Albany Charter half dollar
The Albany Charter half dollar, also known as the Albany-Dongan half dollar or Albany halfdollar, is a commemorative half dollar struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936. It was designed by sculptor Gertrude K. Lathrop, who lived in Albany, New York’s state capital. The coin was wanted by city officials to mark the 250th anniversary of the 1686 grant of its municipal charter by Thomas Dongan.
About Albany Charter half dollar in brief
The Albany Charter half dollar, also known as the Albany-Dongan half dollar or Albany halfdollar, is a commemorative half dollar struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936. It was designed by sculptor Gertrude K. Lathrop, who lived in Albany, New York’s state capital. In 1936, Congress approved many commemorative coins for issuance, including some of mostly local significance. These included the Albany piece, wanted by city officials to mark the 250th anniversary of the 1686 grant of its municipal charter by Thomas Dongan, governor of colonial New York. The authorizing bill passed through Congress without opposition, though amendments added protections for coin collectors against abuses seen in earlier commemorative issues. Until 1954, the entire mintage of commemorative coin issues was sold by the government at face value to a group authorized by Congress, which then tried to sell the coins at a profit to the public. In early 1936 all earlier commemoratives sold at a premium to their issue prices. The apparent easy profits to be made by purchasing and holding commemoratives attracted many to the coin collecting hobby, where they sought to purchase the new issues. The Albany half dollar prices in the low hundreds of dollars, but the original packaging, if undamaged, may sell for more. The first European to visit the site of Albany, NY was the Englishman Henry Hudson in 1609.
In 1624, the Dutch established Fort Orange there as a permanent settlement. The English took control of the area in 1664, but there remained Dutch property claims. In 1685, Fort Orange’s name was changed to Albany, after James, Duke of Albany,. The following year, Pieter Schuyler and Robert Livingston went to New York City, the colonial capital of New York, to obtain a municipal charter for Albany from Governor Thomas DongAn. Schuylers became the first mayor of Albany; Livingston was made the clerk of the city and county of Albany and thus entitled to fees. The coin was struck in October 1936, including 13 pieces for testing by the Assay Commission. More than 7,000 were returned to the mint in 1943, and a hoard of over 2,000 was sale by a local bank in 1954 at the original issue price. Other issues had been bought up by single dealers, and some low-mintage varieties of commemorate coins were selling at high prices for many years. The coins were sold at different mints at different marks; existing legislation placed no prohibition on mints issuing them at different dates and mints. In May 1936, a proposed bill with a proposed amendment increased the authorized mintage from 10,000 half dollars to 25,000, and required that a committee of at least three people appointed by Albany’s mayor be empowered to order the coins from the Mint.