1920-1921 pilgrim banner

1920-1921 Pilgrim Tercentenary Half Dollar

 1921 Pilgrim Tercentenary Obverse     1921 Pilgrim Tercentenary Reverse

 

Click the images above for enhanced view.

 

Purpose:

 

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts and raise funds for local celebrations. 

 

Maximum Number Authorized: 300,000 pieces.

 

Sale Price: $1.00

 

Designs:

 

    Obverse – Cyrus Dallin

Portrait of Governor William Bradford carrying a Bible under his left arm. Underneath the portrait appears the inscription “PILGRIM HALF DOLLAR.” 

 

Online Resource: http://mayflowerhistory.com/bradford-william

  

   Reverse – Cyrus Dallin

A side view of the Mayflower sailing west. The dates 1620-1920 are underneath the ship. “PILGRIM TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION” is located within the rim.

 

Online Resource: https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/mayflower 

 

Popularity:

 

In 1920, 200,000 pieces were minted for distribution by the Pilgrim Tercentenary Commission. In 1921, an additional 100,000 examples were produced at the Philadelphia Mint. In total, the coin did not sell particularly well with 48,000 coins dated 1920 returned and 80,000 dated 1921 surrendered for melting. 

 

Pilgrim Tercentenary Online Resource:  

 

https://www.themayflowersociety.org/blog/item/261-tercentenary-how-plymouth-celebrated-its-300th-anniversary-in-1920-21 

 

Trivia:

 

  • Cyrus Dallin’s original design included the words “Holy Bible” on the cover of the book. The words were removed before the master die was created.                                                             

  • On the reverse of the coin, the Mayflower is depicted with a flying jib. This type of sail was not in use when the Mayflower sailed.

  • After returning to the Mayflower while searching for a suitable settlement, William Bradford learned that his wife Dorothy had fallen overboard and drowned. She was 23 years old. 

  • The Pilgrims who traveled on the Mayflower were actually known as Separatists because they wished to separate from the Church of England.

  • The Pilgrim Tercentenary was the first United States commemorative coin that was minted in more than one year.< /p>

For more information:

 

Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States by Anthony J. Swiatek 

KWS Publishers (2012)

 

Commemorative Coins of the United States Identification and Price Guide by Anthony J. Swiatek

Amos Press Publishers (2001)

 

The Pilgrim Spirit: A Pageant in Celebration of the Tercentenary of the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts December 21, 1620 by George Baker                                                      

Marshall Jones Company Publishers (2015)

 

References:

 

Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States by Anthony J. Swiatek

KWS Publishers (2012)

 

The Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins 1892 to 1954 by Anthony Swiatek and Walter Breen

Arco Publishing, Inc. (1981)