Albany Charter half dollar
|Value||50 cents (0.50 US dollars)|
|Thickness||2.15 mm (0.08 in)|
|Silver||0.36169 troy oz|
|Years of minting||1936|
|Mintage||17,671 (7,342 melted)|
|Mint marks||None, all pieces struck at Philadelphia Mint without mint mark.|
|Design||Thomas Dongan, Pieter Schuyler, and Robert Livingston|
The Albany Charter half dollar, also known as the Albany-Dongan half dollar, was minted in 1936.
The United States Congress authorized on June 16, 1936 the minting of 25,000 half dollar coins celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Dongan Charter. These were legal tender, though few actually ever circulated. The Albany Dongan Charter Coin Committee was established to approve the design and chose Gertrude Lathrop, an Albany native, to create a design. Lathrop she would also go on to design the New Rochelle commemorative coin.
All 25,013 coins were minted at the Philadelphia Mint, the 13 extra were for the assay commission and were destroyed. Other commemorative coins of this period normally sold for $1.00 or $1.50. The Albany Charter Coin was priced at $2.00. The commemorative coin mania that had been sweeping the country in the spring and summer of 1936 had already seen close to twenty other commemorative coins issued that same year, and had abated by the time of this issuing. 7,342 coins were returned to Philadelphia and melted in 1943 and between 1,600 and 2,400 were sold in 1954 by the State Bank of Albany.
As of 2009[update] the coins can fetch $330 for an uncirculated coin rated as MS-60, and $470 for an MS-65. Original packaging, which is more rare, included a four-page booklet containing an illustration of the coin, a history of Albany, and slots for one to five coins. Both the booklet and the envelope it came in are highly collectible today. Even scarcer today are boxes designed to hold single coins and inscribed with "The National Commercial Bank and Trust Company of Albany".
The Albany Charter coin is 30.6 millimetres (1.20 in) in diameter and weighs 12.5 grams (0.44 oz), with a reeded edge, and was 90% silver with 10% copper. The obverse is a beaver gnawing on a maple branch, which represents the importance that the fur trade had in Albany's economy, with the maple used since it is New York's state tree. Seeds of a maple tree separate the words "United States of America" from "Half Dollar", which are arranged around the bottom periphery while "E pluribus unum" and "In God We Trust" appear in small letters above the beaver. On the reverse are Governor Dongan, Robert Livingston, and Mayor Schuyler standing in front of a pine tree on a base inscribed with the year 1936. The artist's initials, "GKL", are inscribed next to the governor's feet. The mayor is holding the new charter and shaking hands with the governor. Above the three men is an eagle with the legend "Liberty". Arranged along the top periphery are the words "Settled 1614 Chartered 1686", while "Albany, N Y" arcs across the bottom; pine cones separate the two inscriptions.
- "1936 Albany Charter Half Dollar". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- "PUBLIC—NO. 687—74TH CONGRESS H.R. 7690". United States Congress. June 16, 1936. Archived from the original on May 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- Paul M. Green (March 30, 2009). "Albany Half Dollar One of Many 1936 Issues". Numismatic News. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- Media related to Albany Charter half dollar at Wikimedia Commons