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US Commemorative Coin Series: Quick Bits #85 - Celebrating A Century, 1800 To 1899 - Part II

 
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 Posted 11/30/2022  09:09 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Back to finish my survey of Classic Era US commemorative coins that were issued to mark a person, place or event from the 1800s.


1926-39 Oregon Trail Memorial

Though it did not celebrate a specific year, the 1926-39 Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollars commemorated an era of US expansion and exploration from the mid-1800s onward. The half dollars were struck "in commemoration of the heroism of the fathers and mothers who traversed the Oregon Trail to the Far West with great hardship, daring, and loss of life, which not only resulted in adding new States to the Union but earned a well-deserved and imperishable fame for the pioneers; to honor the twenty thousand dead that lie buried in unknown graves along two thousand miles of that great highway of history; to rescue the various important points along the old trail from oblivion; and to commemorate by suitable monuments, memorial or otherwise, the tragic events associated with that emigration-erecting them either along the trail itself or elsewhere, in localities appropriate for the purpose, including the city of Washington." How's that for a bill objective!?

Ezra Meeker, the primary driver behind marking the Oregon Trail and securing a commemorative coin to support such an effort, was born in 1830 and is believed to have made his first trip over the Old Oregon Trail in 1852. He recreated his journey, in an ox-drawn wagon, between 1906 and 1908 in an effort to promote (and raise money for) his efforts to save the Old Oregon Trail - well before the coin years!




1934-38 Texas Independence Centennial Half Dollar

The 1934-38 Texas Independence Centennial Half Dollars were struck "in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary in 1936 of the independence of Texas, and of the noble and heroic sacrifices of her pioneers, whose revered memory has been an inspiration to her sons and daughters during the past century." Texas won its independence from Mexico on April 21, 1836 when Texian (not Texan) forces defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Though establishment of the Republic of Texas was declared by the victors, the Government of Mexico did not recognize it and, periodically, attempted to retake its former territory. Texas became the 28th State when it joined the Union on December 29, 1845.




1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half Dollars

The 1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial Half Dollars were struck "in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Union." Arkansas was admitted into the Union on June 15, 1836; it was the 25th State. Contrary to popular belief, the side with the Eagle is actually the coin's obverse (per the US Mint).




1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial - Robinson Half Dollar

The 1935-39 Arkansas Statehood Centennial - Robinson Half Dollar was created via an amendment to the original Arkansas Statehood Centennial coin Act. Senator Joseph Robinson is featured on the coin's reverse; he was a US Senator for 24+ years, including the last four as the Senate Majority Leader. He died in office in Washington, DC in July 1937; he is buried in Arkansas. Robinson was born in 1872.




1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial Half Dollar

The 1936 Bridgeport, CT Centennial Half Dollar was minted "in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut, as a city." Bridgeport was originally part of the Township of Stratford, CT but separated from it and was incorporated as a separate Town in 1821. Fifteen years later, in 1836, the Town incorporated as a City - the subject of its coin.




1936 Battle of Gettysburg 75th Anniversary Half Dollar

The bloody Civil War battle at Gettysburg, PA was remembered/honored via the 1936 Battle of Gettysburg 75th Anniversary Half Dollar. The coin was struck "in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg." The Battle took place July 1-3, 1863 which made its 75th anniversary year 1938 vs. 1936. The coin's authorizing legislation, however, included language that stipulated the coin be dated with the year in which the bill was enacted. As the bill became Law in 1936, that year/date was used for the coin.




1936 Cincinnati, OH Musical Center 50th Anniversary Half Dollar

The 1936 Cincinnati, OH Musical Center 50th Anniversary Half Dollar was struck "in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Cincinnati, Ohio, as a center of music, and its contribution to the art of music for the past fifty years." I've previously discussed the rather dubious nature of the historical claims made by the coin's sponsor/promoter - Thomas G. Melish. See the Commems Collection link below for access to all such posts.




1936 Cleveland, OH Centennial / Great Lakes Exposition Half Dollar

The 1936 Cleveland, OH Centennial / Great Lakes Exposition Half Dollar was struck "in commemoration of the centennial celebration of Cleveland, Ohio, to be known as the Great Lakes Exposition." The City of Cleveland traces its roots back to July 1796 when General Moses Cleaveland and a survey team arrived at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and Cleaveland decided the plain above the river was a good site for a settlement. The site was named Cleaveland in the General's honor. It was incorporated as a Village in 1814, and then as a City (without the extra "a") in 1836. The bill's title suggests the coin is formally connected to the Great Lakes Exposition - it was not. The funds raised through coin sales went to the coin's sponsor (i.e., the Cleveland Centennial Commemorative Coin Association/Thomas G. Melish) not the Exposition organizers.




1936 Elgin, IL Centennial Half Dollar

The 1936 Elgin, IL Centennial Half Dollar was struck "in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city of Elgin, Illinois, and the erection of a heroic Pioneer Memorial." The Elgin is another example of a US commemorative coin that plays fast and loose with dates. Though authorized, minted and distributed in 1936, it was actually in 1935 that Elgin celebrated the centennial of its 1835 founding. Also, the "1673" date on the coin has no relation to Elgin, it marks the year in which Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet traveled the Mississippi River and passed through what is now the State of Illinois.




1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Half Dollar

The 1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Half Dollar was struck "in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Territorial Government of Wisconsin, and to assist in the celebration of the Wisconsin Centennial during the year of 1936." At the time of its creation in July 1836, the Wisconsin Territory occupied a much larger area than the present-day State of Wisconsin, it also included what are now the States of Minnesota and Iowa, as well as portions of the States of North and South Dakota.




1937 Battle of Antietam 75th Anniversary Half Dollar

The 1937 Battle of Antietam 75th Anniversary Half Dollar was minted "in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Antietam." The coin recalls the bloodiest single day of the US Civil War -- 17 September 1862. During the battle, the first major battle on Union soil, it is estimated that over 23,000 soldiers were either killed or wounded. The battle took place in Washington County, MD, in the vicinity of Sharpsburg.




1946 Iowa Statehood Centennial Half Dollar

The 1946 Iowa Statehood Centennial Half Dollar was struck "in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the admission of Iowa into the Union as a State." Iowa was admitted to the Union on December 28, 1846 as the 29th State. The coin features the Old Stone Capitol in Iowa City on its obverse; this building served as the center of government for the last days of the Iowa Territory and first days of the State of Iowa; the state capital was subsequently moved to Des Moines in 1857 and the building then became the first building of what is now Iowa State University.




And that completes my look at the US commemorative coins that remember the people, places and events of the 1800s. You can check out Part I here.


My survey has now covered the 1400s, 1500s, 1600s, 1700s and 1800s - I'll be back soon to wrap things up with a quick look at the coins that celebrated the 1900s!


For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, including more about each of the Classic Era US Commemorative Coin presented here, see: Commems Collection.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
11/30/2022 12:47 pm
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 Posted 11/30/2022  09:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm adding the Norse-American Centennial commemorative as an Addendum to my list because it is a medal vs. coin, and some do not collect it as part of the US commemorative coin set.

1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal

The Act that created the 1925 Norse-American Centennial Medal authorized the "Secretary of the Treasury to prepare a medal with appropriate emblems and inscriptions commemorative of the Norse-American Centennial." The first large group of Norwegians arrived in America in 1825 via the sloop Restaurationen; they arrived in New York. As immigrants from Norway grew to become a large and important part of the US population, the Norse-American medal was sponsored and struck to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first immigrant group; it was issued as part of the event's celebration in Minnesota in 1925.




For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, including more on the Norse medal, see: Commems Collection.






Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 11/30/2022  11:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good stuff. I think you mean Ezra Meeker made is first trip over the Oregon Trail in 1852.
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 Posted 11/30/2022  12:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think you mean Ezra Meeker made is first trip over the Oregon Trail in 1852.

Fixed! (I really need to hire a proofreader! )



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 12/01/2022  05:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful survey commems and I salute your diligence to share all of that information with us.

I enjoyed reviewing as a reminder the brief stories behind all of these coins, and am struck once more by the collector abuses of the 1936 commemorative craze era.


Quote:
I really need to hire a proofreader!


Well shucks - you have us!
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 12/01/2022  10:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Although, I have to admit, most others are better than me at spotting any errors.
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