Long Island Tercentenary 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|
|Mint marks||None, all pieces struck at Philadelphia Mint without mint mark.|
|Design||Native American and Dutch settler|
|Designer||Howard Kenneth Weinman|
|Design||Dutch sailing vessel|
|Designer||Howard Kenneth Weinman|
The Long Island Tercentenary half dollar was created by an act of Congress in 1936. The obverse depicts a male Dutch settler and an Algonquian tribesman, and the reverse shows a Dutch sailing ship.
In 1936, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first Dutch settlement on Long Island, the Long Island Tercentenary Committee was formed to help plan not only celebrations commemorating these events, but also to propose commemorative half dollar which would help fund the celebrations. However, this decision came too late, as while the festivities were planned for May of 1936, the bill which authorized the commemorative coins passed that same month. The legislation called for a minimum of 5,000 coins were to be minted, while the maximum number of coins was set at 100,000.
However, as the committee had planned ahead, it had already commissioned sculptor Howard Kenneth Weinman (the son of sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman, known for designing the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half dollar) to design the coin. Although the committee wanted to have the coins ready in time for the festivities, the final models were not complete until June, at which point they were quickly approved by the Commission of Fine Arts. Production began in July, a full 2 months after the Tercentenary celebrations had concluded, with the entire maximum authorized mintage of 100,000 coins being struck at the Philadelphia Mint. In addition, 53 coins were struck for assay purposes, making a total mintage of 100,053 coins.
The coins were delivered from the mint to the National City Bank in Brooklyn. The committee wanted to assure the coins' availability, so the coins were sold to the public at various places for $1 each. 50,000 coins were offered for sale at the office of the Brooklyn Eagle. Additionally, 25,000 coins were offered for sale in Queens, 15,000 in Nassau County and 10,000 in Suffolk County. Despite arriving late, the coins sold relatively well, with 81,826 coins out of the 100,000 being sold. As was the norm with other early commemoratives, the remaining unsold coins were returned to the mint for melting.
As the coins sold well, the Long Island Tercentenary half dollar is often considered as one of the more common early commemoratives. However, few coins survive in gem condition. Problems commonly encountered include wear or bag marks on the high points of the coin, such as on the cheek of the Dutch settler on the obverse and the sails of the ship on the reverse. One reason for this is that the coin design, especially on the reverse, is relatively flat, thus making it prone to bag marks. In addition, various degrees and satin-like luster are frequently seen in higher-grade pieces.
- Chuck Slater (2002-09-01). "In 1936, the Island Had Own Half Dollar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- "1936 Long Island 50C MS Silver Commemoratives". www.ngccoin.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "1936 Long Island Tercentenary Commemorative Half Dollar". Coin Update. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "1936 Long Island Tercentenary Half Dollar Commemorative Coin". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- Media related to Long Island Tercentenary half dollar at Wikimedia Commons