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U.S. Mint | Coin of the Month

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1986 Statue of Liberty Half Dollar

Cheerio, my friends! For this month’s coin, we’ll be dipping into the past, but not the very distant past.  The year 1876 was the 100th anniversary of the year our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.  As a monument to that event and to the partnership between France and the United States in the Revolutionary War, a French sculptor created a colossal statue he called “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

Ten years after the 1876 centennial, New York’s harbor became the home to the statue we commonly know today as the Statue of Liberty.

Fast forward another 100 years, and you come to 1986, the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.  Three coins were created to honor Lady Liberty at that time.  We’re looking at the half dollar coin.  There was also a dollar and a gold five-dollar coin.

Some important August events are associated with the Statue.

  • August 2, 1834:  The statue’s sculptor and designer, Auguste Bartholdi, was born in France.
  • August 1876:  The arm and torch of the statue arrived for display at a Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, celebrating the 100th anniversary of American independence.
  • August 5, 1884:  The cornerstone was laid on Bedloe’s Island in New York for the pedestal on which the statue stands.
  • August 1885:  The full amount of funds was finally raised so the pedestal could be finished.  The disassembled statue had arrived by boat in June of that year.
  • August 2004:  The pedestal was reopened to the public, closed since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the nearby World Trade Center.

The Statue was built in Paris in 1884, then taken apart for its ocean voyage.  In 1886, Bartholdi was in New York to oversee the Statue’s assembly on its new pedestal.

Both of the designs on this coin refer to immigrants arriving by boat to make a new home in America.  Bartholdi had hand-picked Bedloe’s Island because immigrants would see the statue as they sailed past it to enter the country.  The island’s name was later changed to “Liberty Island,” its name today.

And so we have a coin that honors a symbol of freedom known throughout the world.

—Inspector Collector

Check out the original article here.

Check out all the Coin of the Month posts here.

Images and copy by the U.S. Mint

Written by Robert L. Wilson

August 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

U.S. Mint | Coin of the Month

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1926 Independence Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagle

Here’s a commemorative coin that’s a great subject for July and Independence Day.  It marks the sesquicentennial (that’s a fancy word for 150th anniversary) of the year the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress.

Finding a specimen of this coin is pretty hard…especially finding one in really good condition.  One reason is that the coins weren’t sold in protective packaging, so survivors tend to be worn.  Another reason is that only 200,000 were made, and only about 46,000 of them were sold.  The rest were melted down after the fair

The fair was a huge 6-month-long exposition held in Philadelphia, birthplace of the nation.  The arts, sciences, and industries created major exhibits.  Coin sales were to help offset the cost of the fair.

By the way, a quarter eagle is a gold coin marked $2.50.  So how much would an eagle be?  If you figured $10.00, you’re right!  Four times as much!

Liberty’s clothing (on the front of the coin) is modern for its day.  Its straight lines and tight cap were fashionable in the 1920s when it was made.  The building on the back is Independence Hall, the state house of Pennsylvania, where the Declaration was signed.  Check out the original article here.  Images and copy by the U.S. Mint

Check out all the Coin of the Month posts here.

Written by Robert L. Wilson

July 19, 2012 at 9:19 am

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