Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 1581

1893 Columbian Half Dollar. PCGS graded MS-67. Nice iridescent toning around the edges. A superb, boldly struck example with glistening luster. The 1892-93 Columbian half dollars represent the first American "souvenir coin," as such pieces were called in the early days. From a technical viewpoint, the 1848 CAL quarter eagle was a souvenir coin and a commemorative, recognized as such by experts and specialists today, but not listed under the commemorative series. For the standard commemorative listing this is the beginning.

The World's Columbian Exposition was expected to open in Chicago in 1892 to observe the 400th anniversary of Columbus' "discovery" of America. A grand city of alabaster white was erected on the shore of Lake Michigan, not of stone but of plaster and other temporary materials. The process fell hopelessly behind schedule, and although some ceremonies were held in the proper year, 1892, it was not until 1893 that the gates were thrown open to the general public, and all of the displays and concessions operated in full force. This necessitated the production of an 1893 Columbian half dollar, observing the 401st anniversary of Columbus' arrival in Americathe first, but certainly not the last, of weird anniversary celebrations.

Columbian half dollars of 1892 and 1893 were placed on sale at $1 each, and the reception was enthusiastic. However, the mintage of about 2,500,000 pieces far exceeded the demand, and large numbers were placed into circulation at face valuea poor public relations move, as those who had paid $1 were disillusioned. Such pieces were seen in everyday change for decades afterward. Pop 9; 2 finer in 67+ (PCGS # 9297) .
Estimated Value $7,000 - 7,500.

Realized $9,200

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