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: 12.5g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $7.14 (9/25/2016)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - 80.00 95.00 135 140 150 155 160 165 170 180 190 215 310 515 2150 17500 - -
$ - - - - - - - - - 235 335 765 4300 -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 3719
Low Grade: 55
Average Grade: 64
High Grade: 68


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
7/17/2007 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2007 Summer F.U.N. (July West Palm Beach, FL) Final Session #443, 443/Lot# 9607 $310.50
9/15/2010 NGC MS 64   Teletrade Auction 2926, 2926/Lot# 1579 $138.00
5/29/2011 PCGS MS 63   Goldberg May 29 - June 1, 2011 The Pre-Long Beach Auction of US, World Coins and Currency, 63/Lot# 536 $127.00
7/10/2012 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction - US and World Lots - Internet Only Sessions, 174/Lot# 13436 $165.68
1/13/2013 NGC MS 65   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/13/2013, 57/Lot# 89979 $198.00
2/3/2013 NGC MS 66   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 737, 746/Lot# 360 $330.00
8/5/2014 PCGS MS 67   Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1208/Lot# 4916 $1,529.85
10/10/2014 PCGS MS 66   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 15983 $246.75


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
 
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