Here are a few things about the Illinois Statehood Centennial half dollar that you might not be aware of:
1. The coin was the first to be authorized by Congress and approved by the President without including the name of its sponsor in its legislation. The unnamed sponsor was the State of Illinois Centennial Commission. (See below for a link to a post that discusses other coins with unnamed sponsors.)
2. The Illinois half dollar was the first US commemorative coin to sell out its entire authorized and delivered mintage (100,000) and thus not return any coins to the Mint to be melted; the Illinois coins were sold to the public for $1.00 each. A large group (believed to be ~30,000) was purchased by a Springfield, IL bank and held until March 1933 when they were discovered in the bank's vault during the Bank Holiday declared by newly-inaugurated US President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt; most were sold to coin dealers at a small premium over face value, but it is believed that some (exact number unknown) were released into circulation.
3. An average of 25,348 coins were struck per die among the four obverse dies used; the average for the three reverse dies was 33,797. Doing a bit of math, it appears that 101,392 Illinois half dollars were struck. Subtract from that the 58 coins reserved for assay, and you arrive at 1,344 "extra" coins being struck. Many of these were likely defective and immediately melted; it is unlikely any were released or sent to the Illinois Centennial Commission.
4. The 1918 Illinois is the first US commemorative coin to include all three of the mottoes LIBERTY, E PLURIBUS UNUM and IN GOD WE TRUST within its design; previous issues either:
a. lacked them entirely: Isabella Quarter
, Columbian Half Dollar, Lafayette Dollar, Lewis and Clark Exposition Gold Dollar, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Gold Dollar, Panama-Pacific International Exposition Gold Dollar, McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar
b. included one : Panama-Pacific International Exposition Half Dollar (IN GOD WE TRUST) and Gold Quarter Eagle (E PLURIBUS UNUM), or
c. included two: Panama-Pacific International Exposition Gold $50 (IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM)
The three mottoes were not
immediately included on all coins that followed the Illinois half dollar. In fact, the use of all three was fairly uncommon within the commemorative series until the mid-1930s from which point it became more the rule vs. the exception.
5. The coin was the first of the series to commemorate a statehood anniversary. Though it would become more of a regular occurrence, in 1918 it was something new. US commemorative coins issued prior to the Illinois were generally issued in conjunction with a World's Fair / Exposition vs. Statehood Anniversary. (See below for a link to a post that discusses other US Statehood commemorative coins.)1918 Illinois Statehood Centennial Half Dollar
For more about the 1918 Illinois Statehood Centennial Half Dollar:
- 1918 Illinois Statehood Centennial
- 1918 Illinois Statehood Centennial - Revisited
- Lincoln's Portrait on the Illinois Half Dollar
- Official Seals on US Commemorative Coins
For other related discussions:
- US Commemorative Coins - Unnamed Sponsors
- US Commemorative Coins - Statehood Commemoratives
For other of my commemorative coin and medal posts, check out: Read More: Commems Collection