So-Called Dollars

MINNESOTA STATEHOOD CENTENNIAL
1958

Purpose: To celebrate 100th anniversary of Statehood and to "sell Minnesota to Minnesotans and to the world."

Organization: Statehood Centennial Commission created by 1955 Legislature; $100,000 granted for planning phase with additional $1,100,000 forthcoming in 1957 upon submission of final plans. While Commission directly staged many events, County Committees were "broad framework on which mass participation could be built"; all 87 counties so organized. Local activities were financed by modest direct assistance from Commission, by county funds and sale of multitude of souvenirs.

Dates, Site, Attendance: Year long, state-wide program presented "1,600 major Centennial events, exclusive of school, service club and civic affairs, solely in observance of 100th birthday"; attracted millions of visitors.

Comment: High point was Statehood Week, May 5-11; Commemorative Ceremony in Memorial Stadium, University of Minnesota, drew 22,000 on Statehood Day, May 11. Commission's largest project was Centennial Train whose 6 exhibit cars presented "every aspect of Minnesota life--past, present and future." Between April 19 and Sept. 3, train criss-crossed state visiting almost 100 cities, triggered local centennial activities. Commission also converted old river sternwheeler into Centennial Showboat; played over 100 performances up and down Mississippi River.

A permanent memorial to Statehood was restoration of Old Fort Snelling, established 1819 as northernmost post of U.S. Army. Centennial observance was integrated everywhere with annual events. In St. Paul, famous Winter Carnival in January and State Fair in August became "Winter Carnival and Centennial Holiday" and "State Fair and Centennial Exposition," respectively, with record-breaking attendance. Aquatennial at Minneapolis in July included "Aqua-Centennial Salute."

Medals: While there was no Official Medal sponsored by Centennial Commission, there was an Official Emblem, designed by Will Schaeffer, which appeared on most local and private issues.

OFFICIAL CENTENNIAL EMBLEM

Arcs around entire border enclosing design of four unequal segments, upper l. and lower r. are frosty, other 2 are bright; around, in upper two segments Minnesota Centennial; in lower l. 1858, in lower r. 1958; central design is that of two heads, back to back, female to l. and male to r.; below are two outstretched hands holding items representing agriculture, industry, forests, ore.

UNIFACE DOLLARS

Originally struck as trial pieces to interest cities, counties, merchants and others to use reverse for individualized purposes. They also proved popular in uniface form; sold widely by smaller merchants as souvenirs.


Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. UNIFACE except for microscopic Wendell-N.W. / MPLS.

HK-517 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.
HK-518 Aluminum.

VIRGINIA DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. Iron / Nickel / Virginia / Minn.

HK-518a Aluminum.

ALEXANDRIA, DOUGLAS COUNTY, DOLLARS

Original Bronze medals issued by Alexandria Centennial Committee; 1,500 struck and sold for 50 cents. Later, 1,000 additional Bronze and "special limited striking" of 250 sterling Silver pieces were offered for $1 and $4 respectively by retail outlet of striking company that apparently had retained dies. Reverse of medal depicts carving of famous Kensington Rune Stone found in Alexandria area 1898. Runic characters carved into stone purportedly told amazing story of visit there by Norsemen 130 years before Columbus discovered America. Controversy as to authenticity still prevails.


Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. In center, on tablet or shield, is design of 2 Viking figures, one standing with shield and spear, other on knee carving stone block; in upper right of general design is 1362; above design Alexandria / Centennial; to l. 1858 above a fish; to r. 1958 above a bird; below design, on ribbon, June 13-14-15

HK-519 Silver, on edge Sterling. 33mm.
HK-520 Gilt Bronze.

MURRAY COUNTY DOLLAR

Issued by Murray County Centennial Committee at Slayton; 1,000 struck and sold for 50 cents.

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. Murray County / 1958 / Our 101st / Year / "Acres of Opportunity"

HK-521 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

NORMAN COUNTY DOLLAR

Issued by Norman County Centennial Committee at Ada; approximately 1,000 struck and sold for 50 cents.


Photos courtesy of Bob Busby

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. In two lines, across Norman / County.

HK-522 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

ONAMIA DOLLAR

Issued by Onamia Commercial Club, Onamia, Mille Lacs County; about 1,500 struck, both plain and pierced; sold for $1.


Photos courtesy of Bob Busby

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. Onamia / -- o -- / 1908 / 1958; below Golden Anniversary

HK-523 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION DOLLAR

Issued by Minnesota State Bar Association; 1,000 copies struck and presented to members at annual meeting, June 19-20, 1958 at Minneapolis.

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. Minnesota State Bar Association / 75th / Year / 1883--1958 / June 19-20, 1958.

HK-524 Aluminum. 33mm.

WESTERN STAR LODGE NO. 26,
A F & A M DOLLAR

Issued by Lodge and presented free to members, their centennial year concurring with that of State. This was very limited issue.


Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. At top, around Western Star Lodge No. 26 A F & A M; across 100th / Year / 1858-1958 / October 27. / 1958 / Albert Lea, Minn.

HK-525 Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

WINONA COUNTY DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. At top, around Winona County Schools; across First National Bank / Winona / R. D. Cone Co. / Ace Hardware; below, around Jesse B. Jestus, Supt.

HK-525a Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

FAIRMONT DOLLAR


Photos courtesy of Brian Silliman

Obv. Official Centennial Emblem, per above.
Rev. At center, within recessed parallelogram Fairmont

HK-525b Gilt Bronze. 33mm.

HK-515 to HK-516a