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Commems Collection: Medals Vs. Coins

 
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 Posted 12/07/2021  1:29 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
By the mid-1930s, Congress had begun to more fully understand the commemorative coin "problem" that it had created by approving such a large number of issues - especially considering how many of them were of only local interest. Of course, the Treasury Department had been voicing its opposition to the souvenir coins since the mid-1920s, but Congress was finally coming around.

In 1935, bills were introduced in each chamber of Congress that called for a cessation of the striking of new commemorative coins and the striking of commemorative medals instead. From the Senate version of the bill:

Be it enacted, etc., That in order to promote uniformity In the designs of the various coins of the United States, to facilitate their proper use as circulating media, to enable counterfeit pieces to be readily detected, and to avoid the confusion which arises from special issues of commemorative coins, it is declared to be the policy of the United States to authorize the striking of commemorative medals in lieu of commemorative coins and to discontinue the striking of such coins.

If the bill's language sounds familiar, it's because the bill was written by the Treasury Department and I've previously discussed the reasons for its objections to commemorative coins. The negative issues it often voiced were turned to positive, proactive steps for the purpose of the bills.

The bill introduced in each chamber was referred to its pertinent committee. In the House of Representatives, the measure was referred to the Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. In the Senate, the bill was sent to the Committee on Banking and Currency.

The Senate was in favor of the proposed legislation, while the House was not very supportive. After its referral to committee, the House bill was never heard from again. The Senate bill was reported out favorably, and was passed by the full Senate. The bill was then sent to the House where it was referred to committee and died for lack of action.

So, what could have been a positive step for the US commemorative program - and a boon for medal collectors - was brushed aside by the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures. Thus, commemorative coinage continued - with 1936 proving to be the busiest year on record for new issues. Finally, in 1939, new legislation was passed by Congress and approved by President Roosevelt. The new Act did not replace commemorative coins with medals. but it did at least put an end to all multi-year programs that were in place (it did not impact future multi-year issues).

For more on this 1939 Act, see:

- Regulating US Commemorative Coins


For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, check out: Commems Collection.




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 12/07/2021  1:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting!

I wonder what would have happened if the 1982 Washington half dollars (which I bought from the Mint) were medals and not coins.
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 Posted 12/07/2021  1:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One thing I feel confident in saying, sales of such medals would not have equaled the 7.1 million coins sold! (But I would have been a buyer!)


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 12/07/2021  3:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If my affinity were to evolve the same way, I would likely be a buyer as well (eventually).
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 Posted 12/08/2021  05:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I say the members of the House of Representatives in 1935 missed an opportunity to avoid what became the commemorative deluge of 1936.

Interesting to ponder if my collection today would be different if the 1936 issues were medals instead of coins.

I likely would not have been interested in collecting them, the apathy generally attributed to lack of publicity and information available today on the medals versus the relatively wide spread publication data on the coins of the era.

We collect what we are aware of, and other than commems fabulous discussions on various historical medals I do not have ready access to other informative sources on the topics of medals.



Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 12/08/2021  09:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
We collect what we are aware of...

So very true. I think the lack of generally available information on medals hinders things by creating a sense of "unknown" among potential collectors.

Most collectors like to know what they are getting into when they start collecting something - not having a checklist with definite "start" and "end" points can be disconcerting to many. Not knowing doesn't bother me. I actually enjoy the hunt to discover what's out there for a particular undocumented series. Over the years, I've gone down such a path more than once and enjoyed every step! You never know what might turn up!

If the US commemorative program had switched over to medals back in the 1930s, I believe that sales would definitely have suffered. But, over time, I also believe that collectors would have come to appreciate the medals more as new issues continued to appear and be advertised in the American Numismatic Association's The Numismatist and in other periodicals of the time.

Is such thinking wishful? Perhaps. But as a medal collector, I'd like to think it's at least within the realm of possibility!

Here's one of the Mint's commemorative medals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition - an attractive medal "cousin" to the coins:









Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
12/08/2021 10:01 am
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 Posted 12/08/2021  10:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
We collect what we are aware of, and other than commems fabulous discussions on various historical medals I do not have ready access to other informative sources on the topics of medals.
Very true! The interest I have in medals is owed to commems and his commentary.


Quote:
Is such thinking wishful? Perhaps. But as a medal collector, I'd like to think it's at least within the realm of possibility!
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 Posted 12/08/2021  10:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Here's one of the Mint's commemorative medals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition - an attractive medal "cousin" to the coins:


Your choice of HK-401 to illustrate the potential allure of collecting medals actually serves to illustrate my point; readily available numismatic information is a key contributor to building collector interest on any particular topic.

I long ago acquired the 2nd edition of So-Called Dollars and this led to an interest in the medals of the Panama Pacific Exposition. Armed with this technical resource I learned about the medals and began to seek them out at shows.

I later purchased Shevlin and Hyder wonderful volume So-Called Dollars From The Pacific Coast Expositions which opened my eyes to previously uncatalogued SCD from the exposition.

Having access to these informative volumes so I could learn about the items and gain an appreciation for their history was the genesis of my collecting interest for this subset of SCD.

I don't know of a general volume on USA medals, hence my initial statement that if the 1936 commemorative coins were issued instead as medals I likely would be unaware of them.

Which brings me to the final point - when are we going to see the book commems? You could include a few chapters on your various medals post, that might inspire me and others to seek them out.

BTW - I'm still actively searching for an example of HK-410 or HK-410a. If I can come across two commems I'll grab one for you as well.



Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 12/08/2021  3:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
BTW - I'm still actively searching for an example of HK-410 or HK-410a. If I can come across two commems I'll grab one for you as well.


You need to look for three, come on! I want one. If you find them, let me know and I'll see about a long-term loan at my credit union...
"Nummi rari mira sunt, si sumptus ferre potes." - Christophorus filius Scotiae
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 Posted 12/08/2021  3:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ Bump111 - yes indeed the North Carolina fund medal is a tough one, I've been looking for over 4 years now without a sighting in any grade. Now I am on the lookout for three!

I did manage to acquire an equally elusive HK-410B a few years back from Tipsco Coin. It was in an NGC AU55 holder.

HK-410B Kentucky Exposition Fund SCD, R-7

Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 12/29/2021  4:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I did manage to acquire an equally elusive HK-410B


That's a nice one, too. I like the shared reverse with the sailing ship.
"Nummi rari mira sunt, si sumptus ferre potes." - Christophorus filius Scotiae
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