2013  10:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for the kind feedback!

For those interested, here's the link to the article Doug58s mentioned: http://news.coinupdate.com/the-life...fraser-2161/


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
09/23/2013 10:22 pm
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 Posted 09/24/2013  09:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Doug58s to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While we are still on the suject sort of... I'd be happy to see the End of the Trail used on a NA dollar in the future. Might never happen, but that statue certainly is a work of art.

@commems... so the blank fields were acceptable... too funny!
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 Posted 09/26/2013  08:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Not Mint to Be to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the "Tidbits". It's always interesting to find facts behind the scene.
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