Friday, November 18, 2016

Wikipedia article of the day for November 19, 2016

The Wikipedia article of the day for November 19, 2016 is Columbian half dollar.
The Columbian half dollar is the first US commemorative coin, struck at the Mint from November 19, 1892, until early 1893. It was issued both to raise funds for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and to mark the quadricentennial of the first voyage to the Americas of Christopher Columbus, the first historical person to be depicted on an American coin (pictured). Fair official James Ellsworth wanted the new half dollar to be based on a 16th-century painting he owned by Lorenzo Lotto, reputedly of Columbus, and pushed for this throughout the design process. When initial sketches by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber proved unsatisfactory, the fair's organizers turned to a design by artist Olin Levi Warner that was modified by Barber and his assistant, George T. Morgan. Some five million half dollars were struck, far beyond the actual demand, and half of them were returned to the Mint and melted after the fair closed. Sales of the coins did not cure the fair's financial woes; fewer than 400,000 were sold at a premium price. Some two million were released into circulation, where they remained as late as the 1950s.

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