DrDarryl's Blog

24 Dec 2016

Hawaii So-Called 50c: Low Volcano vs High Volcano Variety Discovery

Exonumia | DrDarryl

This blog entry was updated 12/28/2016  (as seen with italicized  text).

I made this discovery back in February 2013 .

Click link --> https://thehawaiiananumismatist.com/2013/03/03/new-discovery-2ms-4-aka-sc50c-1959-hawaii-statehood-heraldic-art-medal/

The hula girl and volcano is the obverse of the medal.

The low volcano variety die (with reference to hula girl's chin) was used on the thin silver planchets and limited gold planchets. This variety is shown on the right side of the detailed image.

The high volcano variety die (with reference to the hula girl's forehead) was used on the thin and thick planchets. This variety is shown on the left side of the detailed image.

Note:  Additional differences is seen in the clouds, shoreline waves, and the smaller volcanos.

I surmise the following: 

1. Low volcano obverse die was used on the initial striking of thin silver planchets.

2. Low volcano obverse die was used on the striking of gold planchets.

3. At some point, the high volcano die was switched in to continue striking thin silver planchets.

4. At some point, a planchet change occurred (US Government request/direction due to same dimension as US half dollar) resulting in the high volcano die  and a  "medal configured "  reverse die   used to strike thick silver planchets. I believe that  the replacement reverse die was switched-in and placed incorrectly  in a  180 degree rotated position or "medal configuration" .

5. At some point, the reverse die's "medal configuration" error was noticed and the reverse die was placed in the proper "coin configuration", resulting in the   high volcano die  and a "coin configured" reverse die  being used to strike thick silver planchets.

I performed a survey of NGC certified silver Hawaii art heraldic medals and I could not locate a thick planchet with a low volcano. Also, I could not locate any gold high volcano specimens.

There are now five known varieties  of the Hawaii Statehood So-Called 50C.

1. Thin silver medal  with low volcano.

2. Gold medal with low volcano.

3.  Thin silver medal with high  volcano.

4. Thick silver medal with high volcano  struck with  medal configured (180 degree rotated ) reverse die.

5. Thick silver medal  with high volcano struck with  coin configured (non-rotated ) reverse die.

(There is a need for a  so-called half dollar / heraldic art medals comprehensive catalog)



Level 5

Research that inspires others will always be remembered.


Level 5

I own one of the thin planchet/high volcano varieties. https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinView.aspx?sc=430672

Pliny The Elder

Level 5

Your blog really points out the adventure and discovery that is out there in coins. You also have such a nice scientific viewpoint. Thanks for sharing it.


Level 5

Nice blog. The Heraldic Art medals had some stunning issues. I never knew until now that there were die varieties.

Conan Barbarian

Level 5

this is what collecting really is, researching and finding new things about coins that no one has ever noticed before


Level 6

Nice research. Enjoyed your blog!


Level 7

Look I said before it pays to go over old coins . I wrote a blog on do we know what were buying. This is a perfect example of it. You buy a regular coin look at it maybe a month later and you find a piece like this beauty thanks for all the information and the pictures it pays to go over your coins slabbed or not. Great blog!


Level 6

Great detailed work. There are always new discoveries to be made in this hobby!

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