In March 1922, the Grant Memorial Centenary Association ("Association") began running full-page advertisements for its commemorative gold $1.00 and silver half dollar in the The Numismatist,
the official magazine of the American Numismatic Association ( ANA
). Note: "Association" and "Committee" are used interchangeably in the advertisements shown here to denote the coin's sponsor, I have decided to be consistent with my references and always refer to the sponsor as the "Association."
Association ad in The Numismatist, March 1922.
The ads promoted the Association's gold and silver commemorative coins along with its bronze medals. The ad referenced the two varieties of the gold dollar, "NO STAR" and "WITH STAR," but made no mention of such varieties for the silver half dollar. The same ad ran in the April and May issues of The Numismatist
In June 1922, the Association switched to a half-page ad which focused on its half dollar coins and proclaimed "Only a Small Number Remaining." The ad included a new ordering restriction: 10 silver half dollars needed to be ordered (at $1.00 each) in order to purchase a single example of the "with Star" variety of the gold dollar for $3.50.
Association ad in The Numismatist, June 1922.
A small editorial mention of the half dollar's two varieties appeared in the July 1922 issue of The Numismatist
. It noted that 5,000 of the "with Star" variety half dollar were unexpectedly delivered to the Association and that a premium was being charged for them. The "with Star" coins were available at $1.50 each while the "without Star" half dollars were $1.00. The Association did not place any coin ads in July, August or September.
In October, a new "Final Sale" ad was run. It noted that sales of the coin would close on January 1, 1923. For the first time, the Association's ad referenced the "with Star" and "without Star" varieties of the silver half dollar. It's clear that the Association had a fairly large quantity of the "without Star" coins in inventory as they offered the half dollars for a discounted price of $0.75 each as long as they were purchased in lots of 10 or more. Gold and silver coins of the "with Star" variety were still available, but stock appears to have been limited. The ad made no mention of the bronze medals or the Gold dollar "without Star." The ad also appeared in the November issue of The Numismatist
but not in the December magazine.
Association ad in The Numismatist, October 1922.
The February 1923 issue of The Numismatist
magazine included a brief news piece about the closing of sales for the 1922 Grant Memorial commemorative coins by the coin's sponsor and the return of its unsold coins to the US Mint in Philadelphia. The article noted that Judge Hugh L. Nichols, chairman of the Association, had received word from the US Mint that it would accept the Association's return of unsold Grant coins prior to his shipping of them.
The news item indicated that all of the gold $1 coins, "with Star" and "without Star" varieties, had been "disposed of" but that 750 of the "with Star" half dollars and 27,785 of the "without Star" silver coins had been returned to the Mint to be melted as bullion. For context, a total of 5,006 Grant "with Star" half dollars were struck; a total of 95,055 "without Star" Grant half dollars were struck (both totals include coins struck and retained for assay purposes). The returns left net mintage figures of 4,256 (including six assay coins) and 67,270 (including 55 assay coins) for the "with Star" and "without Star" varieties, respectively. Note: The returned/melted and net figures for the "without Star" half dollar differ within available references: the figures presented here are as reported by the Grant Association via
The Numismatist; the US Mint has reported that 28,400 coins were returned/melted leaving a net of 66,600; Q. David Bowers and the " Red Book" use a melt figure of 27,650 and a net figure of 67,405 (including the 55 assay coins). Which is correct? It's hard to say, but I tend to go with the primary source - the US Mint. In any case, the figures are all close and do not impact the "without Star" half dollar's 'common coin' status.
In December of 1923, an ad appeared in The Numismatist
announcing that the Grant coins were still available from three coin dealers: Guttag Bros. and Rudolph Kohler of New York City plus B. Max Mehl of Fort Worth, TX. Though the Association was not mentioned by name, the language of the ad seems to strongly suggest that it was placed by someone connected to the former organization vs. the three dealers acting on their own (see ad below). I'm of the opinion that it is likely that the three dealers referenced had purchased bulk quantities of the coins from the Association, still had remaining inventory and thus worked out an agreement with the connected party to place an ad to help their sales.
Coin Dealer ad in The Numismatist, December 1923.
Two years later, in December 1925, another ad appeared in The Numismatist
under the name "Chris Rembold." The ad indicated that Mr. Rembold had available all four versions of the Grant coins, and was offering them at the original 1922 prices. The ad gives the reader the impression that the available coins were among those originally made available by the Grant Memorial Association, as reference is made to how Rembold has been addressing coin inquires on behalf of the Association's former chairman, Judge Hugh L. Nichols. Considering the Association's earlier ads, it is interesting to find that inventory was still available. Returns to Rembold from the dealers mentioned above?
Chris Rembold ad in The Numismatist, December 1925.
Rembold was not a coin dealer, he was a senior-level manager at the Cincinnati Times-Star Company, publisher of the Cincinnati Times-Star
newspaper. Over a career spanning more than five decades at the company, Rembold had served as its Secretary, Manager, General Manager and, at the time of his death, its Secretary-Treasurer. Rembold was also an active numismatist, being a member of the Cincinnati Numismatic Association (CNA) and serving on the CNA's local committee for the 1942 ANA
Convention held in Cincinnati. Rembold died on December 19, 1943 at the age of 88.
So, it appears that Grant Memorial gold and silver coins were available, unofficially, from the Association (or at least its representative) for at least three years after it publicly ceased operations in January 1923.
I wonder if either or both of my Grant half dollars was among the leftover grouping?
Check out my other 1922 Grant posts here: Read More: Commems Collection