Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 71,369
Catalog: KM-174
Obverse Designer: Jacques Schnier
Reverse Designer: Jacques Schnier
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $5.39 (8/2/2015)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1936 S BAY BRIDGE 50C MS obverse 1936 S BAY BRIDGE 50C MS reverse


  
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VarietyPlus®

There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Very few classic United States commemorative coins were struck in order to mark an achievement in the field of engineering. The 1915-S Panama-Pacific International Exposition coins may be included within this small group, as they commemorate the world’s fair which itself celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal. The only coin dedicated solely to recognition of an engineering triumph, however, is the 1936-S half dollar issued to mark the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in November of that year.

By the 1930’s, San Francisco was a bustling city of over 600,000 residents. Unfortunately, it was geographically isolated on the tip of a long peninsula, meaning that ferries were often used to traverse San Francisco Bay. The idea for a several-mile long bridge to cross the bay was proposed as early as the 1920’s, but the tipping point came during the depression. The need for new jobs helped propel the project into fruition. Construction of the bridge commenced on July 9, 1933 and was completed during the latter months of 1936. The grand opening was held the weekend of November 12-14, with a long line of motorists and pedestrians eagerly awaiting their turn to cross. Although not ready for opening day, among the souvenirs available a week later were the United States half dollars, coined at the San Francisco Mint and bearing (literally!) a design which honored the engineering achievement.

The coin’s design was executed by Jacques Schnier, a Romanian immigrant then living in Oakland. The Commission of Fine Arts reviewed his designs, and after only a few minor changes they were approved. The obverse of the coin is dominated by a grizzly bear, which is a symbol of the state The reverse is a highly stylized view of the newly completed bridge as seen from San Francisco. A ferry building is seen in the foreground, which was to offer the juxtaposition of the old and new ways of transport.


The coins were sold at several locations in the Bay Area at the price of $1.50 each. Perhaps the most novel of sales locations was the bridge’s toll booths themselves. Even with interest in the commemorative coin series dropping, sales were quite decent, with 71,369 of the 100,000 coins minted sold.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/24/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1936 S BAY BRIDGE 50C MS
  GVGFVFXF5053555861626364656667686970
Base $ - - 80.00 95.00 135 140 150 155 160 170 180 190 215 310 515 2150 17500 - -
$ - - - - - - - - 235 335 765 4300 -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 3643
Low Grade: 55
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/4/2015 MS 65   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131531/Lot# 21292


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
1/25/2004 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg January 25-28, 2004 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 23/Lot# 2897 $92.00
1/15/2007 PCGS MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2313, 2313/Lot# 1517 $201.60
2/10/2008 PCGS MS 66   Goldberg February 10-13, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 44/Lot# 3246 $517.50
8/10/2008 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Coin Auction #68083, 68083/Lot# 63886 $345.00
8/30/2013 NGC MS 66   Stack's Bowers The September 2013 Philadelphia Auction, 195/Lot# 5001 $304.33
3/2/2014 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 03/02/2014, 182/Lot# 154254 $137.50
6/1/2014 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 806, 815/Lot# 310 $1,275.00
10/12/2014 NGC MS 66   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 10/12/2014, 190/Lot# 213653 $1,625.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1936 S BAY BRIDGE 50C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base230255278304351463477477502515527539551575597653838115925556473692012286
23826328732038846847748550651953154355958261671594516243861662287090
00000047748550651953154355958261671594516243861662200
000000477494511523535547567590634776105220905167677100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6622
Owner: Chippewa
 
Grade: MS 68
Points: 6622
Owner: Gregg Bingham
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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