The Albany commemorative half dollar was struck to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the city of Albany, NY. This coins obverse has long been disputed, though its designer Gertrude K. Lathrop stated that the side with the beaver is the coins Obverse. The American Beaver was so common in 17th century Albany, that that trapping them for their pelts was the main industry in that area. The beaver clutches a maple twig indicating New York's state tree, which symbolizes the growth and fertility of the area and the state. Its Reverse depicts Governor Thomas Dongan's farewell to Robert Livingston and Peter Schuyler, who hold the Albany city charter. The Albany commemorative was minted for local pride and to help fund the local celebrations in 1936 which featured a live beaver, then an endangered species. These coins were originally sold for $2 each. The committee went on to sell these coins for another 7 years refusing to reduce the original issue price. After sales had virtually ceased the remaining unsold coins were then returned to the Mint and melted.
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