After a period of dormancy for commemorative coins, the Iowa Centennial Half Dollar (Buy on eBay) was produced and issued in 1946 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood.
Abuses of the commemorative coin program had come to the forefront after a Congressional hearing held on April 15, 1937. There were complaints about some programs which had ordered coins from a number of different mints over a number of years to create additional varieties and complaints the curious distribution of some program which resulted in few if any coins being sold to the public at issue prices. As a result of the hearings 81 bills proposing commemorative coins were buried and authority was revoked to produce additional coins for existing programs.
The issuance of commemorative coins was reconsidered following a change in administration. The 1946 Iowa Centennial Half Dollar was authorized on August 7, 1946 with a maximum mintage of 100,000 pieces.
The obverse design of the coins would feature the Old Stone Capitol. The inscriptions read “United States of America”, “Half Dollar”, “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, and in small print beneath the building “Old Stone Capitol Iowa City”.
On the reverse of the coin was the image of an eagle adapted from the Iowa State Seal. The eagle holds a ribbon in its beak which reads, “‘Our Liberties Our Rights We Prize and Will Maintain”. The remaining inscriptions include “Iowa Statehood Centennial”, “1846”, “1946”, and “E Pluribus Unum”.
The coins were distributed by the Iowa Centennial Committee for $2.50 to state residents and $3 to others. The entire authorized mintage sold out, with more than 90,000 distributed to residents. An amount of 500 pieces was set side for distribution in 1996, and 500 more pieces for distribution in 2046. In 1996, the coins were offered for $500 each in special holders. Sales were slow since the offering price was far above the market price for uncirculated pieces.
Iowa Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Adam Pietz
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 79-612
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 100,000
Iowa Half Dollar Mintage