• seperator

Not everyone knows who graces the half


clinic1.jpgWho is on the current half dollar?

I?ve been getting questions about Roosevelt on the dime for several years, but this is the first for the half dollar ? from a school teacher. The bust is that of President Robert F. Kennedy.


With postage costs currently at 42 cents an ounce and going up at every opportunity, I?m curious about postage costs in the past.

First Class postage was down to three cents in the 1850s, spurring the issue of the silver 3-cent and $3 gold. It dropped to two cents from 1919 to 1932. The current rise in rates began with an increase to three cents in 1932. In 1958 it went to four cents, and in 1963 to five cents, with the next raise in 1968.


Is there any record of the first Morgan dollar, struck in 1878?

The coin was located in the Rutherford B. Hayes Library and Museum in Freemont, Ohio. Silver dollar experts Leroy Van Allen and Pete Bishal found the certificate in 1980 in the library files among correspondence from Chief Coiner O.C. Bosbyshell, indicating that the coin had been struck March 11, 1878. The second went to Treasury Secretary John Sherman, and the third of 10 proofs struck went to James Pollock, director of the Mint.


We know of attempts to get the turkey on our coins by Ben Franklin, but wasn?t a duel fought over a proposal to put a goose on the first dollar?

A challenge, but no duel. Congressman Mathew Lyon opposed putting the eagle on the coin. In response Judge Thatcher proposed the goose, commenting that ?the goslings would fit on the dime.? The resulting laughter angered Lyon, who issued the challenge, but Thatcher refused it, saying Lyon knew he was a coward or he wouldn?t have offered to fight. The two made up and became good friends, but the eagle won.


From all the accounts it would seem that newspapers carried a lot more weight a century ago than they do now. An example is the ability of a newspaper story to get the Mint to change the location of Gobrecht?s name on the dollar. Why the difference?

At that time newspapers were the principal news source, leading to the axiom ?If it ain?t in the newspaper, it didn?t happen.? Today a story like that, even on TV, probably would be ignored by the Mint.


Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

This entry was posted in Articles, Coin Clinic, Features. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply