Presentation on theme: "The Coins of 1939 A 1939-P Walking Liberty Half dollar."— Presentation transcript:
The Coins of 1939 A 1939-P Walking Liberty Half dollar
Even if you turned 70 this year you would not have remembered the 1939-40 New York Words Fair.
To a youngster between the ages of five and ten, the 1939 New York City Worlds Fair was like a trip into the distant future. At left, the famed Trylon and Perisphere.
The Fair was pitched as The World of Tomorrow The Trylon was a 700 foot spire-shaped structure that housed the worlds longest escalator. The Perisphere at180 feet in diameter, was tremendous. It depicted a futuristic metropolis called Democracity seen from a moving sidewalk. It was the most popular site at the fair and it was a pity that after the fair ended, it was razed and used as scrap metal for other projects. A small replica marks the spot where it once stood.
Our coinage was stunning also. The obverses of a 1939-P Year set
So were the reverses. The reverses of the 1939-P Year set
After 1933 the US stopped producing gold coins and with the striking of the Peace dollar in 1935, silver dollar coinage also came to an end leaving only five denominations; the cent, nickel, dime quarter and half dollar. These coins were struck at all three Mints located in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. From 1936 on, most of the denominations were struck in fairly large numbers, especially those in Philadelphia. As a result, most 1939 coins are inexpensive in all grades up through Mint State-64.
A 1932 $10.00 gold piece, probably the last and most affordable date to collect of the $10.00 eagle denomination.
A 1935 Peace dollar, the last silver dollar date intended for circulation and common enough to be affordable up through MS-63
In 1939, the workhorse of the economy was the 5¢ nickel A 1939 Jefferson nickel. The coin could be used for public transit, a soda, an ice cream cone, a candy bar, a newspaper, the parking meter and lots, lots more.
Observing the Walking Liberty half dollar and Mercury dime one has to admire the artistry of Adolph A. Weinman, the sculptor who engraved both coins back in 1916. Who was the woman on these coins?
The model for these two coins was the young wife of the poet Wallace Stevens who was said to be quite beautiful. Shortly after the Stevens were married they rented an apartment in New York City whose landlord just happened to be Weinman. The sculptor needed a model to sit for his rendition of the new dime and half dollar competition of 1916 and Elsie posed for him to help defray the cost of the rent. Her husband Wallace Stevens later became a successful Insurance Company executive and wrote poetry as a means of escape from the stringent requirements of business. Along with Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens became one of the most prominent poets of the first half of the 20 th Century.
Weinmans reverses for the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half dollar are among the most beautiful as well.
There is one coin struck in 1939 that still represents the key to its series. A BU 1939-D Jefferson nickel. It is the key date to the regular issues of the long running series but is not especially rare.
In 1939 the Lincoln cent turned 30. The Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half dollar celebrated their 23rd birthdays. The Washington quarter was seven and the Jefferson nickel, just one. The nickel was actually struck in two subtle reverse varieties that year; the types of 38 and 40. The first variety features the steps of 1938, rounded and not very well defined while those of 1940 are framed in a narrow rectangle and appear to be sharper
Details showing the modifications made to the steps of Monticello 1939 rounded steps of 38 at left and 1939 framed steps of 40 at right
A BU 1939-D Year Set in Lucite holder All are affordable up thru MS-64.
A 1939-S Walking Liberty Half dollar The 1939-S Walking Liberty half dollar had a mintage of 2,552,000, one-half that of the Denver Mint and one-third of the Philadelphia Mint outputs and is more expensive than its 1939-P & D counterparts but still affordable up through MS-64.
8,795 Proof Sets were struck in 1939. The original price was $1.89. A 1939 Proof Set
1939 Commemorative Coinage An amazing 1939 Oregon Trail 50¢ piece (Courtesy of Heritage Auction Archives)
A 1939-D Arkansas commemorative 50¢ (Courtesy of Heritage Auction Archives)
1939 Worlds Fair Official Token Obverse: Trylon and Perisphere inscribed New York Worlds Fair and dated 1939 below. Reverse: Official Token inscribed within beaded oval Created by Order / of the Executive / Committee. / March 27th, 1939 / (signed) Grover W. Whalen / President / +; outside, around * New York Worlds Fair 1939 Incorporated HK-491 Silver, reeded edge. Oval, Size 22 x 19.
1939 Worlds Fair memorabilia Trylon and Perisphere 3¢ postage stamp shown at left and grave marker placed where the real Trylon and Perisphere once stood, at right.
For most, the 1939 NY Worlds Fair was a place to explore the possibilities of the future. -The End-