Wikipedia:Today's featured article/March 31, 2017

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Cincinnati Musical Center half dollar

The Cincinnati Musical Center half dollar is a commemorative coin that was authorized on March 31, 1936, and struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint that year. Produced with the stated purpose of commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Cincinnati as a center of music, it was conceived by Thomas G. Melish, a coin enthusiast whose group bought the entire issue from the government, and who resold them at high prices. Melish had hired sculptor Constance Ortmayer to design the coin, but the Commission of Fine Arts objected to Stephen Foster being on the obverse, finding no connection between Foster, who died in 1864, and the supposed anniversary. Nevertheless, 5,000 sets of three coins, one from each of the three mints, were issued and sold to Melish's group, the only authorized purchaser. He likely held back much of the issue for later resale, and with few pieces available, prices spiked to over five times the issue price. The coins are still valuable today. Melish has been assailed by numismatic writers as greedy. (Full article...)

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