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HomeUS CoinsUnique 1936 Long Island Half Dollar Plaster and Galvanos Surface After 88...

Unique 1936 Long Island Half Dollar Plaster and Galvanos Surface After 88 Years

1936 Long Island Half Dolllar reverse plaster and newspaper clipping. Image: Mike Byers / CoinWeek.
1936 Long Island Half Dolllar reverse plaster and newspaper clipping. Image: Mike Byers / CoinWeek.

By Mike Byers for Mint Error News ……
 

1936 Long Island Tercentenary Commemorative Half Dollar

14-Inch Reverse Plaster

10-Inch Obverse & Reverse Galvanos

Privately Owned by Designer Howard Weinman’s Family Since 1936

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A collection consisting of a 14-inch reverse plaster, a 10-inch obverse galvano, a 10-inch reverse galvano designed by sculptor Howard Weinman for the 1936 Long Island Tercentenary U.S. Commemorative Half Dollar surfaced in 2024. These were previously unknown to the numismatic community. Howard Weinman passed away in 1976 and the plaster and galvanos remained in his family’s personal collection until they were sold privately in 2024. His father, the artist Adolph A. Weinman, designed the Mercury Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

A plaster is the model made during the design process of a coin or medal. They are much larger than the final numismatic object. Plaster casts can be positive or negative and the artist is able to add or carve additional detail.

The reverse plaster has a 14-inch diameter and an inner diameter of 10-inches, which matches the galvanos. The Medallic Art Company applied a silver matte finish. It is in superb condition and does not exhibit any chips or wear within the 10-inch inner diameter, which is typical with most plasters.

In numismatic and medallic work, a galvano is always one-sided and made by placing a bas-relief mold or pattern (of plaster, plastic, or metal) in an electrolytic tank containing an electrolyte solution. Galvanos can be made positive or negative (provided the pattern is the opposite: a positive pattern makes a negative galvano, etc.). In the numismatic and medallic field, negative galvanos are the form of pattern making of a bas-relief to be converted into a die. Galvano casts are often mounted on wood and become a very desirable wall hanging.

The obverse galvano features the adopted design and has an antique silver matte finish. It depicts a male Dutch settler and an Algonquian Indian. This galvano was produced by Medallic Art Co. in 1936 as notated on back of the original wood frame.

The reverse galvano features the adopted design and has an antique silver matte finish. It depicts a Dutch sailing ship. This galvano was produced by Medallic Art Co. in 1936 as notated on back of the original wood frame.

The obverse and reverse galvanos are virtually “as produced” and are in superb original condition. Since they were kept within the family for 88 years, they do not exhibit the typical handling marks, wear, or blemishes.

Long Island Galvano and Plaster Collection. Image: Mike Byers.
Long Island Galvano and Plaster Collection. Image: Mike Byers.

Accompanied with the galvanos and plaster are two full page newspaper articles in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Long Island Sunday Press from April 1936. These articles feature photographs of Howard Weinman sculpting in his studio and completing the plasters for the obverse and reverse of the Long Island Half Dollar Commemorative.

Also included are two original sepia tone photographs of Howard Weinman at his home in Colchester, Vermont, sculpting his plasters for his Commemorative Half Dollar. One features him outside near the ocean and the other depicts him in his studio.

A plaster with Howard Weinman’s first design of the obverse is featured on page 187 of Don Taxay’s book An Illustrated History of US Commemorative Coinage (1967). This early design depicts “IN GOD WE TRUST” instead of “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, which is what appears on the obverse of the adopted design.

Both the reverse galvano and the reverse plaster have the adopted design but are missing “IN GOD WE TRUST”, which was added under the ship at a later date.

Taxay lists 142 silver commemoratives, 85 plasters, but NO galvanos as they are extremely rare in private hands.

In The Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins (1981) by Anthony Swiatek and Walter Breen, there are also NO galvanos referenced. Regarding this Long Island Half Dollar Commemorative, they mention that after being approved by the Federal Commission of Fine Arts, the models were sent to Medallic Art Company. Then, before the Philadelphia Mint struck 100,000 coins, Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock added “IN GOD WE TRUST” below the ship.

According to USPatterns.com and other numismatic experts, there are only six known galvanos for U.S. coins in private hands:

  • Judd 1512 Reverse Galvano of the Eagle for the 1877 Half Dollar
  • 1913 Bronze Galvano Reverse of the Buffalo Nickel
  • 1916 MacNeil Quarter Dollar Obverse Galvano
  • 1916 MacNeil Quarter Dollar Reverse Galvano
  • 1936 Obverse Galvano Long Island Half Dollar
  • 1936 Reverse Galvano Long Island Half Dollar

During the 20th century, the Medallic Art Co. produced galvanos for James Earle Fraser, Laura Gardin Fraser, Victor D. Brenner, Howard Weinman, and many others. History was made when a record setting price was realized in a 2024 Stack’s Bowers auction of a reverse Galvano by James Earle Fraser of his iconic Buffalo Nickel. Produced by the Medallic Art Company, it sold for $180,000.

Mike Byers Mint Error News

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Mike Byers
Mike Byershttps://minterrornews.com/
Mike Byers is the Owner, Publisher and Editor of Mint Error News Magazine and the Mint Error News website that was founded in 2003. In 2009, Mike Byers published his first book, World's Greatest Mint Errors, which received the NLG Award for Best World Coin Book.

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