Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by WingedLiberty, Feb 24, 2016.
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(By the way, this is not my coin, it's a PR67 with one of the best strikes I've ever seen in that series.)
(Coin shown is Simpson's stunning PR68)
Strong contributor was the "Winged Victory" statue. Shown below as part of the Sherman Memorial (I believe).
That's a nice one.
On June 20, 1945, about four million people jammed onto the streets of New York City for a World War II victory parade. Buried in the the crowd was a young artist and junior U.S. Mint engraver, Frank Gasparro (1909-2001) hoping for a glimpse of his hero, 5-Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Towards the end of the parade, Frank did get a brief glimpse of his hero, and that one fleeting moment changed future U.S. numismatic history.
As soon as he returned to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, Gasparro made a sketch that captured Eisenhower's strong and determined gaze. Twenty-Six years later that sketch became the inspiration for one of America's most legendary modern coins – the Eisenhower Dollar.
The story of the Eisenhower Dollar starts with the Apollo 11 space mission. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. With America caught up in "space fever", the U.S. Mint looked for a way to honor this world-changing moon-landing event and it needed a coin as impressive as the achievement itself. So the one-dollar coin was resurrected. That large coin size/denomination hadn't been used since 1935, the final year of the Peace Silver Dollar.
At the same time, the Mint wanted to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower, who died shortly before Apollo 11. Since as president, Eisenhower helped create NASA -- and without his vision, the moon landing might never have happened -- Eisenhower and Apollo 11 became the perfect match for this coin. So Frank Gasparro began work on mating his old 26 year old sketch of Eisenhower with the Apollo 11 Mission Insignia to create this new coin.
The Eisenhower Dollar was minted from 1971 through 1978. However there are no Eisenhower Dollars dated 1975, since that entire year was used to strike the 1976 bicentennial dollars which had a special reverse featuring the Liberty Bell. Special 40% Silver Ikes were struck for Collectors at the San Francisco mint throughout the series. These coins were basically unloved and little used during their short run, but have been undergoing a collector resurrection in recent years due to their large size, low cost, and short run making collecting the complete set a relatively low cost endeavor.
However it should be noted that extremely high-grade business strikes are quite rare and expensive due to their low field populations -- PCGS lists MS67 business strikes as having a fair market value of between $4,000 and $15,000 each, depending on the year. High grade proofs remain very low priced however.
Frank Gasparro working on a proposed Liberty Head Design Dollar Coin in 1977
Coin is a PR66BN (not mine) of provenance "Larry Shepherd Collection".
From internet searches ...
The two-cent piece was designed by James B. Longacre and was produced for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for minted for collectors only in 1873. Mintages steadily decreased each year.
The obverse design is a Longacre version of the Great Seal of the United States. His design focuses on the shield, or escutcheon, as a defensive weapon, signifying strength and self-protection through unity. The upper part of the shield (or "chief") symbolizes Congress, while the 13 vertical stripes (or "paleways") represent the states. Consequently the entire escutcheon symbolizes the strength of the federal government through the unity of the states.
The crossed arrows represent nonaggression, but imply readiness against attack. The laurel branches, taken from Greek tradition, symbolize victory. In heraldic engraving, vertical lines represent red, clear areas white and horizontal lines blue, thus the escutcheon is (in theory) colored red, white, and blue and is meant to evoke the American flag.
Art historian Cornelius Vermeule deemed the two-cent piece "the most Gothic and the most expressive of the Civil War" of all American coins. "The shield, arrows, and wreath of the obverse need only flanking cannon to be the consummate expression of Civil War heraldry."
Longacre's two-cent piece was the first coin inscribed with "In God We Trust". The motto was popularized by the new coin; on March 3, 1865 Congress passed legislation ordering its use on all coins large enough to permit it. Since 1938, "In God We Trust" has been used on all American coins.
The background of the motto is as follows. In late 1861, Reverend Mark Watkinson of Pennsylvania, had wrote to Treasury Secretary Chase and Mint Director Pollock, proposing that some reference to God be placed on the coinage "in this time of Civil War". Several motto's were considered, including "God Our Trust" and "God and Our Country". He later wrote "the motto on each, such as all who fear God and love their country, will approve." Chase responded that it should be changed to read: "IN GOD WE TRUST." Pollock had been inspired by The Star Spangled Banner, a later stanza of which includes the line, "And this be our motto, In God Is Our Trust". Chase may have also been influenced in his decision by the motto of his alma mater, Brown University, which read In Deo Speramus (In God We Hope).
(trying to improve this a bit!)
I came across the Wikipedia article for the 1892-93 Columbian Expo half dollar commemorative (Link) and thought it was neat that they had Barber's original concept art.
This many not actually "belong" in this thread, since the original design was (as far as I can tell) scrapped and re-designed by Olin Levi Warner.
But still a cool comparison.
Some neat "factoids" (for the Paul Harvey fans out there: "... and now you know... the REST of the story!):
The first U.S. commemorative coin
First American coin to depict a historical person
Issued to raise funds for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition
Also commemorated 400th anniversary of 1st voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World
That failed miserably; over half of the 5 million were melted down
Iowa Senator William B. Allison said concerning the coins: "Children would cry for them and the old men would demand them."
Barber added his monogram "B" to the design; it is on the cut-off of the bust above the letter B in "Columbian"
Morgan's "M" is hidden in the rigging of the ship on the reverse
The Boston Globe noted, "The first view of the new Columbian souvenir coin inevitably leads to expression of regret that Columbus wasn't a better looking man." (Oh, snap!)
One reason for the lack of sales, and for the poor condition of many surviving specimens, was that while the fair was open, the economic Panic of 1893 began, one of the worst depressions in the nation's history—fifty cents could make the difference between a family eating or starving at a time when the average visitor to the fair spent $1.18. Fairgoers were disinclined to exchange a dollar for a fifty-cent piece, and those who had bought before the crash often spent their souvenirs
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