Exhibit: Columbian Expo Half - 1893 - Jan 2009 - Magman

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Magman, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

    1892 was the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus's exploration of the "New World." Because of this, the World's Fair, which took place in Chicago from October 1892 - October 1893 (although the Fair officially didn't open to the public until May 1893), was named after, and celebrated this occasion.

    The 1893 World's Fair had many "firsts," including: Cracker Jacks, a Ferris wheal, Quaker Oats, Juicy Fruit, Ragtime music, elongated coins, stamps, and of course... commemorative coins.

    There were 2 distinct types of coins minted for this. One was the Isabella Quarter (designed by Charles Barber), which, aside from being very expensive now had a fairly low mintage of around 40,000 - however, these did not sell well and a bunch were sent to the mint for melting, there were only around 24,000 left afterwards.

    But that's not the coin this is about - it's too expensive for me :p

    This is about the Columbian Half Dollar (also designed by Barber), of which many more were minted, and was sold at the fair for $1.

    The Obverse:

    The Reverse:

    The obverse shows a bust of Columbus, which was based of a portrait that Lorenzo Lotto painted in 1512, although no one actually knows what he looks like.
    Link for info and portrait: http://www.christopher-columbus.eu/portraits.htm

    The reverse shows the Santa Maria, above the two hemispheres of the earth and says "World's Columbian Exposition - Chicago - 189x"

    There are two dates of these, 1892 and 1893. Mintage began in November of 1892, and continued into 1893 (hence both dates).
    They were only minted at the Philadelphia Mint, with a limit of 5 Million, however, they did not sell that many, and the total amount, of they melted some comes to around 2.5 Million.

    One interesting thing about these is that one can find, like the one I pictured, well circulated examples.
    In order to fund the fair the sponsors of the fair took out loans, a number of half dollars were "held by banks as security against loans made to the Exposition"* - however, when they were unable to pay the loans they were dumped into circulation. (ya feel kinda bad for those who paid a dollar for theirs, huh?). But a lot of these may have general wear since anyone could buy them, and many people may not have known how to handle the coins to keep them in their pristine condition.
    note: the lowest grade I've seen (on ebay) was Fine.


    Software used: Photoshop 7 (I was going to use Gimp 2.6, but I didn't want to spend the time learning the new version, lol).
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  3. rzage

    rzage What Goes Around Comes Around .

    It's a well designed coin , to bad you can find them in dealers $14 Junk bins . Good thread Mag .
  4. borgovan

    borgovan Supporter**

    I don't want to ruin the thread, or else I'd post pics of the one I picked up today for $5. It has a tiny loop welded to the top, for use as a piece of jewelry.
  5. LSM

    LSM Collector

    Mag, thanks for the post. Enjoyed reading it. I have a couple of these coins in my collection.

  6. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Wonderfuil. You know that the Columbian is one of my favorite coins and I happened to have picked one up in circulation which I use as an icon on my website. Nice Work...

  7. FreakyGarrettC

    FreakyGarrettC Wise young snail

    Love it! Very educational. :thumb:
  8. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

    thanks. The one pictured I purchased jsut the other day for $12. The guy had a bunch, and was the only one that didn't have some really high grade ones. Some others he had were better condition, but kinda "dirty", but I digress.

    thanks :)
    One of my favorite Commem's as well.
    but you found yours in circulation!?!
  9. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

    Oh yeah!
    One more piece of info that I forgot:

    Columbus's portrait on the half dollar is also featured on one of the Admission Tickets. The other admission tickets feature Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, an Indian Chief and 2 others.
    The company that printed the tickets , is the same company that printed Fractional Currency :)
  10. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Old Story already 'round these parts. Do a search for the thread.

  11. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

    I must have missed it.
    I found that thread though, that's really cool! You paid less than a fair-goer did! lol
  12. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    yes - that was a good day.

  13. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Exhibit: Columbian Expo Half - 1893 - Jan 2009 - Magman http://www.cointalk.com/forum/t45786/

           Art    Edu     Nui    FS      TOT           GT
      	5  	8  	9  	0  	22  		107
    	7 	6 	7 	0 	20 	
    	10 	1 	9 	0 	20 	
    	7 	7 	8 	0 	22 	
    	8 	8 	7 	0	23 	
  14. Harryj

    Harryj Supporter**

    Nice Post Magman!!!!!!!!! Thanks!!!
  15. heliospace

    heliospace Junior Member

    I wanted to point out also that there were tokens available. I have secured one of them. I also have an original columbia expo 1892 in the original bag and bezel many were to have been given out in.

    But the tokens I do not understand and haven't located much information. I have one. I see one sold on ebay recently. Apparently there were two types of tokens -- these are US GOVT BUILDING [obverse] TREASURY DEPARTMENT WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION CHICAGO 1893 UNITED STATES MINT EXHIBIT [reverse]

    My token has LARGE lettering on the obverse, the one on ebay that recently sold had small lettering. Maybe somebody can enlighten me about this? I just recently got into commemoratives and am absolutely loving them. ;-)

    Anyways, have a great weekend everbody.

    [If pics are needed of this token, I'll gladly scan it if nobody can come up with an explanation of the small/large lettering on the obverse banner... thanks!]

  16. mrbrklyn

    mrbrklyn New Member

    Mags - where are your graphics?
  17. Magman

    Magman U.S. Money Collector

  18. The Penny Lady®

    The Penny Lady® Coin Dealer

    Great information, looks like you spent a lot of time researching this, thanks for sharing! (sorry, but the photos aren't showing up for me).
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