1924 Huguenot Half Dollar



1924 Huguenot Half Dollar

Mintage 142,080

The Huguenot half dollar of 1924 was one of the earlier U.S. ‘commem’s and one of the more controversial. It was issued to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the settlement of New Netherlands (present-day New York), sponsored by the Dutch West India Company. Most of the 30 families that made the initial trip in 1624 were Walloons, French-speaking people from the south of Belgium; the Huguenots were from France. Both groups were described as Huguenots-a French term for Protestants who embraced the teachings of John Calvin. The Calvinist Dutch were refugees from religious wars of the times, and made no distinction between the two groups. The Huguenot half dollar became embroiled in controversy because it was perceived as religious propaganda. This stemmed from the fact that the coin was promoted by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. A second dispute centered around its obverse design, which features the conjoined busts of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny of France and William the Silent of the Netherlands. Both were Huguenots, but both had been dead for several decades by the time New Netherlands was settled. The coin's reverse depicts the ship- also called New Netherlands-that carried the colonists to the New World. The coin was designed by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver George T. Morgan, the same man who designed the Morgan silver dollar Congress authorized 300,000 Huguenot.half dollars; 142,080 actually were struck, and none found their way to the melting pot. Nearly 90,000 were sold, and the rest-some 55,000-were released into circulation. As a result, the coin is often found in circulated condition. Most specimens show signs of unusual die polishing on the reverse, between the positions of 10 and 11 o'clock.

Value $75 - $750