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Hawaii Sesquicentennial half dollar

The Hawaii Sesquicentennial half dollar was struck in 1928 by the United States Mint in honor of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Europeans. It depicts Captain James Cook on the obverse and a Hawaiian chieftain on the reverse. Only 10,000 coins were struck for the public, making them rare and valuable. In 1927, the legislature of the Territory of Hawaii passed a resolution calling on the U.S. government to produce a commemorative coin for the anniversary. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon thought the occasion important enough that, unusually for him, he was not opposed to the new coin. Sculptor Chester Beach made the plaster models for the coins from sketches by Juliette May Fraser. Approval for his designs was delayed by concerns raised by the Mint and by Victor S. K. Houston, Hawaii Territory's delegate to Congress. Although the issue price, at $2, was the highest for a commemorative half dollar to that point, the coins sold out quickly and have risen in value to over $1000. (Full article...)