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19** Booker T Washington Half Dollar



19** Booker T Washington Half Dollar

Mintage 3,091,205

Only three new U. S commemorative coins appeared during the period following World War II, and two of these were tributes to black Americans. The first was the Booker T Washington half dollar, authorized by Congress in 1946 to perpetuate The teachings and ideals of the famous black educator. This was the first U.S. coin to carry the likeness of a black man or woman It also was the first to be designed by a black: The portraiture was prepared by well~known black artist Isaac Hathaway. The obverse bears a bust of Booker T. Washington, a man who was born a slave and rose to become the founder and president of Alabama's Tuskegee Institute. The reverse underscores this dramatic achievement by featuring the inscription "FROM SLAVE CABIN TO HALL OF FAME" and illustrating both of these buildings. Congress authorized 5 million Booker T. Washington half dollars, with proceeds from their sale earmarked for use in purchasing, constructing and maintaining memorials to this truly remarkable man. In 1946, the Mint struck more than 1.7 million examples, and all three mints turned them out. However, demand for the coins lagged far behind the huge supply. It led to continued production of the coins-although in much reduced numbers-for five more years. By 1951, when the curtain finally fell, there were 18 different coins in this set, making it the largest single component of the U.S. commemorative series. Some observers feel that the high overall mintage of the set has tended to obscure the very low figures of certain date-mint pieces-some of which have mintages of barely, 6,000. Also, because so many of the coins come with bag marks, true gems are scarcer than many collectors realize.

Value $10 - $55