Conservation Showcase: 1936 Wisconsin Commemorative Half Dollar

Posted on 10/7/2009

A recent example from our conservation laboratory.

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Issued in 1936, the Wisconsin Half Dollar was created to commemorate the establishment of Wisconsin Territory a hundred years earlier. The design is somewhat unusual in the history of U.S. numismatics without featuring a human form at all. The design features elements of the state’s seal including the badger. This particular example of the Wisconsin Half features the speckled badger though the speckling is neither intended nor desirable.

The conservators at NCS were confronted with this coin whose improper storage over the years had left it with both an odd pattern of brown toning and a plethora of dark black specks. If left alone, these dark spots can lead to corrosion into the surface of a coin. Through precise conservation work, the NCS technicians were able to save this badger from its spots and the coin was able to grade with NGC.

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