Greater Atlanta Coin Show
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Products showing Modern Commemorative Coins on the Greater Atlanta Coin Show's Numismatic Shoppe

Classic Coins - Illinois Centennial Half Dollar

The Illinois Centennial Half Dollar coin became the first commemorative coin to recognize and be a souvenir piece for the anniversary of statehood.

Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun facts

On June 1, 1918 the 65th Congress approved "An Act To authorize the coinage of fifty-cent pieces in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission of the State of Illinois into the Union."

When approved, this Act became noted as Public Law 65-163.

The law noted there would be 100,000 silver fifty-cent pieces "to be of the standard troy weight, composition, diameter, device and design, as shall be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, and said fifty-cent pieces shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value."

The law concluded the authorization with the Proviso: "That the Government shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary dies and other preparations for this coinage."

Characteristics - Illinois Centennial 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: 1918

Today, the coin's silver content 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 $105 (low grade - XF) to $600 (high grade - MS-66).

Extraordinary characteristics on the Illinois Centennial Half Dollar can command a higher price than the estimates above.

Obverse - Illinois Centennial Half Dollar

American Andrew O'Connor sculpted a full length statue of Abraham Lincoln that was unveiled in Springfield, Illinois in August 1918.

Coinage artist George T. Morgan designed the low relief portrait of Lincoln on the obverse of the Illinois Centennial Half Dollar based on the statue by O'Connor.

The inscriptions read Centennial of the State of Illinois, In God We Trust, Liberty, and 1918.

Artist: George T. Morgan

Illinois Centennial Half Dollar obverse

Reverse - Illinois Centennial Half Dollar

The reverse of the coin image is based on the Illinois State Seal.

An eagle holds a ribbon in its beak with the words State, Sovereignty, National and Union along its flowing lines.

The eagle holds a shield in its talons with a rocky crag and a sunrise over water in the background.

Additional inscriptions include E Pluribus Unum, United States of America and Half Dollar.

Artist: John R. Sinnock

Illinois Centennial Half Dollar reverse

Commentary - Illinois Centennial Half Dollar

Though the stated mintage limit was 100,000, records show more of the coins were distributed - between 100,050 and 100,075.

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 in higher grades such as an MS-66 grade.

Andrew O'Connor's statue symbolizes Lincoln's farewell speech to his friends and supporters in Illinois as he began his journey to the White House in 1861.

Click here to view a picture of the O'Connor Statue of Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois (opens in a new window).

Andrew O'Connor studied sculpting with Daniel Chester French who is known for the Lincoln sculpture in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

The Illinois Centennial occurred during World War I. President Theodore Roosevelt talked of "speeding up the war" in his speech at the Illinois Centennial celebration in Springfield, Illinois on August 26.

Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Illinois Centennial for a variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.


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