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Commems Collection: Question & Answer #03 - Regional Nature Of US Commemorative Coins?

 
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 Posted 07/15/2022  08:57 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Quote:
Many of the classic-era commemorative coins are very regional in nature. Was there significant competition among sponsors attempting to convince the US Mint to strike a coin for such regional aspects of US history?
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The US Mint isn't actually the entity that decides which or when commemorative coins are struck, it is the US Congress that decides such things. The Mint acts upon the direction it is given by Congress.

So, the competition referred to really took place in Congress with Senators and Representatives in each chamber trying to get their pet coin bill passed so that they could please their constituents. US commemorative coins start with some (typically) local group wanting a coin to support their efforts to mark some "important" historical anniversary or current event. The group then enlists their US Senator/Representative who tries to work a coin bill through Congress. If successful, the bill is presented to the President for approval and signature. Only after approval by the President does the US Mint strike the coins. This is why so many US commemorative coins have a very local theme -- the idea for them started at a very local level and an obliging member of Congress took up the charge!


Have a question? Post it in the Question & Answer - Introduction & Question List" thread and I'll try to provide an answer.


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


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
07/15/2022 09:10 am
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 Posted 07/15/2022  11:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
IMO the majority of the classic series 50 coin type set commemorative events of purely local significance. Such was the power of the requesting local group and their aligned Congressional representatives.

I can count on one hand the coins that IMO represent national or at least broad regional significance.

It would be a fun debate to see if my views align with others on the topic, so here is my listing in chronological order. I've limited my listing to the classic silver series - arguably several of the classic gold commemorative would also meet the impact requirements.

1892 - 1893 Columbian World Exposition half
1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition half
1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence half
1935 - 1936 California-Pacific International Exposition half

An argument can be made for the Gettysburg and Antietam issues representing the Civil War.
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 Posted 07/21/2022  12:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with you initial premise, and think your list is a good starting point, but....

Though certainly sponsored by a group with local interests and focus, I think the 1923 Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar commemorates an event of national interest.

I also believe the 1920 Landing of the Pilgrims Tercentenary and the 1925 Battle of Lexington-Concord Sesquicentennial half dollars rise above the "local interest only" category as they represent important milestones in US history. If forced to choose, I would take either of these vs. the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exposition half dollar.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
07/21/2022 12:56 pm
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 Posted 07/21/2022  8:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'd probably throw 3 more in there which had more than purely local significance - Oregon Trail, BTW and Washington-Carver commemoratives.
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 07/21/2022  10:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@hokiefan_82: I could easily support your entries!


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 Posted 07/22/2022  05:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have no objections to commems and hokiefan suggested additions - so that brings our listing to 10 classic silver commemorative coins with national or at least significant regional significance.

If you include the two civil war issues Gettysburg and Antietam, then we end up with an even dozen examples.

This little thought exercise demonstrates again how local events dominate the themes in the classic silver commemorative series.

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