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Commems Collection: 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial - House Vs. Senate

 
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 Posted 01/15/2022  07:15 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
An example of Congress working to limit the scope of a classic-era US commemorative coin program...

The 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial Half Dollar was first proposed in the Senate on March 10, 1936 by Senator Augustine Lonergan (D-CT); Lonergan served in Congress as either a Representative (early career in Congress) or Senator (late career) between 1913 and 1939. As introduced, the Bridgeport, CT bill called for (just) 10,000 half dollars to be delivered to Bridgeport Centennial, Inc. The coins could be struck at any/all US Mint facilities without a date restriction.

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency where its deficiencies were immediately seen. The Committee recommended an amendment by substitution, replacing the original bill's language with new that limited the striking of the coins to a single Mint facility and requiring all coins to "bear the date 1936, irrespective of the year in which they are minted or issued" as long as Bridgeport Centennial, Inc. paid for them. The substitution amendment also restricted the striking of the coins to a period of one year following the bill's date of enactment.

The Senate accepted the Committee's recommendation and passed the revised bill without objection. The bill was then sent to the House for consideration. Once received, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures.

The House Committee recommended replacing the 10,000 coin limit with a 25,000 coin minimum and removing provisions that required a minimum order of 5,000 coins and the one-year expiration. The changes were approved by the Full House without challenge and sent on to the Senate. The Senate was not in an argumentative mood at the time, and approved the changes to its bill without objection. The bill was signed into law by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 15, 1936.

So, while a multi-year program was possible under the House's changes to the Senate bill (i.e., no upper mintage limit specified, no expiration date on coining authority and the potential for small annual mintage figures), the allure to collectors was greatly reduced by the Act's remaining provision that all coins bear the 1936 date.

Sales of the Bridgeport Centennial Half Dollar did not justify additional strikes beyond the first batch of 25,000 in 1936. In fact, several thousand leftover coins were sold as a bulk lot, at a discounted price, to the Community Chest and Council of Bridgeport in 1938. (The Community Chest is the forerunner of today's United Way.) No unsold coins were returned to the Mint to be melted.


1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial Half Dollar



For more on the Bridgeport half dollar, check out:

- 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial
- 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial - Revisited
- 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial - Cousin


For other of my posts on commemorative coins and medals, see: Commems Collection.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 01/15/2022  10:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Said it many times before, but that eagle grabs me every time.
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 Posted 01/16/2022  05:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting twist in that the congressional manipulations of this bill actually increased the mintage from 10,000 (original proposal by Sen. Lonegran) to 25,000 as issued.

It's not surprising however that the legislative bodies quickly modified the bill to limit the collector abuse (multiple years, multiple mints) that was rampant at this time in 1936.

Great read commems - many thanks.
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