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Commems Collection: What If? 1937 Aurora, IL Centennial

 
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 Posted 10/17/2021  12:38 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The City of Aurora, Illinois was the subject of a commemorative half dollar proposal in 1937. The coins were to be struck "in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city." It was introduced on the "other side" of the curve regarding Congress' appetite for US commemorative coins, so its ultimate fate is not surprising.

Was 1937 the actual centennial of Aurora's founding? Well, not exactly...

The city actually traces its roots to 1834, when New Yorker Joseph McCarty first ventured into the Fox River Valley and decided that the area would be good for a permanent settlement. The ensuing community was initially called McCarty Mills, thanks to the mills that were constructed by Joseph and Samuel (Joseph's brother) McCarty along the river - a grist mill and a sawmill. In 1837, the area's name was changed to Aurora as its first US Post Office was established.

The area settled was/is located in the lower third of the overall valley - a valley that stretches between the south east corner of Wisconsin and the northeast corner of Illinois; Aurora is the largest city in the valley (it is the second largest city in Illinois, trailing only Chicago which is due east).

The half dollar proposal introduced in the Senate by Senator James Hamilton Lewis (D-IL) called for a maximum of 25,000 coins to be struck at a single facility of the US Mint. The coins were required to bear the date "1937" (regardless of when struck) and were sponsored by the Aurora Centennial Association. Authorization for the coins expired one year after the bill's enactment.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking and Currency where it failed to gain traction; it was never reported out by the Committee. And so, Aurora celebrated its centennial without the benefit of legal tender US commemorative half dollar. Personally, I'm thankful the proposal resulted in a failed attempt to secure a coin for a very local event - there were already far too many of them! (Bridgeport, CT; Elgin, IL; New Rochelle,NY; York County,ME; etc.)


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
10/17/2021 12:41 pm
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 Posted 10/17/2021  5:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Personally, I'm thankful the proposal resulted in a failed attempt to secure a coin for a very local event - there were already far too many of them!


Exactly mirrors my thoughts commems. Thankful this proposal did not advance, although I would not have know of it without your research and sharing.

While collectors in 1936/1937 might have felt taken advantage of, today we treasure these coins as valued members of a limited and tremendous variety set of wonderful coins.


Quote:
(Bridgeport, CT; Elgin, IL; New Rochelle,NY; York County,ME; etc.)


I'll add to the 'etc' of coins which commemorated events of truly local significance only - Fort Vancouver, WA; Hudson, NY; Albany, NY; Cleveland, OH; Columbia, SC; Long Island, NY; Lynchburg, VA; Norfolk, VA and Roanoke Island, NC.

I did not include in my 'etc' listing the notorious 1936 Cincinnati Musical Center half, the personal project for profit to Thomas G. Melish. This coin (con) commemorated nothing of significance and was intended to only profit from the collecting public.

It's good commems to read of a commemorative bill that did not make it to a coin during the 1936/1937 commemorative craze period. Thank you for sharing that history.

Your post has raised my awareness of how many of our treasured classic silver commemorative were authorized for events of only local significance. My rough count is 13 of the 50 type coins.

That would be a fun and informative post for you to offer - the story behind the local interest coins.

Of course, I'm still being patient pending the book release, where there is sure to be a chapter on the topic.





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 Posted 10/17/2021  5:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Don't know how things were in the '30s, but having grown up between Elgin and Aurora (they're not far apart), I can tell you there's not much left to celebrate.
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