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Commems Collection: 1951 Carver Vs. Carver-Washington

 
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 Posted 03/26/2015  7:09 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The George Washington Carver - Booker T. Washington half dollars of 1951 through 1954 came about during the 82nd Congress via an amendment to the legislation that authorized the BTW half dollars of 1946 through 1951. I discussed the WC-BTW coins here: http://goccf.com/t/118247

Little known, however, is the fact that two attempts were made prior to the 82nd Congress to secure a commemorative half dollar honoring Carver alone.

In 1947, during the 80th Congress, Frances Payne Bolton (R-OH) introduced a bill "to commemorate the life and accomplishments of Doctor George Washington Carver, a Great American." The bill called for up to 5 million silver half dollars to be struck for the benefit of the George Washington Carver Foundation of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The Carver Foundation was created to support agricultural research at Tuskegee. Carver launched the Foundation and provided early funding for it - he gave his life savings (~$60,000) to support the Foundation shortly before he died in 1943.

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The bill did not gain much traction, however. It was referred to the House Committee on Banking and Currency and never reported out. Bolton introduced an identical bill in 1950 during the 81st Congress, but it met with the same fate as its predecessor.

The idea of honoring Carver with a coin resurfaced in March 1951, during the 82nd Congress, when companion bills were introduced by Brent Spence (D-KY) in the House and Burnet Maybank (D-SC) in the Senate. The bills proposed to amend the BTW Act of 1946 to allow the striking of a new design that simultaneously honored Washington and Carver.

The bills also added a second beneficiary - the Carver National Monument Foundation in Missouri; the sole beneficiary specified in the original BTW Act was the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial in Virginia. The George Washington Carver National Monument at Carver's Missouri birthplace was created by Congress in 1943. Profits from the sale of the coins did not necessarily go to supporting the two birthplace memorials, however. The bill specified the funds were to be used by each organization to "oppose the spread of communism among Negroes" in a manner they each deemed appropriate.

The joint Booker T. Washington - George Washington Carver bill gained quick support; the House bill moved forward and was approved in September 1951.

It is interesting to note that the Carver Foundation at the Tuskegee Institute, the sponsor of the two earlier coin proposals, was not part of the new coin bill.

So, though the legacy of George Washington Carver was not individually celebrated on a US coin, he did get his due alongside Booker T. Washington, another prominent African-American who achieved greatness in his lifetime.

I've included my 1951-S example for show-and-tell. The coin is a brilliant example with the typical luster I seek for my coins. It is a coin that I could upgrade relatively inexpensively, but my thoughts regarding its design aesthetics positions its upgrade rather low on my priority list.






Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 03/26/2015  9:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadToTheBone to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Commems that is a beautiful coin. I myself am trying to get the complete B.T. Washington - Carver set myself. I have completed the B.T. Washington set in MS65-66. My one 1953 S MS64 is my only Washington-Carver. I was just wondering why the run for Carver was not similar to Washington's in length? Would it be his lobby was not as influential?...........curious. Thank you for the information on these coins.
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 Posted 03/27/2015  10:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add LeeG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great stuff commems.

Thanks for sharing some history and nice coin too.

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 Posted 03/28/2015  12:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for sharing. I have actually wondered about this before, how and why we were lucky to have two different BTW coins.
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 Posted 03/28/2015  09:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add stampvirgin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have the 1946 Washington coins, P,D &S. Posted them here last year sometime..
I haven't had them graded, but consensus was 64,64,65. Not in any particular order
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 Posted 03/28/2015  10:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hondo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice write up commems... As usual.
I never realized that the GWC was actually done as an "addendum" to the original BTW bill.

Thanks for the info and nice coin!
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 Posted 03/28/2015  3:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well done commems - I've once again gained an 'extra layer of knowledge' from your research and insightful reporting.

I never realized that the proceeds from the GWC coins were to be used to "oppose the spread of communism among Negroes" - not an unexpected congressional requirement given the sentiment of the countries leadership in 1951.

Thanks for the story .... and photo of your brilliant example.

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 03/29/2015  5:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for the positive feedback. Always appreciated!


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