Alabama centennial half dollar
|Value||.50 U.S. dollars|
|Years of minting||1921|
|Design||William Bibb and Thomas Kilby|
|Designer||Laura Gardin Fraser|
|Design||Adaptation of the State Seal of Alabama.|
|Designer||Marie Bankhead Owen|
The Alabama centennial half dollar commemorative coin was minted to celebrate the centennial of Alabama's admission to the Union in 1819. This was the last slave holding territory admitted prior to the Missouri Compromise in 1820. This was also the first commemorative coin minted with the image of a living individual. These coins were first distributed on October 26, 1921 when President Warren Harding passed through Birmingham to help dedicate a new Masonic temple. They were then sold by banks throughout the state and were widely circulated during the Great Depression.
The obverse of the coin was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser (wife of James Earle Fraser) and depicts overlapping profiles of William Bibb, who was the governor in 1819, and Thomas Kilby, who was the governor in 1919. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is at the top perimeter with IN GOD WE TRUST directly under that. HALF DOLLAR is at the lower perimeter with the date above between BIBB and KILBY. The 22 stars flanking the portraits indicate that Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the Union. On some coins, there is a 2X2 in the right field with the X representing the St. Andrew's cross. The reverse was designed by Marie Bankhead Owen and shows the Alabama State Seal with STATE OF ALABAMA at the top perimeter and 1819 CENTENNIAL 1919 at the lower perimeter.
The Alabama centennial half dollar was minted exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint.
Although the United States Congress authorized 100,000 coins, only approximately 70,000 were struck. Of those, about 5,000 unsold coins were melted. The net mintage was 6,006 of the "2x2" variety and 59,038 of the plain variety. Many of these coins were weakly struck and are difficult to find in higher grades as so many of them circulated.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation NGC Photo Proof Series
- A Guide Book of United States Coins, by Richard (R. S.) Yeoman