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Commems Collection: What If? 1949 Minnesota Territory Centennial

 
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 Posted 06/21/2022  07:27 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Wisconsin got one...Minnesota wanted one too!

The Minnesota Territory was created on March 3, 1849 when its area was split from the Iowa and Wisconsin Territories, and its capital was established at St. Paul. The Territory encompassed all of present-day Minnesota, plus significant sections of what would later become North and South Dakota. In 1858, the eastern portion of the Territory was split off and the State of Minnesota was created/admitted to the Union (May 11, 1858).

Minnesota Territory Map - 1849

(Image Credit: Source file: Kaldari; This file: Svenskbygderna, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In April 1947, companion bills were introduced that called for 50-cent pieces "in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the organization of Minnesota as a Territory of the United States." The House bill was introduced by Herman Carl Andersen (R-MN); the Senate bill by Mr. Edward John Tyhe (R-MN) on behalf of himself and Mr. Joseph Hurst Ball (R-MN).

Each of the bills called for the minting of up to 150,000 half dollars on behalf of the Minnesota Historical Society/State of Minnesota. The bill did not limit the striking of the coins to a single mint facility (i.e., P/D/S sets were a possibility). It did, however, specify that the coins were to "bear the date of the year in which they are minted" but that they were only to be issued to the sponsor in the calendar year 1949. So, it would have been possible (though unlikely) for the coins to have been struck in batches and dated "1947," "1948" and "1949," though not released until 1949.

The House bill was referred to the Committee on Banking and Currency, but was held there in lieu of the Senate version of the bill which was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. The Senate bill was reported without amendments and with a recommendation for passage. The bill passed the Senate without debate and was sent to the House for consideration; it was referred to the House Committee from which it was reported favorably.

The bill faced a small challenge in the House, as Representative John Albert Carroll (D-CO) initially objected to the bill in order to get a better understanding of the guidelines the Committee followed in recommending passage of the bill. Representative Jessie Paine Wolcott (R-MI), the then-current Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, stated that the Committee was only approving "Centennial of Statehood" coin bills (vs. more local municipal proposals), and that it supported Minnesota's Territorial Centennial coin since it had been given assurances that Minnesota would not come back for a second coin for its Statehood Centennial in 1958. With such explanations, Mr. Carroll withdrew his objection and the bill passed the House without further delay or changes.

The bill was then examined and signed in each chamber before being sent to President Harry S. Truman for final sign-off. Truman, however, vetoed the bill, citing "that the fundamental difficulty of issuing special coins for commemorative occasions is that such coins would be full legal tender. It is clearly unwise to require a multiplicity of designs on United States coins which would create confusion in our monetary system, facilitate counterfeiting, and encourage traffic in commemorative coins for private profit."

After echoing the ongoing objections of the Treasury Department, Turman addressed the difficulty in selecting which events are appropriate for commemorative coins and the precedents set by the vetoes of Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt before him. Truman's veto was not challenged by Congress, and the dream of a Minnesota Territorial Centennial half dollar faded away. The coin may have made it two-thirds of the way to issued-reality, but all three camps must give their approval for a coin proposal to succeed!


For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, including more on the history of the 1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial half dollar, see: Commems Collection.




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
06/21/2022 07:29 am
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 Posted 06/21/2022  08:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Learned a lot here, thanks!
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 Posted 06/21/2022  11:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As promised, a situation where Truman did the right thing it seems. Thank you for sharing.
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 Posted 06/21/2022  1:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, commems! As mentioned before, I find these "what if?" posts quite interesting, especially the many proposals shot down in the later years of the classic commemorative period.
My U.S. Type Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278808/
My U.S. Classic Commemorative Complete Set: https://www.NGCcoin.com/registry/co...sets/278741/
My 20th Century U.S. Type Set - Proofs only, No Gold https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/co...sets/396301/
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 Posted 06/22/2022  12:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for the kind words and support!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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