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Commems Collection: 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Design Changes

 
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 Posted 07/28/2021  07:35 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This time out, I thought I'd share an interesting twist in the development of the reverse design of the 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary half dollar.

The coin, as struck by the US Mint, features the Nieu Nederland (English: New Netherland) on its reverse under full sail heading left on the coin - this orientation is often used to indicate a voyage that is heading west, in this case, from Europe to the New World.

While going through the Tenth Report of the National Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) for 1921-1925, I came across a photograph of the coin's models that appear to have been near-final in most respects, with the orientation of the ship on the reverse being one significant aspect that would be changed before the coin's dies were created and the coins were struck. In the following illustration of the coin models, the ship is facing right, giving the impression it is heading east and on its way back to Europe. On the coin, of course, the ship is heading in the opposite direction.



Though the physical appearance of the ship on the coin is similar to that depicted on the models, there are enough changes to make it clear it is not the same ship (Remember, models at that time were created by hand not computer, a mouse click to create a mirror-image swap wasn't an option!). For example, the angle of the ship on the coin is such that it provides a view of the ship's stern; the stern is not seen on the models. A close examination of the masts and sails will also yield differences between the designs. The waves under the ship have a different shape/style and orientation on the coin vs. the model, and the size and shape of the "92" in "1924" also appears to have been updated on the coin.

James Earle Fraser, the sculptor member of the CFA was very critical of George Morgan's models for the coin and is known to have worked with Morgan to revise and improve the models (including hands-on work). It seems highly possible that changing the ship's orientation was one of Fraser's recommendations as he was of the opinion, when describing Morgan's models, that "the ship is ill designed." The change ultimately seen on the struck coin brings it into close alignment with the Mayflower design seen on the 1920-21 Pilgrim Tercentenary half dollar(s).

1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary Half Dollar




1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar





To learn about other aspect of the Huguenot-Walloon half dollar, check out:

- 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary
- 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary - Revisited
- 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary - Coins with Hats Thread - Engravings of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny and William the Silent + Discussion of why they were selected for the coin


For more about commemorative coins and medals, see: Read More: Commems Collection.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 07/28/2021  09:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great read as always, thank you.
Edited by Coinfrog
07/28/2021 09:17 am
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 Posted 07/28/2021  1:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks! I find it very interesting in general seeing the evolution in the design of coins as they progress to the issued products.
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 Posted 07/28/2021  6:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great post! Every time you post things, I learn something new. Was this the last coin designed by Morgan? For that matter, did he design anything else after this (medal or sculpture)?

It would have been fun eavesdropping on two giants like Fraser and Morgan arguing about design!
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 Posted 07/28/2021  7:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Before I ever owned a classic Commemorative Half Dollar I remember looking through a Red Book and liking those with a sailing ship on it.
There are more than a few

Two I don't own have smaller ships that are not the central design

Roanoke Colony Half Dollar
Norfolk Bicentennial Half Dollar


I don't own one of these yet.
Hudson Sesquicentennial Half Dollar
Delaware Swedish Tercentenary Half Dollar


But I do have these
Huguenot-Walloon Half Dollar
Long Island Tercentenary Half Dollar
Columbian Exposition Half Dollar
Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar
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 Posted 07/28/2021  8:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Was this the last coin designed by Morgan? For that matter, did he design anything else after this (medal or sculpture)?

Yes, the Huguenot-Walloon half dollar was Morgan's last coin. He died on January 4, 1925; he did not design any of the 1925-dated commemorative coins.

Regarding medals after the Huguenot-Walloon, I'm aware that Morgan did prepare the designs for the 1924 and 1925 US Assay Commission medals (along with multiple earlier AC medals); it seems likely the 1924 medal was completed during the same time frame as the coin (based on the AC's early 1924 meeting dates), with the 1925 medal likely being worked on after the Huguenot-Walloon half dollar was completed.


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 Posted 07/28/2021  8:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@TNG: I agree! Sailing ships on classic US commemorative are a historically interesting and aesthetically pleasing subset of the series to collect.

I've posted about each of them over in the "Post Your Coins Depicting Sailing Ships" Gallery. For quick and easy access to individual posts, however, I've created an index. You can find it here:

- Classic US Commemorative Coins with a Ship


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 Posted 07/29/2021  05:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great read commems - many thanks.
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 Posted 07/29/2021  12:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I've posted about each of them over in the "Post Your Coins Depicting Sailing Ships" Gallery. For quick and easy access to individual posts, however, I've created an index. You can find it here:

http://goccf.com/t/401299


Thanks Commems (again)
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