Why the Half Union Was Proposed
Summary: Due to the far-flung use of gold for commerce in America ‘s western territories during the middle of the nineteenth hundred, a larger size of gold coin was considered. The California Gold Rush of 1849 profoundly transformed the United States. It greatly increased the total of gold in the country. Under the gold standard, this mean that the amount of money and wealth in the U.S. besides grew. furthermore, the Gold Rush accelerated the tempo of village and development in the american West. identical little infrastructure existed in the region in the mid-19th century however. It was rightfully even frontier area at the time. The West was besides chronically short of gold coinage. This was exacerbated by the permeant lack of trust in newspaper money. At the fourth dimension, unregulated “ wildcat banks ” were springing up across the area. Paper notes from these banks would only be accepted at a steep deduction to their face value, if they were accepted as payment at all. Since lone gold was trusted for department of commerce, a larger denomination gold mint would allow merchants and banks to transfer large sums of money more efficiently. even the administration of a modern U.S. Mint branch in San Francisco in 1854 did n’t alleviate the problem. In reply many privately-issued amber tokens were distributed throughout the 1850s. Between the undependability of wildcat banks and the consumption of privately-minted gold, you can get a glimpse of how different the economic landscape was back then. We must besides consider the cost and logistics of shipping gold back and forth between commercial centers on the east seashore and the westerly states and territories. One obvious solution would be a larger legal affectionate amber mint. In a bill introduced by California Senator William Gwin in 1854, each Half Union coin theoretically would have contained about 2.5 troy ounces of pure gold content. This would allow the modern appellation to remain proportional in metal value to existing U.S. coinage. It was to measure about 51 millimeter in diameter. The larger coin would provide a sure means to facilitate smoother trade wind and transactions . Liberty point design on the obverse of the 1877 Half Union mint. image : inheritance Auctions ultimately, Congress rejected the bill authorizing the new coin. The proposal passed in the Senate but was rejected by the House of Representatives. It was seen as a regional emergence, unimportant to political and economic interests back east .
The Mint Reconsiders the Idea
Summary: Profit-driven employees at the United States Mint revived the theme of a $ 50 gold mint in the deep nineteenth hundred. 20 years after its initial marriage proposal, the mind of the Half Union was revived by Robert Linderman, the Director of the U.S. Mint. By then, federally-issued newspaper money ( known as “ greenbacks ” ) were wide available. The necessitate for larger amber neologism had by and large abated, making the $ 50 Half Union moot. many called it Linderman ‘s “ pet project. ” His motives for revisiting the $ 50 denomination coin may not have been entirely saturated, however. Linderman had something in common with the erstwhile Mint overseer, James Ross Snowden. ( He was the uncle of american diplomat Archibald Loudon Snowden. ) Both men were ill-famed for selling unauthorized pieces to dealers, collectors, and members of Congress. They could then pocket the money for themselves. such mix of mint operations with private enterprise had been an issue since at least the dismissal of a Chief Coiner, Franklin Peale, in 1854. This type of practice was surely against the law, but the regulations against it were n’t strictly enforced until 1887. foreman Engraver Charles Barber ( son of his harbinger, William Barber ) created the design for the Half Union mint. Barber adopted a identical alike motif for Lady Liberty face left as had been used for the $ 20 double eagle coin, which was designed by a former chief engraver, the belated James Longacre. The reverse featured an heraldic eagle and thirteen stars. equitable two design coins—trial strikes of propose new designs—were made of the $ 50 Half Union. The fresh $ 50 coins never went into entire production. Like today, most of the populace was absolutely unaware of its being.
In accession to the fifty-dollar gold piece, the mint besides drew up plans for an even more ambitious $ 100 Union coin. Such a denomination was part of the original 1854 legislation. No patterns were ever struck, and lone sketches made by Assistant Engraver George Morgan survived. You will sometimes see replica based on Morgan ‘s $ 100 Union design on privately-minted novelties today. About a twelve copper examples of the Half Union were besides made in 1877, however. They were distributed ( “ under the table ” of course ) among collectors conclude to Linderman and Snowden. Due to their rarity and curio, these copper Half Union patterns distillery sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars to this day. possibly half of them are gilt, i.e. gilded in a thinly level of gold. These were among many U.S. convention coins catalogued by numismatist J. Hewitt Judd. The copper Half Union varieties are classified by the abbreviation Judd-1549, or J-1549 .
The Legacy of the $50 Half Union
Summary: The $ 50 Half Union aureate coin mind never made it past the marriage proposal stage, but it is silent admired today. The alone two extant patterns of the Half Union made of 90 % gold presently reside at the Smithsonian Institution in the museum ‘s National Numismatic Collection. They are the property of the government and not legal to own. ( More on that under. ) Modern replica of the coin called half coupling tribute proofs have been made, but they do n’t quite capture the aesthetic skill and beauty of the master 19th-century design. If you could own one, the Half Union would have absurd collectible value due to the rarity of fair two patterns existing. The path these coins took to becoming illegal for private ownership was an matter to precursor to the saga with the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle. In the early 1900s, the Half Union patterns were not in the custody of the U.S. Mint. They were in the possession of a high-end collector, William Woodin. Woodin would later become Treasury Secretary in 1933. His connections to the Treasury Department no doubt aided in his acquisition of the coins. finally, the mint strongly advised Woodin to return the patterns ; he did thus, but entirely in exchange for respective other rare coins from the Mint Cabinet ! 1877 $ 50 Half Union convention ( change by reversal ) interestingly, the $ 50 denomination was belated featured on commemorative coins. ( Keep in mind, commemeratives are not intended as circulating money. ) The best-known among these is the 1915 Panama Pacific commemorative one-half union, which was made in both round and octangular ( eight-sided ) shapes. If a mint with such specifications was issued today, it would be equivalent to approximately $ 4,750 in terms of dissolve value !
Buying $50 Gold Coins
The closest analogue to the Half Union is today ‘s bullion coins. These relate products are IRA approved. interestingly, there are two modern U.S. gold coins that carry the $ 50 appellation. The advanced 1 oz american Eagle gold bullion coins and the 1 oz American Gold Buffalo coins besides carry a $ 50 front respect, though their intrinsic value is far higher. Bullion coins are not intended for circulation, either, so they are n’t classified under the “ half union ” denomination. Although you ca n’t legally own a $ 50 aureate Half Union coin, mod aureate bullion coins are your next-best choice. Your purchase monetary value will be locked in once you complete the check procedure. You can buy gold from Gainesville Coins with check, accredit tease, bank wire, and cryptocurrency. We carry mint rolls of 20 coins and “ Monster Boxes ” of 500 coins for bulk purchases. Every package is shipped discreetly and fully insured. Shop for $ 50 aureate coins below, and please contact us at ( 813 ) 482-9300 with any questions regarding an order or our available inventory :
American Gold Eagle Product Details
The American Gold Eagle mint series was first released in 1986. These coins are struck at the West Point Mint in New York from .9167 fine gold ( a purity of 91.67 % gold ), which is besides known as 22-karat gold. This stands out from the traditional 90 % pure aureate used for the Half Union, or the .9999 fine gold used for the American Buffalo gold coins. The respite of the 22 karat admixture is made up of 5.33 % bull and 3 % silver . The Type 1 design of the 1 oz American Gold Eagle.
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Including the silver and bull, each $ 50 Gold Eagle has a gross weight of 1.0909 troy oz ( 33.93 grams ). The actual gold weight ( AGW ) is 1 troy oz. In terms of size, the mint measures 32.7 millimeter in diameter and 2.87 millimeter slurred. Proof editions of the mint are available for collectors, while the criterion bullion versions uses a Brilliant Uncirculated coating. The obverse design was created by celebrated sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Lady Liberty is shown with flowing hair’s-breadth, carrying an olive branch in her leave hand and a burning torch in her right hand. The U.S. Capitol Building is seen in the distance. The year-date is near the bottom of the purpose, expressed in Roman numerals on older versions of the coin anterior to 1992. The new Type 2 overrule invention shows a close-up persona of a bald eagle. Up until 2021, the reversion depicted a family of eagles as created by artist Miley Busiek. A female eagle sits in the nest containing her unseasoned eaglets. We see the male eagle clasping an olive ramify, flying to meet them. Inscriptions include “ IN GOD WE TRUST ” and “ E PLURIBUS UNUM. ”