I recently posted about the possibility of a 1937 version of the Cincinnati Music Center half dollar - you can read it here: What If? 1937 Cincinnati Half Dollar
- but I wanted to quickly revisit the original 1936 coin.
The original legislation for the Cincinnati half dollar was signed into law on March 13, 1936 (Public Law 74-485). Just a month later, on April 13, 1936, an attempt was made to increase the mintage of the coin by 50,000 - taking it from the originally approved 15,000 up to 65,000! The coin hadn't been struck yet or placed on sale, but the Cincinnati Musical Center Commemorative Association was already looking to add more coins to its available pool!Read More: Commems Collection
The bill was introduced by Senator Robert Johns Bulkley (D-OH); Mr. Bulkley was also responsible for the original Cincinnati coin bill that became law. The bill amended the original legislation with a provision for up to 50,000 additional coins bearing a "1937" date, thus turning the one-year coin into a two-year program (at a minimum!) and potentially make "complete set" coin collectors feel compelled to purchase coins from both years. Unlike the original bill which allowed its coins to be struck at multiple Mint facilities, the new bill specified that the coins were to be struck "at a
mint of the United States to be designated by the Director of the Mint." So, at least the new coins would only be struck at one mint, likely the Philadelphia Mint. Upon its introduction, it was immediately referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.
When it emerged from the Committee, the bill was changed considerably - its text was essentially deleted and replaced. The amended bill removed the provision for an additional 50,000 1937-dated coins and simply increased the original authorization from 15,000 to 65,000 coins and, in doing so, ensured that all coins struck would be dated "1936" and keep the program a one-year program. The replacement language did, however, keep the restriction of having the coins struck at a single mint vs. multiple US Mint facilities.
The amended bill was passed by the Senate, but died for lack of action after being referred to the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. And with that, the 1936 Cincinnati half dollar was limited to a total mintage of 15,000 with the Association requesting 5,000 coins each from the Mint's Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco facilities. Of course, as my "What If? A 1937 Cincinnati" post highlights, this setback would not permanently deter Thomas Melish, the coin's promoter. Thankfully, Congress had grown weary of new commemorative coin bills by 1937, and the road to approval had become a much more difficult one to traverse. IMO, one Cincinnati is enough! So, it all worked out.
Here's my 1936 Cincinnati half dollar. It's a bit washed out due to it being scanned vs. imaged with a camera, but, in hand, it is a fully lustrous example with solid surfaces.