I recently posted about the 1936 Long Island Tercentenary commemorative half dollar and the vague language in the original House bill that proposed the coin; it was subsequently amended via substitution by the Senate to help limit the potential for collector abuse. (Read the post here: 1936 Long Island Tercentenary - House vs. Senate
A similar scenario played out for the Gettysburg half dollar.
The Gettysburg coin proposal was introduced in the House on February 28, 1936 - just a week after the Long Island bill. While the bill did set a maximum mintage of 50,000 for the coin, it did not limit the striking of the coin to a single mint, it did not limit the time frame for striking the coins (i.e., it allowed for striking in multiple years) and it did not place a restriction on the minimum number of coins that its sponsor (the State of Pennsylvania Governor's Office) could order at one time. The language of the bill also opened the door for multiple designs to be requested.
I've written before that the sponsor envisioned the coins being struck at all three active US Mint facilities of the time (Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco). You can check out the story here Gettysburg Ephemera II
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures which recommended passage of the bill but with one change - the deletion of the section that specified that the coins could not be delivered to the sponsor without full payment being received. Considering such language had become standard in commemorative coin bills so as to protect the US Government from a negative financial impact, it was an odd thing to recommend being removed.
After only minor discussion, the House passed the bill as recommended by the Committee and sent it on to the Senate where it was referred to its Committee on Banking and Currency. As with the House version of the Long Island bill, the Senate Committee offered a substitute bill that tightened up the language and mandated the coins be struck at a single mint and of a single design, that they be dated with the year in which the legislation was enacted (this explains why coins marking a 1938 anniversary are dated "1936"), that the coins could only be struck for one year and that the minimum order would be set at 25,000. The Senate version also reinstated the sponsor's pre-payment requirement.
The amended bill was passed by the Senate on June 1, 1936 and concurred with by the House on June 3,1936; President Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 16, 1936.
Once again, the Senate was the voice of reason
regarding the US commemorative coin program. Without its intervention, the too-many-issues abuse many collectors felt in the mid-1930s would likely have been made even worse! (The popularity of the Gettysburg design leads me to believe, however, that many collectors would not mind at all if a three-piece P-D-S set had been struck for the coin.)Read More: Commems Collection