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Category Archives: Coin History

June 24

Roanoke Half Dollar

Approved on the 24th day of June in 1936, the Roanoke Half Dollar celebrates the 350th anniversary of the Roanoke Colony, more famously known as the Lost Colony.

Designed by William Marks Simpson the Roanoke Half features Sir Walter Raleigh on the coins obverse and Ellinore Dare with child Virginia Dare on the reverse. Raleigh was granted the charter for colonization by Queen Elizabeth I while Ellinore Dare birthed  the first child born in America to English parents.

Legislation authorized a minimum mintage of 25,000 coins with no maximum and the Philadelphia Mint would strike a total of 50,000 coins. Sales would be better than other recent issues but many would be returned leaving a total of just over 29,000.

Battle of Antietam Half Dollar

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam an act would be approved on the 24th day of June in 1937 authorizing up to 50,000 half dollars. All would be struck at the Philadelphia Mint and eventually 32,000 would be returned for melting, leaving the lowest mintage of the three Civil War themed classic commemoratives (Stone Mountain, Gettysburg, and Antietam).

Also designed by William Marks Simpson the Antietam Half features Generals George B. McClellan and Robert E. Lee on the obverse and the Burnside Bridge on the reverse.

The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) took place on September 17th, 1862. Over 22,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded on that day making it the most bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War.

Roanoke Half Dollar and Battle of Antietam Half coin images acquired with permission from David Lawrence Rare Coins.

June 1

1918 Lincoln-Illinois Centennial Half Dollar

It was on June 1st in 1918 that legislation would pass authorizing 100,000 Illinois Centennial Half Dollars. The silver half would mark the centennial year of the state of Illinois and be the first commemorative issued to sell the full authorized mintage.

Two designers would be needed for the Illinois Centennial Half design since the centennial year was nearly over. The Mint Chief Engraver George T. Morgan would create the obverse portraying a young Abraham Lincoln and John R. Sinnock would complete the reverse depicting a grand version of the Illinois state seal.

You can read more regarding the Lincoln-Illinois Centennial Half Dollar and many more classic and modern commemorative coins in the upcoming Coin Library.

Twenty-Cent Piece and Carson City Mint

1875 CC Twenty-Cent Piece

Also on June 1 but in the year of 1875 production of the twenty-cent piece would began at the Carson City Mint. Production at the Philadelphia Mint had begun on May 19th and the San Francisco Mint would begin sometime between the 1st and the 17th. The twenty-cent piece would have a smooth rim unlike the reeded quarter but they were often confused due to their similarities in size and almost identical obverse design. This confusion would lead to the unpopularity and a very short production span as it would be abolished in May of 1878. Low minting numbers and the authorized melting that included 12,359 pieces in 1877 at Carson City led to what is a true coin collecting rarity, the 1876 CC- twenty-cent piece.

I’ll write much more about the twenty-cent piece in the upcoming Coin Library but an interesting fact regarding the denomination is that Americans were familiar with the twenty-cent piece before the coin because they were passing a Spanish coin known as a “pistareen” for twenty cents.

Featured images includes a 1918 Lincoln-Illinois Centennial Half Dollar and 1875 CC Twenty-Cent piece acquired with permission at David Lawrence Rare Coins. If your interested in purchasing rare and collectible coins, you can find many exceptional pieces at their website.

May 15 1936

Wisconsin Centennial Half Dollar | Delaware Tercentenary Half Dollar | Bridgeport Connecticut Centennial Half Dollar

Wisconsin Centennial Half, Delaware Tercentenary Half, and the Bridgeport Connecticut Centennial Half Dollars all authorized by a busy 74th Congress on the 15th day of May in 1936.