Continuing the outpouring of commemorative coins issued during the year was the 1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Half Dollar. As the name suggests, this issue does not mark the 100th anniversary of statehood, which would occur six years later, but rather the start of the territorial government.
The designs, which have been criticized by some collectors, are the result of the strict instructions from the Coinage Committee of the Wisconsin Centennial Celebration and the work of two artists. A local university art student David Parsons prepared initial designs based on the requirements to feature the territorial seal on one side of the coin and a badger on the other. The models prepared by Parsons were rejected by the Mint, so modifications were performed by New York artist Benjamin Hawkwins to make the designs suitable for production. The final designs bore little resemblance to the initial rejected models, except for the identical themes presented.
On the obverse is an image of a badger standing on a log with three arrows and an olive branch positioned vertically behind. The surrounding inscriptions read “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “Liberty”, “Half Dollar”, and “In God We Trust”. The reverse features an arm holding a pickax and a small mount of rocks, an image adapted from the Wisconsin Territorial Seal. The inscriptions read “Wisconsin Territorial Centennial”, “4th Day of July Anno Domini 1836”, and “1936”.
The authorizing legislation for the 1936 Wisconsin Half Dollars specified a minimum mintage of 25,000 pieces, with no specified maximum. The minimum quantity was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and offered for sale for an initial price of $1.50 per coin plus postage. Unsold quantities remained available for many years.
Wisconsin Territorial Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: David Parsons, Benjamin Hawkins
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 74-593
Maximum Authorized Mintage: none (minimum mintage 25,000)
Wisconsin Territorial Half Dollar Mintage