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Columbia, South Carolina Sesquicentennial half dollar

The Columbia, South Carolina Sesquicentennial half dollar was designed by A. Wolfe Davidson and minted in 1936. The obverse design depicts the personification of justice holding a sword and scales and standing between the Old State House (built in 1790) and the New State House built (between 1855 and 1907), while the reverse shows the Palmetto tree, South Carolina's state symbol, surrounded by 13 stars representing the original Thirteen Colonies.

Columbia, South Carolina Sesquicentennial half dollar
United States
Value50 cents (0.50 US dollars)
Mass12.5 g
Diameter30.61 mm
Thickness2.15 mm (0.08 in)
  • 90.0% silver
  • 10.0% copper
Silver0.36169 troy oz
Years of minting1936
Mintage25,023 (25,000 authorized)
Mint marksD, S
Columbia sesquentennial half dollar commorative obverse.jpg
DesignJustice holding a sword and scales
DesignerA. Wolfe Davidson
Design date1936
Columbia sesquentennial half dollar commorative reverse.jpg
DesignPalmetto tree
DesignerA. Wolfe Davidson
Design date1936



The coin was proposed by Columbia Sesquicentennial Commission, which wanted to strike commemorative coins for the 350th anniversary of the city's founding. The legislation authorizing the coin passed on March 18th, 1936 and authorized up to 25,000 half dollars to be struck. The legislation also called for the mintage to be struck at "the mints", which was taken to mean that the coins could be struck at all 3 mints and that 3-coin sets could be issued.[1]


The commission selected 32-year old student sculptor A. Wolfe Davidson to design the coin. Initially, his models for the coin were rejected and were panned by both the Director of the United States Mint Commission of Fine Arts, with the latter saying that his models were "unsatisfactory" and "lack[ed] artistic merit." As a result, a revised version of Davidson's designs were accepted after the Commission of Fine Arts made revisions to the models with the help of a more experienced sculptor.[1][2]

Due to the numerous commemorative coins struck throughout 1936, it took until October for the entire authorized mintage of 25,000 coins to be struck. 9,007 coins were struck at Philadelphia, while 8,007 and 8,009 coins were struck respectively at Denver and San Francisco, amounting to a total of 25,023.[1][2] It is likely that the odd 23 coins were struck for assay purposes.


Unlike the majority of the commemoratives at the time, which sold poorly and resulted in a significant portion of the mintage being returned to the mint for melting, the Columbia, South Carolina Sesquicentennial half dollar sold very well (with the entire mintage being sold) to the point where the commission was oversubscribed by 15,000 coins. The coins were sold by the commission for $2.15 per piece, while a set of three coins was sold for $6.45. In order to have a fair distribution of the coins, only small orders were filled. For the first 24 hours of sales, the coins were only available to residents of the city and could only be purchased by mail order.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d "1936 D Columbia 50C MS Silver Commemoratives". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "1936 Columbia Sesquicentennial Half Dollar Commemorative Coin". Retrieved 22 April 2019.

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