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18 Sep 2015

The Coins of the 1893 Columbian Exposition

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_7392

Lately my history class has been learning about the voyages of Columbus and other explorers. This made me think about the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. This event celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the Americans. Numerous medals and tokens were made to commemorate the Exposition, but the kings of all of them were the two silver coins produced by the U.S. Mint.


The first of these coins is the half dollar. It was designed by Olin Lewis Warner and engraved by George T. Morgan and Charles E. Barber. The obverse features a right-facing bust of Christopher Columbus along with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and COLUMBIAN HALF DOLLAR. The reverse shows the Santa Maria sailing rough waters over pictures of the two hemispheres. The hemispheres split the date of the discovery, 1492. Below this is the year of mintage.Along the rims is an inscription that says WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION CHICAGO.There are two varieties of the second date, 1892 and 1893. This is because the exposition was planned for 1892, but did not open on time and was postponed until 1893. During that time, more coins were produced with the new date. A quantity of 950,000 1892 coins were distributed and 1,550,405 1893 coins were sold at $1 each. Today, the coins are common in about uncirculated and lower circulated grades, but tougher to find in 65 grades or higher. Many of them were saved, but some reached circulation.
The next coin is the Isabella quarter. Minted in 1893, the coins were pushed to congressional approval by a board headed by Susan B. Anthony. She wanted a coin that showed female motifs to go along with the half dollar that was produced. The final product was designed and engraved by Charles E. Barber. On the obverse, Queen Isabella appears. The wording along the rim says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | 1893. The reverse main feature is a kneeling female with distaff and spindle emblematic of the unsung women's industry and labor. The writing says BOARD OF LADY MANAGERS- COLUMBIAN QUAR. DOL. There were 24,214 quarters distributed at the Exposition at the price of $1. Today, prices are high in all grades but increase sharply at MS-65.

In conclusion, these coins the first commemoratives ever produced by the U.S. mint excluding the 1848 CAL. Quarter Eagles. The coins signified the start to a great era of coin design that has yet to truly end.

Bibliography:
Yeoman, R. S., Kenneth E. Bressett, Q. David Bowers, and Jeff Garrett.A Guide Book of United States Coins. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Hodder, Michael J., and Q. David. Bowers.A Basic Guide to United States Commemorative Coins. Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1992. Print.

Comments

user_7579

Level 4

Thank you for this info.

user_7180

Level 5

Thanks for sharing. Great history lesson.

Kepi

Level 6

Great blog! You should take the Quiz about Columbus listed under " Earn Points ". It's a fun one! : )

Kellen

Level 5

Thanks for the info! Very interesting.

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