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1936 Elgin Half, MS68+
Sole Finest at PCGS, Registry Set Prize

1936 50C Elgin MS68+ PCGS. CAC. The Elgin half dollar was struck in 1936, one year after the Illinois city celebrated its centennial. The issue, however, had a broader theme of honoring the pioneers who settled the state (the year 1673, for instance, refers to the beginning of the Joliet-Marquette expedition on the Mississippi River), and it also has special significance to Americans of Norwegian descent, one of the largest ancestral groups in the upper Midwestern United States.

The 1925 Norse-American Centennial commemorated the 1825 arrival of the ship Restauration in New York with passengers fleeing religious persecution in Norway. While Congress authorized multiple postage stamps and U.S. Representative Ole Kvale secured a medal designed by James Earle Fraser and struck at the Philadelphia Mint, there were no coins proper. The Elgin half dollar's sculptor and driving force, Trygve Rovelstad, was the child of Norwegian immigrants and so well-attuned to their particular experiences.

Of a starting mintage of 25,000 pieces plus assay coins, 20,000 Elgin halves were sold. This MS68+ example is a Registry Set prize, the sole finest graded at PCGS (12/13). The surfaces are frosty across Rovelstad's inimitable pioneer portrait and the (typically softly struck) reverse group. Light silver-gray interiors yield to iridescent peripheral color that is strongest with its reds, oranges, and yellows but also has significant cool tones. Magnificently preserved with only a single small flaw between the IB of LIBERTY that would be overlooked on almost any other coin.(Registry values: N2998) (NGC ID# 339B, PCGS# 9303)

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Auction Dates
January, 2014
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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