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July Coin of the Month

1926 Sesquicentennial Half Dollar

Bill here, with the coin we talked about last year.  You remember, right?  Check out last July's Coin of the Month, when Flip presented the Sesquicentennial quarter eagle.  This month's coin is the other part of that two-coin set.

This one is also pretty hard to find, especially in really good condition.  Although many were made, not many were sold.  It seems that the coin made a shallow impression on collectors partly because of the shallow impression of the strike.

Still, its rarity makes it more valuable today.  And there's a great rarity built right into the image on the front too:  the first time a living President of the United States was depicted on a coin while he was still alive! 

The profiles are of first U.S. President George Washington and then-President Calvin Coolidge.  The closest any previous coin came to breaking the tradition of not showing living presidents was in 1921, when the governor of Alabama was shown on the state's centennial half dollar.

The two 1926 coins were made for (and sold at) the Sesquicentennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia from June 1 through November 30, 1926.

Now notice the Liberty Bell on the back.  Does it look familiar?  It should if you've ever seen the back of a Benjamin Franklin half dollar, made from 1948 to 1963.  That Liberty Bell design is based on this one!  See for yourself:  Ben's half dollar was the Coin of the Month in July 2001!


Image shows the front of the Sesquicentennial half dollar.
Obverse:  Around the portraits are the inscriptions "Liberty" and "United States of America," with "In God We Trust" near Coolidge's chin.

Image shows the back of the Sesquicentennial half dollar.
Reverse:  Around the image of the Liberty Bell, "Sesquicentennial of American Independence," "1776," "1926," and "Half Dollar" are inscribed.

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