By CoinWeek …..
On Sunday, February 24 at 9:46 pm Eastern Time, bidding closed on a toned PCGS MS-67 1935 Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative half dollar over at GreatCollections.com. The attractively toned coin was CAC approved and realized $1,375.
A Worthy Commemorative
In April and May of 1935, the Philadelphia Mint coined 25,018 Connecticut Tercentenary half dollars (the 18 coins were used for assay and later destroyed). These were available well in time for the Tercentenary, and most were sold for $1 apiece. The coins were so well received, in fact, that the Tercentenary Commission’s executive secretary, Herbert L. Crapo, confessed to prominent coin dealer and notorious commemorative promoter L. W. Hoffecker that “We have disposed of our entire original allotment of 25,000, and are having some difficulty in reserving a few which we want to present as gifts to dignitaries.”
Due to its wide distribution, no known hoards of Connecticut half dollars have ever entered the market. With most pieces sold to the general public, many surviving examples come well circulated; some have even been harshly cleaned. This has served to keep the commemorative’s value fairly high for such a relatively recent coin.
Most Connecticut halves are well struck, but the small stars may be indistinct. Wear most often shows up at the base of the tree and on the upper part of the eagle’s wing. The grades typically encountered range from AU-50 to MS-63. MS-64 examples are scarce, but MS-65 and higher grades are especially so.
While not a Top Pop coin (that honor goes to MS-68 at both NGC and PCGS, of which both companies report only one example in that grade), a Connecticut Tercentenary half in MS-67 is still scarce enough to encourage competitive demand. With PCGS registering 111 grading events at the time of writing, two examples of PCGS-certified 67s sold on eBay last month for $1,436 and $14,37 USD, respectively. David Lawrence Rare Coins handled an example in December 2018 that ultimately sold for $1,825. Just a month earlier, Legend Rare Coin Auctions sold an example for $1,469.
The situation at NGC is similar, though the reported population is smaller. With 78 grading events at MS-67, a November 2018 Heritage auction saw a specimen go for $1,200. Another example sold for $1,260 at an October 2018 Stack’s Bowers sale. However, at the August 2017 ANA U.S. Coins Signature Auction, Heritage garnered $1,527 for an NGC MS-67 Connecticut Tercentenary – a price that some NGC-certified pieces have managed to match or best over the last five years or so.
This means that the overall market for Mint State 67 examples of this classic commemorative still prices the coin above the at-the-time-of-writing bid of $1,175.
The Charter Oak
As fans of the 50 State Quarters program are apt to notice, the obverse of the 1935 Connecticut half dollar features the Charter Oak, an icon of Connecticut’s history as well as a symbol of the nation’s independence from Britain.
When James II succeeded Charles II as the English king in 1685, James sought to consolidate the colonies of New England–who were used to a degree of freedom from royal interference–into one “dominion”. When Edmund Andros, the newly appointed governor of the Dominion of New England came to Connecticut, he demanded the colonial charter that Charles had granted in 1662 (almost three decades after the English colony was founded by John Winthrop in 1635). According to (one) legend, when Andros met with colonial authorities in Hartford to complete the literal and figurative handover of power, the charter was spirited away and hid in the trunk of the eponymous Charter Oak on Wyllys Hill.
After the tree had fallen due to a storm in 1856, the people of Hartford placed a marble monument on the spot where it had stood. And in 1935, the 300th anniversary of the founding of the colony, the United States issued both the commemorative coin and a stamp that featured renditions of the famous 1857 painting of the oak by Charles De Wolf Brownell. In the case of the silver half dollar, local Connecticut artist Henry G. Kreis–along with sculptor Paul Manship–painstakingly adapted Brownell’s depiction for the palette of a coin.
Adding to the masterful design is a stylized yet dominant eagle on the reverse, one of the finest in the entire classic commemorative series.