From today's featured article
The Illinois Centennial half dollar is a commemorative fifty-cent piece struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1918. The obverse side, depicting Abraham Lincoln, was designed by Chief Engraver George T. Morgan; the reverse image, based on the Seal of Illinois, was done by his assistant and successor, John R. Sinnock. Morgan's design is based on a statue by Andrew O'Connor. The State of Illinois asked for a commemorative to mark the centennial of its 1818 statehood. In 1918, after legislation was enacted, the two engravers produced designs, but Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo required changes, not all of which were made. The coins were minted in August 1918, and were sold to the public for one dollar each. Though many were held by a bank until 1933, all were sold, and profits were used to cover the cost of local centennial celebrations or to help those in need because of World War I. Later writers have generally admired the coin, considering it one of the more handsome American commemoratives. It is valued in the hundreds of dollars today, and occasionally trades for more. (Full article...)
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