In my previous posts about the 1936 Cleveland Great Lakes Exposition half-dollar, I described the one- and two-coin black leatherette holders in which the coins were sold. The first 201 coins struck received "white glove" handling and were housed in notarized holders that indicated their strike sequence number. Coins struck after this initial batch were handled and processed in the normal manner; some of them were placed in the same style of black leatherette holder, but without the notarization. (Original posts here http://goccf.com/t/116328
and here http://goccf.com/t/128834
While these holders are far from common, diligent searching will likely turn up an example or two at a larger coin show or auction.
Scarcer than the leatherette holders are the small white numbered envelopes that were used to house coins sold on-site at the Great Lakes Exposition. The dimensions of the envelopes are just under 3-5/8" wide by 2-1/8" tall. The envelope features a "Great Lakes Exposition / Cleveland Centennial / Commemorative Half Dollar" imprint in black along with a number imprinted in blue on its front; the back of the envelope is blank.Read More: Commems Collection
In the 1981 Breen/Swiatek Encyclopedia of Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins
, it was noted that the surviving examples of the envelopes were rather scarce and that the authors knew of just three specimens. Since then, additional examples of the envelopes have surfaced and later references (including those from Anthony Swiatek) do not mention such a low population.
In addition to the "933" envelope shown below, I've seen envelopes featuring the numbers 75, 161, 641, 738 and 927; a few years ago, I saw several available on eBay but did not record their numbers. I'd hazard a guess and estimate that there are likely somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 of the envelopes in the hands of collectors.
Though the numbers on the envelopes are sometimes described as such, they do not represent the sequential strike number of the coin off the Mint presses. The numbers are merely an inventory or stock number for use during sale of the coins. As I noted above, only the first 201 coins struck were recorded and handled with special care.
I've looked for a nice example of the Cleveland / Great Lakes Exposition envelope for a number of years and was happy recently to add one to my collection. I've also included images of the coin that I purchased with the envelope. I can't say with any certainty that the coin is original to the envelope. In fact, I tend to believe the opposite. There's just no way of knowing for sure with any of these coin/envelope pairs as it is a very simple matter to make a switch.
To add some additional "color" to this post, I've also included a couple of images from the Expo's "Official Souvenir Guide."
Enjoy!1936 Cleveland Centennial/Great Lakes Exposition Imprinted Envelope - Front1936 Cleveland Centennial/Great Lakes Exposition Half-Dollar - Obverse1936 Cleveland Centennial/Great Lakes Exposition Half-Dollar - ReverseGreat Lakes Exposition Official Souvenir Guide - Front Cover
The cover illustrates the impressive main entrance to the Exposition.Great Lakes Exposition Official Souvenir Guide - Welcome Page