1936 Bridgeport, Connecticut, Centennial Half Dollar

1936 Bridgeport, Connecticut, Centennial Half Dollar


To commemorate P.T. Barnum, a favorite son of Bridgeport, and the centennial celebration for the city.


Maximum Number Authorized: 25,000 as a minimum with an unlimited maximum.

Sale Price: $2.00


    Obverse – Henry Kreiss

Bust of Phineas Taylor Barnum, facing left. The inscription “BRIDGEPORT CONNECTICUT CENTENNIAL1836-1936” is located around the coin's border. “P.T. BARNUM” is found below the bust.

Online Resource: https://barnum-museum.org/about/about-p-t-barnum/


   Reverse – Henry Kreiss

An Art Deco stylized eagle with folded wings standing atop an edge. The eagle is facing right. The designer's initial is located in the lower right field.



25,000 examples were struck for the public. With the minimum struck, no further examples were made and none were returned to the Mint.


  • P.T. Barnum was the mayor of Bridgeport in 1875. 

  • If inverted, the eagle on the reverse of the coin strongly resembles a shark.

  • One of Barnum's most successful attractions was Joice Heth, who Barnum claimed took care of infant George Washington and was 161 tears old. Upon her death in 1836, her body was subjected to a public autopsy where it was determined that she was about 80 years old when she died.

  • An official song was written for the Bridgeport Centennial celebration called Bridgeport by the Sea.

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)

P.T. Barnum: America's Greatest Showman by Philip B. Kunhardt

Knopf Publishers (1995)


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)

 1936 Bridgeport Obverse       1936 Bridgeport Reverse

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