Coin Collector: 1932- 1947 Liberty Standing Half Dollars
1932-1949 Washington Quarters
I'm that kid that sees a penny on the street and picks it up, waving it around excitedly. I'm usually with my best friend, and when she shakes her head at my antics, my line is always the same. "See a penny pick it up all day long you'll have good luck." A line said by Jan from Grease, my all-time favourite musical of all times.
The way the 1932-1947 Liberty Standing Half Dollars and 1932-1949 Washington Quarters came to me was luck.
My best friend and her mother like to go thrift shopping during the workweek. Neither have weekends off. It's their busiest time.
My friend's mother saw the coins in the back of the store in the book section. She didn't understand why money was with books or why the whole lot was on sale for $3. My best friend thought of me and how geeky I get when I see interesting and old pennies. She grabbed the lot, headed for the register, and bought them for me. I did more than geek out. There might have been tears.
I love history, not the kind found between books' pages, but the history you can feel and see—old buildings, coins, vintage clothing: history. I was even more excited to get the Liberty Standing Half Dollar. I love how poised Lady Liberty looks in her flowing gown with her arm stretched out toward the sun like she's basking in the sunrise.
Adolph A. Weinman created the design of Lady Liberty from 1916 to 1947. Lady Liberty replaced the Franklin Half Dollar. Many coin collectors consider the Liberty Standing Half Dollar the most beautiful the United States Mint ever produced. Cornelius Vermeule, a noted 20th-century American art critic, said it was “one of the greatest coins of the United States–if not of the world.”
The Liberty Standing half dollar was also the first to ever have their mint mark on the heads upside since the first coin’s release in the 1 830s.
A strong debut occurred, and they reversed it, so the mint mark was on the reverse side once again.
I really wish they would have kept Lady Liberty with the mint mark on the heads upside, it gave it something extra.
I might be a little more excited about the Liberty Standing Half Dollar; it doesn’t mean I don’t also really love having the 1932 to 1949 Washington Quarters.
The Washington quarters were struck in 1932 by sculptor John Flanagan. Washington quarters were originally going to replace the Standing Liberty half dollar to commemorate the year Washington got his presidency, the first President of the United States. Congress decided instead to permanently replace the standing liberty quarter.
The Washington Quarters are unique because they represent the first president, but they are also made from 90% silver. Quarters during that time started to cost $1.29 more money than their worth. From August 1, 1932, to June 23, 1965, coins stopped being made of silver through the Coinage Act.
I love these coins because they are a representation of the artists’ eyes. The work of two sculptors are preserved in history through the Washington Quarter coins. John Flanagan created Washington’s profile on the coin using a bust made by French neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Jean-Antoine Houdon is most known for creating the life-sized Carrara marble statue in Richmond, Virginia.
The bust that Flanagan based the Washington Quarters on was commissioned in 1784 by the Virginia General Assembly. Houdon came to the States from France, where he stayed with Washington at Mount Vernon. Houdon took Washington’s measurements and made a life mask of his face. Houdon worked on the bust from September through December when he returned home. The bust was said to have been completed by 1788, though it wasn’t complete until 1972.
I'm really fortunate that my best friend picked these coins up for me to think she paid $3 at Goodwill for a set of coins worth a lot more. It sounds funny to say it since we're talking about literal money, but this bit of history is priceless to me.