Description and Analysis

Gold Commemoratives
1926 AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL $2.5 MS

Description & Analysis

July 4th, 1926 marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. To mark this important anniversary, the National Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association envisioned the release an entire series of commemorative coins. This plan was eventually pared back to just two coins however, a half dollar, and a $2.5 quarter eagle gold piece. The bill passed by Congress on March 3rd, 1925, authorized the striking of up to on million half dollars and 200,000 gold quarter eagles.

The chief sculptor-engraver of the U.S. Mint, John Ray Sinnock, was entrusted to design the coins. Sinnock’s design for the quarter eagle features a full figure of Liberty standing upon a partial globe. In her left hand she holds a long scroll which represents the Declaration of Independence. The legends UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and LIBERTY are arranged in arcs around the periphery. 1776 and 1926 appear to the left and right of her figure, respectively. On its reverse, this issue displays a frontal elevation of the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. Above Independence Hall, divided by the belfry, is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Our national motto E PLURIBUS UNUM appears below. Arranged around the periphery are the inscriptions SESQUICENTENNIAL OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE and 2 ½ DOLLARS.

Partially due to the low relief of the coins, they were not very popular. Even though the mint had struck the full allotment of coins, only 45,793 of the gold quarter eagles sold during the Sesquicentennial Exhibition in Philadelphia from June to November of 1926. The remaining coins were returned to the Mint to be destroyed.