Another local anniversary was celebrated with the issuance of a commemorative coin. The 1936 Albany Half Dollar was issued to mark the 250th anniversary that a charter was granted to the city of Albany, New York.
The designs for the coin are viewed favorably by collectors, particularly the obverse which features a beaver gnawing on a maple branch. The designer of the coin Gertrude Lathrop had a live beaver in her studio at the time the coin was being designed. The obverse inscriptions include “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “In God We Trust”, and “Half Dollar”.
The reverse of the Albany Half Dollar depicts Colonial Governor Sir Thomas Dongan presenting a charter to Peter Schuyler, Albany’s first mayor, and Robert Livingston. An eagle in flight appears above the scene. The inscriptions read “Settled 1614”, “Chartered 1686”, “1936”, and “Albany N.Y.”
Despite a request for a maximum authorized mintage of 10,000 pieces, the legislation set the issue at 25,000 pieces, which were all struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The coins were distributed by the Albany Dongan Charter Coin Committee for $2 each. At the time the coins were being released, the public’s enthusiasm for commemorative coin issues had faded, amidst the flood of new issues and certain abuses of the program. Sales progressed more slowly than expected and remained on sale for more than six years. At this point, the remaining quantity was returned for melting. The net distribution for the issue was 17,671.
Albany Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Gertrude Lathrop
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 74-687
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 25,000
Albany Half Dollar Mintage