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Commems Collection: What If? 1947 Reading, PA 200th Anniversary

 
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 Posted 12/09/2022  09:29 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Early in the 80th Congress, in January 1947, Senator Francis John Myers (D-PA) introduced a bill to strike half dollars "in commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city of Reading, Pennsylvania." Upon its introduction, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, but was not immediately reported back. Myers had received word from the Committee Chairman that his requested coin was to replaced with a commemorative medal bill before being reported; such knowledge resulted in Myers cooling his pursuit of the bill.

The bill called for up to 100,000 half dollars; it did not limit the Mint facilities that could be used to strike the coins, so P/D/S sets were a possibility. An interesting aspect of the bill was the fact that the coins were required to be dated with the year struck, but could only be requested during Calendar Year 1948 (the anniversary year). So, while it's possible the Mint could have struck a quantity of 1947-dated coins in anticipation of an early January 1948 order/delivery, it seems more likely that a mint-to-order model would have been adopted by the Mint and that all coins would thus have been dated "1948" - fitting, considering it was the true anniversary year. The coins could only be ordered by official representatives of Reading, PA.

Reading, Pennsylvania, the County Seat of Berks County, is located just west of Philadelphia in the Delaware Valley region; it is considered a part of the Philadelphia Metropolitan area.

The city can trace its roots to 1733. It was in that year that the future city's site was selected - a site along the Schuykill River. It was originally known as Finney's Ford, but Reading was selected as the area's new name in 1748 when Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, sons of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, along with Conrad Weiser, mapped a layout for the city. It was named for the town of Reading in Berkshire County, England; Reading was the County Town there. William Penn lived in Berkshire after he returned to England from America and died there in 1718. When Berks County, PA was established in 1752, Reading, it largest city, was selected as the County Seat.

Reading has a rich history thanks to its iron industry that dates to pre-American Revolution (it helped supply cannons, guns and ammunition to colonial troops), its 19th century construction of canals and 20th century railroads. Today, Reading is known for its industrial base and as a center of art and culture. Reading has far too much interesting history to cover here. Additional historical background on Reading, PA can be found on the City's web site:

- Reading Pennsylvania: A Brief History

Getting back to the coin bill...

In July 1947, Senator Myers noticed that several commemorative coin bills had been reported by the Committee and were on the Senate Calendar for consideration. This drove him to request that the Committee also report his Reading bill. The Committee complied, and reported the coin bill favorably and recommended that it pass. When brought up for consideration in the full Senate, the bill was objected to by James William Fulbright (D-AR) who also voiced objection to all of the recently passed coin bills; he motioned for the Senate go back and reconsider each of them. The bills were not reconsidered, however, and the motion to do so was withdrawn the following day. In withdrawing his motion, Fulbright commented, "if we let all these bills go, they will disclose how ridiculous it is to have so many of these that will better enable the President to veto all of them." Certainly a supportive attitude!

The bill was sent to the House for its consideration, though I can find no direct account of it first being passed in the Senate (an inadvertent omission in the record?). The House appeared to have considered it as approved by the Senate when it received it, however, and referred the bill to its Committee on Banking and Currency for initial review. The bill was never reported out of Committee, and was never considered in the House. As such, the bill eventually died for lack of action.

Another one bites the dust!


For other of my topics on commemorative coins and medals, including more What If? stories, see: Commems Collection.



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 Posted 12/09/2022  09:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In college, my dad worked for Fulbright, who was then the president of the University of Arkansas.
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 Posted 12/09/2022  10:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good read!

If this one had been released I would have forever associated it with Monopoly because that is how my brain works.
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 Posted 12/09/2022  2:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If this one had been released I would have forever associated it with Monopoly because that is how my brain works.

I don't think you would have been the only one with such thoughts!


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 Posted 12/09/2022  3:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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I don't think you would have been the only one with such thoughts!
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 Posted 12/09/2022  7:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks once again for the interesting "What If?", commems!


Quote:
If this one had been released I would have forever associated it with Monopoly because that is how my brain works

Same here, jbuck. First thing I thought of when I saw this was "Reading Railroad"
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 Posted 12/09/2022  7:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like most of these proposals didn't get very far by 1947.
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 Posted 12/09/2022  11:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Sounds like most of these proposals didn't get very far by 1947.

Very true!

The tide turned against commemorative coin proposals in 1937 - over 30 bills introduced that year failed to get approved. From that point on, it was a tough go for just about every coin bill introduced.


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 Posted 12/10/2022  12:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add macmercury to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would think to proposed the bill it would have some design/art materials to present to the committees, what are the chances something like this be floating around today?

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 Posted 12/10/2022  05:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another fascinating What If? read - thank you commems for the continuing history lessons.

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 Posted 12/10/2022  07:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I would think to proposed the bill it would have some design/art materials to present to the committees..."

During the classic era, it was often the case that no artwork existed at the time a coin was first proposed; artwork cost money to create/prepare and many coin sponsors did not want to incur costs ahead of their coin's approval.

Quote:
What are the chances something like this be floating around today?

Difficult to say, I've never seen reference to any, but...




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 Posted 12/10/2022  08:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for the kind words and discussion engagement. Always appreciated!


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 Posted 12/12/2022  1:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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Same here, jbuck. First thing I thought of when I saw this was "Reading Railroad"
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