Coin Community Family of Web Sites
Like us on Facebook! Subscribe to our Youtube Channel! Check out our Twitter! Check out our Pinterest!
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?


Welcome Guest! Need help? Got a question? Inherit some coins?
Our coin forum is completely free! Register Now!

Commems Collection Modern: 1994 Capitol 200th - Architectural History Set

 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.
Author Previous TopicReplies: 11 / Views: 418Next Topic  
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
6364 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  5:30 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The 1994 Capitol Bicentennial commemorative silver dollar was a one-coin program that was approved by the 103rd Congress on December 14, 1993. (Public Law 103-186) The same Act also authorized the Thomas Jefferson silver dollar and the three-coin (all silver dollars) Vietnam Veterans program. Due to the late-in-the-year authorization, all of the coins were released in 1994.

The bill moved through Congress very quickly! It was introduced in the House on November 22, 1993 by Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA) and was passed by the House and Senate just two days later on November 24, 1993. (Who says Congress can't move fast when it wants to!) The bill was signed into law on December 14, 1993 - just three weeks after its introduction!

Construction on the Capitol began in 1793, while George Washington was serving as the nation's first president under the US Constitution. (He took part in the cornestone laying ceremonies!) So, it would have been most appropriate for the Capitol Bicentennial coin to have been struck and released in 1993, but it wasn't to be. The most significant event from 1794 was the firing of Stephen Hallet, the superintendent of construction, by Thomas Jefferson, for not following the approved design of William Thorton (the winner of the design contest for the Capitol) and going against the wishes and explicit instructions of President George Washington and US Secretary of State Jefferson. Hallet was fired on November 15, 1794.

Front Elevation of Dr. William Thorton's Winning Design for the Capitol

(Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/

The obverse of the 1994 US Capitol Bicentennial commemorative silver dollar depicts the US Capitol Dome (to the right of center). The statue of Freedom on top of the dome is surrounded by a circle of 13 stars, meant to symbolize the 13 states that had ratified the US Constitution and were part of the Union at the time construction on the Capitol began. William C. Cousins was the designer/engraver. The design has always resonated with me and is one of my favorites within the modern series.

1994 US Capitol Bicentennial Silver Dollar - Obverse


John Mercanti handled the coin's reverse design. It is a rendering of a segment of one of the four stained-glass skylights positioned within the grand stairways of the Capitol's Senate and House wings. At the time of the coin's release, Mercanti commented, "achieving a faithful representation of the original window took more hours and patience than any other coin in my experience." (The Numismatist, November 1994, p. 1519.) The four windows/skylights were created by the brothers John and George Gibson for the US Capitol between 1858 and 1861. They are currently awaiting restoration and have been temporarily been removed and replaced in the Capitol with painted acrylic panels that mimic the original designs.

1994 US Capitol Bicentennial Silver Dollar - Reverse + Original Stained-Glass Reference

(Image Credit - Stained-Glass Window: The Capitol: An architectural history booklet, US Mint.)

The reverse design presents a 13-star US Shield at its center, with a Bald Eagle with spread wings surmounting it; the Shield is encircled by a laurel wreath. Three arrows are being clutched by the eagle's right talon, while its left holds the traditional olive branch. From behind the Shield extend four US Flags, two on each side. The flags are more stylistic then faithful renderings, however, as none include the correct number of stars for the time/year the original skylights were created. At the time, the US Flag had 33 stars, but the design within the skylight presents just 12 stars (or fewer) on each flag; Mercanti maintained the flags as originally presented without updating for increased accuracy. Below the Shield is found a pair of olive branches.

In addition to the individual proof and uncirculated silver dollars that it sold, the US Mint also offered a package containing the 1994 Capitol Bicentennial silver dollar (proof version) and a brief booklet titled "The Capitol: An architectural history" and referred to the product as the "Architectural History Edition." The package/set had a Pre-Issue Discount price of $42 which was increased to $46 after a month.

The well-illustrated, but brief, booklet included in the set devotes most of its pages to discussing some of those who have served as an Architect of the Capitol over its history. An introduction to the contributions of Dr. William Thornton (as noted above, the winner of the design contest for the Capitol), Benjamin Latrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas Walter and Constantino Brumidi are included. As with other booklets prepared by the Mint for its special packages, the booklet contains good information but also makes the interested reader realize there is much more to discover and creates a desire to seek out additional information. Today, the web site of the Architect of the Capitol is a great place to explore the many facets of the US Capitol. Check it out here: https://www.aoc.gov/

The Library of Congress has put together an absolutely wonderful online exhibit titled on the history of the US Capitol - "Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation." It covers lots of ground, but it well worth the time spent! You can find it here: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/uscapitol/

The package is one of the simpler designs of the Mint. It consists of an outer slipcase and an inner coin tray with a hole in its center to hold the silver dollar. The white tray has brief information printed on it about the design/designer of each side, but it is only cursory. The true "meat" of the package is in the "The Capitol: An architectural history" booklet.

Mint sales figures indicate that 63,465 of the sets with the proof dollar were sold. For comparison, the individual proof dollar moved 216,114 units and the individual uncirculated coin had sales of 68,332. Sales across all options totaled 347,911 of 500,000 authorized.

1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Slipcase - Front


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Coin Tray - Obverse


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Coin Tray - Reverse


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Booklet - Front Cover


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Booklet - Interior Page


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Booklet - Back Cover


1994 US Capitol Architectural History Set - Slipcase - Back



Hope you enjoyed the read!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Valued Member
United States
176 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  7:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HappyHippo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
And it is silver - that is always nice. I didn't expect to read so much here today but it was a nice description.
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
9947 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Kind of off topic and no intent to hijack your nice post but . . .

That shield by itself would have looked nice on the reverse of the current Lincoln Cent.
My favorite album!
Image hosting is provided by CCF. Thank you for your generosity!
World's Fair Exposition Medals and Tickets
http://www.coincommunity.org/galler...p?album=2020
Pillar of the Community
United States
2369 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  8:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Oldfordman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It sure would look nice on a cent.

Thanks for the read, Commems!
Valued Member
United States
162 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  8:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Raised on rock to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the great read.
Bedrock of the Community
United States
11248 Posts
 Posted 07/15/2021  8:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice writeup, commems. I hadn't seen this one before. Looks like maybe $35 on ebay for one of these.
Moderator
Learn More...
United States
103630 Posts
 Posted 07/16/2021  10:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fantastic!


Quote:
The most significant event from 1794 was the firing of Stephen Hallet, the superintendent of construction, by Thomas Jefferson, for not following the approved design of William Thorton (the winner of the design contest for the Capitol) and going against the wishes and explicit instructions of President George Washington and US Secretary of State Jefferson. Hallet was fired on November 15, 1794.
Sounds like something to commemorate. I wonder how different the Capitol would have looked had he been retained.
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
6364 Posts
 Posted 07/16/2021  2:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had a lingering question about the total accuracy of a statement I made in my original post. So, I contacted the office of the Architect of the Capitol for resolution. As a result, I want to provide an update.

I originally stated, " John Mercanti handled the coin's reverse design. It is a rendering of a segment of one of the four stained-glass skylights positioned within the grand stairways of the Capitol's Senate and House wings."

This statement needs some updating as I've learned that the coin's design is based on the design found on a pair of standalone, circular windows, one found at the first floor landing of the grand stairway for the House and the other in the same location within the Senate stairway, rather than "a segment of one of the four stained-glass skylights." The skylights I referenced do not include the Shield with Eagle design. As with the larger skylights, however, the circular stained-glass windows were created by John and George Gibson of Philadelphia.

The round windows are 59 inches in diameter - a design nearly five feet in diameter that was reduced to less than 1.5 inches on the coin!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
6364 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2021  9:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wonder how different the Capitol would have looked had he been retained.

In reality, the exterior view of the Capitol might not have been all that different - if Stephen Hallet had been given free reign to change Thornton's design! The final, revised designs that he submitted for consideration by Washington, Jefferson and others were not dramatically different (from an exterior perspective) than Thornton's design.

Front Elevation of Stephen Hallet's Final Design for the Capitol

(Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/)

The exterior similarities are readily apparent. Hallet had very different ideas regarding the interior layout of the building, however, and this ultimately led to his dismissal as he made unauthorized changes to the Capitol's planned "Thornton" foundation to support his alternate views. He had hoped he could move construction far enough along before his changes were noticed so that they would be a fait accompli. His plan failed!



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
07/27/2021 9:16 pm
Valued Member
Learn More...
United States
302 Posts
 Posted 07/27/2021  11:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent write-up, commems. The Capitol Bicentennial dollar design is also a favorite of mine from the modern commemorative series.
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
6364 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2021  07:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for the positive feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Moderator
Learn More...
United States
103630 Posts
 Posted 07/28/2021  10:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
In reality, the exterior view of the Capitol might not have been all that different...
Very interesting! Thank you for the additional information.
  Previous TopicReplies: 11 / Views: 418Next Topic  
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.





Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Coin Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2021 Coin Community Family- all rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Coin Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Contact Us  |  Advertise Here  |  Privacy Policy / Terms of Use

Coin Community Forum © 2005 - 2021 Coin Community Forums
It took 0.45 seconds to rattle this change. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05