1942 Half Dollar: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

The 1942 Walking Liberty half dollar is one of the more picturesque collector’s gems within the coinage history of the United States thanks to designer Adolph Weinman’s striking portrayal of Liberty striding towards the sun on the obverse.

The Walking Liberty half dollar replaced a design by long-time Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber in early 1916.

In 1915, new Mint Director, Robert W. Woolley, was under the misperception that the Mint was required by law to replace any coin designs which had been in circulation for 25 years.

Thus, Woolley’s misinterpretation of a law (which only stipulated that coins must be in circulation for 25 years with no required end date) led to a Commission of Fine Arts-led competition to replace the previous Barber coinage – dimes, half dollars, and quarters.

Adolph Weinman’s initial design ideas led to him being commissioned to replace both the dime and the half dollar, beating out competing designers Hermon MacNeil and Albin Polasek for the commission.

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1920 Wheat Penny: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

The 1920 wheat penny is a fun collector’s coin which marks the first of many reverse designs on the Lincoln cent since its inception in 1909.

And that inception came in a swirl of intrigue after the sculptor initially commissioned to design the new cent, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, died in 1907 before he could submit an approved design for the coin.

His previous designs meant for the cent piece were adapted for four gold coins, leaving the cent open to be rethought and reimagined.

In January 1909, the Mint tabbed design Victor D. Brenner to design a new penny with President Abraham Lincoln’s bust on the obverse – an homage to fall in line with the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.

Interestingly enough, Brenner’s appointment was likely thanks to another president.

President Theodore Roosevelt sat for Brenner in late 1908 so the sculptor could craft an image for a medal issued by the Panama Canal Commission.

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1966 Dime: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

The 1966 Roosevelt dime was minted during a tumultuous transitional period for the coin.

It is a coin which bridges two eras and bears a unique distinction as being produced in one of three years where mint marks were banned, leaving no tell as to where your particular 1966 Roosevelt dime may have been minted.

The Roosevelt dime’s inception came in 1946, just a year after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s battle with polio led to his passing.

Before his death, Roosevelt helped to found the March of Dimes, the purpose of which was to push forward the fight against the crippling disease.

His staunch support for the March of Dimes and his undoubted place at the apex of the pantheon of American presidents was the impetus for a bill which was introduced not even a month after his passing by Louisiana representative James Hobson Morrison, calling for the Mercury Dime to be replaced by a new Roosevelt dime.

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1944 Quarter: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

While the Washington quarter remains in circulation as the current 25-cent piece issued by the United States Mint, the 1944 Washington quarter is a collector’s gem of a bygone era for the coin.

With the bicentennial of the birth of the nation’s first president, George Washington, slated for 1932, members of a special bicentennial committee in Congress sought to replace the Walking Liberty half dollar with a Washington half dollar.

However, production issues with the striking of the Standing Liberty quarter (1916-1930) and the ubiquitous nature of the 25-cent piece led Congress to commissioning a Washington quarter instead.

The bicentennial committee had already engaged sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser to design a commemorative Washington medal, and the initial idea was to have her adapt her depiction of Washington for the new quarter – a decision backed by the Commission of Fine Arts.

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1964 Nickel: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

The 1964 Jefferson nickel has the highest mintage total of any nickel in United States history, totaling nearly three billion coins made.

Nickels dated 1964 were being produced well into 1966 – the only mintage year that carried over through multiple years in the history of the coin.

The first nickel to hit even one billion in coins minted, the 1964 Jefferson nickel’s extremely large mintage numbers are attributed to a shortage of other coins in circulation at the time due to the hoarding of silver in the early-to-mid 1960s.

Mintmarks were suspended from 1965-67 in response to the coin shortage in hopes of deterring coin hoarders from stashing mintmarked coins.

The more obvious adverse effects of the shortage ended in late 1966/early 1967 and mintmarks resumed in 1968.

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