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Commems Collection: 1936 York County, Maine Tercentenary - Origin Story

 
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 Posted 10/03/2022  07:22 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
In May 1936, companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate that called for "50-cent pieces in commemoration of the three-hundredth anniversary of the founding of York County, Maine." The House version of the bill was introduced by Simon Moulton Hamlin (D-ME); the Senate bill by Wallace Humphrey White, Jr. (R-ME).

The bills sought up to 30,000 coins, all of which were to be struck at one Mint (designated by the Director of the Mint), all were to bear the year "1936" regardless of when struck and coin orders had to be for a minimum of 5,000. Also, the bills specified that the authority to strike the coins expired one year after the bill's enactment. The bill's provisions were in line with the recently-adopted guidelines of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.

The coins were to be struck for the Committee for the Commemoration of the Founding of York County.

The House bill was referred to its Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures upon its introduction. The bill was reported back without amendment and with a recommendation to pass. When it was called up for consideration in the House, however, 20-term Representative John Taber (R-NY) objected to it and ended the House's discussion. In the same session, he also objected to the bill for the Providence, Rhode Island Tercentenary half dollar - the move delayed the House's consideration of each of the coin bills, but did not, ultimately, stop either coin from being approved. For Taber, it was more about the large number of commemorative coins being passed vs. specifically the York County (or Providence, RI) coin.

The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency received the Senate version of the York County bill and viewed it favorably. It was reported out with a recommendation to pass but with an amendment. The Committee recommended the minimum order size to be increased to 25,000. The Senate agreed to the amendment and passed the bill without debate.

Note: The change in the order size meant that the only way for the York County Committee to get its full request of 30,000 coins was to order all of them with its initial order. An order for 25,000 coins was placed, however, which left 5,000 coins on the table and made them the subject of a future effort in 1937. (See link below for more.)

The House received the Senate bill and was host to a brief, but interesting challenge. Andrew Lawrence Somers (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Coinage, Weights, and Measures, called for consideration of the Senate bill and asked that it to be considered under Unanimous Consent. Stephen Marvin Young (D-OH), a second term Representative, rose with a threatened objection, he was disturbed that the House was considering a commemorative coin bill when an "important housing and slum-clearance bill" was being held in committee; Young supported the housing bill and appeared passionate about it - he did not introduce it, however.

Somers attempted to get Young to withdraw his potential objection by pointing out that the coin bill had nothing to do with the housing bill, that the two bills were reviewed by different committees and that he sympathized with Young's frustration. Young was not placated, however. At that point, Bertrand Hollis Snell (R-NY), a member of the House since 1915, rose and issued a thinly veiled threat directed toward Young indicating that if he continued with his unrelated objection of the coin bill, "there will be a lot of other things objected to." Young immediately withdrew his objection (out of respect for the senior colleague?). The House proceeded to consider the coin bill and passed it without further discussion or objection.

The bill moved forward and was signed into law on June 26, 1936 by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The US Mint in Philadelphia struck 25,000 York County coins in August 1936.

1936 York County, ME Tercentenary


The York County half dollar was revisited in 1937, see What If? 1937 York County, ME

For more of my topics on commemorative coins and medals,including more on the York County half dollar, see: Commems Collection.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/03/2022  07:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kenwright396 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting story, thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 10/03/2022  09:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Amazing how much time and energy was expended on such matters back then!
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 Posted 10/03/2022  2:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing. As always an interesting back story.
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 Posted 10/03/2022  7:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great story as always commems - thank you

This commemorative craze issue thankfully had appropriate legislative restrictions placed upon the ability to be produced as a multi-year, multi-mint collector abusive series.

That said - it remains IMO as one of the most trivial local significance events to ever be honored with a commemorative coin.

York County, ME has a small population in a small State, and nothing of even regional significance is associated with this 300th anniversary.

Anyways ... the coin is now a treasured member of our beloved classic commemorative set, as well as one of the 'stoppers' in the pursuit of an honestly circulated type set.

@commems - I enjoy the obverse toning on your gem+ example, lovely coin.
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 Posted 10/03/2022  9:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@comm, did you ever share with us why you've actually got three of this particular commemorative? I'm not seeing that story when I look over your list of threads, but there are a bazillion of them so I might have missed it.

I'm interested to have you follow up on that. Thx.
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 Posted 10/04/2022  07:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Did you ever share with us why you've actually got three of this particular commemorative?

No, I don't think I did, so here goes...

The first York County, ME Tercentenary Half Dollar I purchased was the MS-65 coin I've presented here in multiple posts. It's a nice clean coin, IMO, with nice luster. I honestly thought my shopping days for the York County half dollar were over after I added it to my collection.

1936 York County, ME Tercentenary - PCGS MS-65


Then, as I was walking out of a South Carolina Numismatic Association (SCNA) Show in Greenville, SC, I spotted an attractive York County in an old PCGS rattler holder. The old holder intrigued me as, even back then, they were not very common. The dealer's asking price was very reasonable, and, even though it was the same grade as the York I already owned, it came home with me.

1936 York County, ME Tercentenary - PCGS MS-65


Then, years later, I stopped by the table of a favorite dealer at the big Baltimore, MD Show and he had an appealing MS-67 York in his case. I was taken by its pastel toning. My preference for my classic US commemorative coins has always been brilliant examples, but the toning on that York just captured my attention. (My scan doesn't do it justice!) The dealer was not bashful with his asking price, but I bought it anyway and brought it home to meet its long-lost siblings - I believe they were separated soon after birth.

1936 York County, ME Tercentenary - PCGS MS-67


And that's why I filled a one-year, one-mint Type coin slot with three separate coins!




Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/05/2022  9:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ok thx for clearing that up for us. All three are quite pleasant!
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 Posted 10/06/2022  10:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
No, I don't think I did, so here goes...


Quote:
The first York County, ME Tercentenary Half Dollar I purchased was the MS-65 coin I've presented here in multiple posts...
A lovely example!

Quote:
Then, as I was walking out of a South Carolina Numismatic Association (SCNA) Show in Greenville, SC
Been there a few times.

Quote:
I spotted an attractive York County in an old PCGS rattler holder...
Nice find!

Quote:
Then, years later, I stopped by the table of a favorite dealer at the big Baltimore, MD Show and he had an appealing MS-67 York in his case...
A stunning example!

Quote:
...but I bought it anyway and brought it home to meet its long-lost siblings - I believe they were separated soon after birth.
Reunited and it feels so good!
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 Posted 10/06/2022  12:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Erscolo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My ancestors were among the first settlers of York County, Maine. Perhaps this is a commemorative coin to acquire some day, along with the one for New Rochelle, New York where other direct ancestors were part f the first settlers there. Thank you for the educational write up on this issue, most informative.
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 Posted 10/06/2022  10:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, commems. I do like the toning on your MS67 example. Like you, almost all of my commemoratives were brilliant examples up until a few years ago when I started picking up some attractively-toned examples. Of course, what's "attractive" is very subjective...
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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