Classic Coins - Albany New
York Charter Half Dollar
In 1936, the US Mint produced the Albany New York Charter Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin to
recognize and celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of Albany, New York.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments,
On June 16, 1936, the second session of the 74th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
74-687 that authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary
of the founding of the city of Albany, New York."
The law began, "That in commemoration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the city of
Albany, New York, there shall be coined at a mint of the United States to be designated by the Director of the Mint
not to exceed twenty-five thousand silver 50-cent pieces of standard size, weight, and composition and of a special
appropriate single design to be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the
Treasury, but the United States shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary dies and other
preparations for this coinage.
"SEC. 2. The coins herein authorized shall bear the date 1936, irrespective of the year in which they are minted
or issued, shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value, and shall be issued only upon
the request of a committee of not less than three persons duly authorized by the mayor of the city of Albany, New
York, upon payment by it of the par value of such coins, but not less than twenty-five thousand such coins shall be
issued to it at any one time and no such coins shall be issued after the expiration of one year after the date of
enactment of this Act. Such coins may be disposed of at par or at a premium by such committee, and the net proceeds
shall be used by it in defraying the expenses incidental and appropriate to the commemoration of such event."
The law continues in Section 3 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - Albany New York
Charter Half Dollar
Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Diameter - millimeters: 30.6
Diameter - inches: 1.2
Weight - grams: 12.5
Weight - troy ounce: 0.401884332
Silver content weight - troy ounce: 0.3617
Mint Locations: Philadelphia
Years Minted: 1936
The coin's silver content alone makes it more valuable than its face value of $0.50.
But, the coin's age, its condition, and its desirability make it even more valuable as a collectible.
The coin's estimated value ranges from $230 (low grade - XF) to $450 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Albany New York Charter Half Dollar can command a price outside the
estimated value range.
Obverse - Albany New York Charter Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows the full-length portrait of Sir Thomas Dongan, Colonial Governor,
presenting a charter to Pieter Schuyler, Albany's first mayor, and Robert Livingston. Also pictured is an eagle in
flight above the men, a pine branch, and cones.
The coinage inscriptions say, Settled 1614, Chartered 1686, Albany NY, 1936, and Liberty.
Artist: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Reverse - Albany New York Charter Half
The reverse or back of the coin features a beaver chewing on a branch of maple seeds.
The coinage inscriptions read United States of America, E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust, and Half Dollar.
Artist: Gertrude K. Lathrop
Commentary - Albany New York Charter Half
The stated mintage was "not to exceed twenty-five thousand silver 50-cent pieces" and "coined at a mint."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 17,671 of the Albany New York Charter half
dollar coins, which is less than the delivery number specified in SEC 2 of the law.
Perhaps too many commemorative coins flooded the market in 1936, or perhaps there was not enough interest in the
Regardless, many of the coins were returned and melted for recoinage.
The coin pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as an MS-65. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty
Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
Prior to receiving the Charter, Pieter Schuyler and Robert Livingston were appointed Commissioners by the town
The Magistrates of the city ratified their appointment.
As Commissioners, they went to New York to obtain the Charter as agreed to between the Magistrate and Colonel
Dongan, Governor-General of the Province of New York.
The Charter appoints the Mayor, Common Council and other officers of the city, which included Pieter Schuyler as
Mayor and Robert Livingston as Clerk.
After receiving the charter in July 1686, the first meeting of the Mayor and Alderman was held at the end of
August in their City Hall.
Initially, the official seal of the city of Albany included a crown above the letters AB.
Sometime after 1736, the city seal included the letters ALB above a beaver.
In 1752, the official seal became a beaver with ALBANY above and 1752 below.
But, there was contention in the city about the various seals.
In May 1755, two seals became valid, the early one with the crown and the 1752 version with the beaver.
On October 16, 1761, the Common Council determined only the city seal with the beaver would be valid.
Today, the official seal of the city of Albany still contains a beaver as he cuts down a tree.
The beaver and his tree are in the upper portion of a shield positioned between two men, one of
European descent and one an Indian.
Below the shield and men is the word ASSIDUITY, which means constant or close application or effort; diligence;
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Albany New York Charter for a
variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.