What Are So Called Dollars? Centennial medals, Expo tokens, & more.

I have a large group of medals that are known as so-called dollars. So Called Dollars are 33 to 45mm in diameter, and they commemorate events such as record-setting firsts, World’s Fairs, Expos, Centennials, Sesquicentennials, Bicentennials, and the like. These medals are made of various materials (brass, bronze, gilt bronze, silver, aluminum, and even gold). Here’s a very detailed explanation of what qualifies a medal as a so called dollar.

Assorted So Called Dollars

Assorted So Called Dollars

These medals were cataloged by Harold Hibler and Charlie Kappan (following in the footsteps of Richard Kenney) and published in a standard reference in 1963. The Hibler-Kappan Standard Guide to So Called Dollars book references 1033 different medals (including several that were minted in various metals and receive a unique number for each metal). The original list is far from complete, and a 2nd catalog was recently published which identified additional compositions and some neglected medals.

The catalog was unusual because it organized these medals by date and by event. It provides an overview of the events (such as the Chicago World’s Fair in 1892), and it also tells stories about the medals themselves. Hibler-Kappan often contacted the makers of these medals, and tracked down information that was not recorded in the official record. Hibler-Kappan listed all issues they could find struck before December 31, 1960. There are many that were unknown to them, but exist in substantial quantities.

Unfortunately, the HK numbering system is rather clunky and doesn’t leave room for new discoveries. For example, the A&P Carnival Dollar exists in 2 varieties. The pig shown in the HK catalog is generally referred to as HK464, and the unknown variety with a cow is known as HK464a.

The original guide includes value estimates (circa 1962). It does not differentiate between hi-grade and low-grade coins, which makes the price guidelines less than perfectly useful. Hibler did note that his prices were only suggestions for medals in XF condition.

Collecting So-Called Dollars is a growing field. It is still below the radar for many coin dealers, and I’ve found that it offers a decent chance to find unusual and rare coins in dealers junk boxes.

Here’s a list of what I have in my collection (including a few that may or may not be SCDs). As I add individual pages for the coins, I’ll go back through and add links:

1876 US Centennial Exposition HK-20 slabbed (from the Bill S. Weber collection)

1876 US Centennial Exposition HK-21

1889 ? Paris Expo Token

1892 Columbian Exposition Birds Eye Dollar HK166 holed, badly

1893 Columbian Exposition US Government Dollar Type I – HK 154

1893 Columbian Exposition US Government Dollar Type I – HK 154

1893 Columbian Exposition US Government Dollar Type 2 – HK 155

1893 Columbian Exposition US Government Dollar Type 2 – HK 155

1893 Columbian Exposition Globe Dollar HK 174

1893 Columbian Expo Official medal HK 154

1893 Obverse, with alternate reverse World Pattern, with Harvey Land Association reverse HK 174

1894 California Midwinter Expo HK 245a

1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition – official medal HK 274

1898 Trans Mississippi Expo HK 383

1901 Evacuation of Boston Anniversary HK 131 holed

1901 Evacuation of Boston Anniversary HK 131

1901 Evacuation of Boston Anniversary HK 131

1901 Evacuation of Boston Anniversary HK 131

1901 PanAmerican Expo Official Medal HK289

1901 PanAmerican Expo Official Medal HK289

1901 PanAmerican Expo Official Medal HK289

1903 Louisiana Purchase Expo – Good Luck Dollar – Napoleon and Jefferson HK 310 partially holed

1903 Louisiana Purchase Expo – Good Luck Dollar – Napoleon and Jefferson metal detector find

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Official Medal HK 299 (Silver)

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Official Medal HK 303

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Official Medal HK 301 or 303

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Official Medal HK 301 or 303

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Gilt Official Medal HK 304

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Gilt Official Medal HK 304

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Round Souvenir Medal HK 305 serial #9688

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Good Luck Dollar Medal HK 310 holed

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Good Luck Dollar Medal HK 310

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exhibition Palace HK 315

1904 Louisiana Purchase Centennial International Nickel Co HK 323

1906 Pike’s Peak Centennial of Discovery HK 385

1907 Jamestown Tercentennial HK 345

1907 Jamestown Tercentennial HK 345

1907 Jamestown Tercentennial HK 347

1908 US Fleet Visit (World Journey – with Admiral Fighting Bob)

1908 US Fleet Visit (World Journey – with Admiral Fighting Bob) HK-351 rough surfaces (from the Bill Weber Collection)

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo HK 353 solder marks

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo HK 354

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo HK 355 (copper) holed

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo US Government Building HK 365

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo US Government Building HK 367

1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo US Government Building HK 367

1909 AYPE: Spokane Day

1910 Ohio Valley Exposition HK 395

1914 Commercial Tercentennial of NYC

1915 Panama Pacific Bronze HK400

1915 Panama Pacific Gilt HK401 verly little gilt left

1915 Panama Pacific Gilt HK401

1915 Panama Pacific Bronze HK406

1915 Mississippi State Dollar HK 408

1915 Mississippi State Dollar HK 408

1915 Tower of Jewels – California Expo HK 415

1915 Tower of Jewels – California Expo HK 416 from the Bill Weber collection

1915 Uncle Sam – California Expo HK 428

1915 PPIE – Panama Pacific International Expo Official Medal HK 400

1915 Arkansas at the Panama Pacific Expo HK 403

1915 Panama Pacific Expo – Florida State Medal HK 404a

1915 HK400 Panama Pacific Expo – official medal

1918 Official Victory Medal HK 901/902 loop removed?

1918 Official Victory Medal HK HK 902 (901 or 902?)

1920 Wilson Dollar in Bronze HK 450 (better obverse)

1920 Wilson Dollar in Bronze HK 450 (better reverse)

1920 Wilson Dollar in Silver HK449 (slabbed MS61)

1922 75th Anniversary Roger’s Brothers HK 737

1922 Roger’s Brothers 75th Anniversary HK 737

1926 Connecticut Building HK 456

1926 Sports Medal

1926 US Sesquicentennial HK 451 or 452

1926 US Sesquicentennial HK 452

1926 Sesquicentennial International Exposition – HK 453 cased, uncirculated features but ungradeable

1926 Sesquicentennial International Exposition HK 454

1931 McCormick Reaper Centennial HK 460

1931 McCormick Reaper Centennial HK 460a (silver dipped?)

1931 McCormick Centennial HK 460

1932 250th Anniversary of William Penn’s Arrival HK 462

1933 Century of Progress Expo HK 463

1933 Century of Progress Expo HK 463 slabbed, from the Bill Weber collection

1933 A&P Carnival HK 464

1933 Ford V8 HK 465

1933 Greenbuck Dollar HK 467

1933 Greenbuck Dollar HK 467

1933 Greenbuck Dollar HK 467

1933 Hall of Science Dollar 469

1933 Indian Head HK 470

1933 Indian Head HK 470

1933 Indian Head HK 470 tarnish on the right side

1933 Italian Exhibit HK 471 slabbed NGC case: 1944417-005

1933 Michigan Dollar HK 473

1933 Michigan Dollar HK 473

1933 Santa Monica Breakwater HK 4863 previously cleaned, from the Bill Weber Collection

1933 Santa Monica Breakwater HK 4863 (a duplicate, but uncleaned)

1933 Wolfville Western Days HK 689

1933 Wolfville Western Days HK 689

1933 Colorado’s Century of Progress Type 4 – HK 870

1933 Century of Progress HK 463

1933 Century of Progress – HK 464 A&P Carnival with pig

1933 Ford – Century of Progress at the World’s Fair HK 465

1933 Century of Progress – Travel and Transport – HK 474 1933 variety

1933 Century of Progress – Travel and Transport – HK 474 1933 variety

1933 COP – Hall of Science Dollar HK469

1933 Santa Monica Breakwater HK687

1933 Wolfville Western Days HK689

1934 Ford V8 HK 466

1934 Ford V8 HK 466

1934 Hall of Science Dollar 469a

1934 Hall of Science Dollar 469a

1934 Hall of Transportation Dollar 474a

1934 Hall of Transportation Dollar 474a

1934 Century of Progress – Travel and Transport – HK 474a 1934 variety

1936 Long Island Tercentennial

1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial HK 696

1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Celebration HK 696

1936 Wisconsin Centennial Celebration HK 696

1936 Wisconsin Centennial Celebration HK 696

1939 New York World’s Fair 1839-1939 China Clipper

1939 Treasure Island HK 481

1939 Treasure Island HK 481

1939 Treasure Island HK 481

1939 New York World’s Fair 1839-1939

1939 New York World’s Fair Communications Building

1939 New York World’s Fair Washington’s Inaugeration holed

1939 Petro Dollar Type 2 HK 484

1939 Petro Dollar Type 2 HK 484

1939 Tower of the Sun HK 490a (gold dollar sized)

1939 HC Kreis – Medallic Art Co. Official Souveneir HK 491 Silver

1939 North Carolina Dollar HK494

1939 North Carolina Tourism Medal from the 1939 World’s Fair HK 494

1939 North Carolina Tourism Medal from the 1939 World’s Fair HK 494

1939 North Carolina Tourism Medal from the 1939 World’s Fair HK 494

1939 Kelvinator: 25th Anniversary HK 739b

1939 Treasure Island – World’s Fair Token (bought in San Francisco at Trader Sam’s)

1940 Petro Dollar Type 1 HK 483

1940 Petro Dollar Type 1 HK 483

1945 Four Freedoms Silver HK 911

1945 Four Freedoms Bronze HK 912

1945 Four Freedoms Medal HK411a (UN founding, similar reverse to HK411)

1946 International Monetary Conference HK 495

1948 Wisconsin Centennial Celebration

1948 United Nations Pledge Spinner HK 915

1950 Capitol Bicentennial

1950 Washington DC Sesquicentennial HK 508

1953 Louisiana Purchase Sesquicentennial HK 509

1953 North American Aviation Inc 25th Anniversary

1954 Cradle of the Union Celebration HK 512

1958 Minnesota Iron Nickel HK 518a

1959 Oregon 100th Anniversary – State Capital – Salem

1959 Oregon Beaver Dollar HK 573

1959 Rush to the Rockies / Air Force Centennial – Silver

1959 HK 561 State Capitol – Salem

1959 HK 567 Pendleton Roundup – silvered

1959 HK557 Eugene, Oregon

1959 HK567 Pendleton Roundup

1960 Gasparilla Pirate Festival – HK 720

1960 Gasparilla Pirate Festival – HK 720

1960 World’s Largest Ship HK 578

1960 Mardi Gras Celebration HK 581

1960 Pony Express Founders Medal HK 582 Silver

1960 Pony Express Founders Medal HK 583 Bronze

1960 Pony Express Founders Medal HK 583 Bronze

1960 Pony Express Founders Medal HK 583 Bronze

1960 Pony Express Founders Medal HK 583 Bronze original packaging included (I put it in storage)

1961 Pony Express Termination Medal HK 589 Bronze

1961 Pony Express Termination Medal HK 589 Bronze

1961 Termination of the Pony Express HK 589 Medal – bronze

1962 Continental Dollar Restrike HK 854a

1962 Continental Dollar Restrike HK 854a

1962 Seattle World’s Fair – Official Medal (Space Age)

1962 Seattle World’s Fair – Official Medal (Space Age)

1962 Seattle World’s Fair – $1,000,000 Display

1962 Seattle World’s Fair – Monorail

1962 Redding California Mining Centennial

1962 New Mexico Golden Anniversary

1962 Official US Space Age Coin – Seattle World’s Fair Medal with booklet

1964 New York World’s Fair Official

1964 New York World’s Fair Official

1965 Taos New Mexico 350th Anniversary

1966 Indiana Sesquicentennial

1966 Sesquicentennial of Indiana

1967 Expo 1967 – Man and His World Nickel

1967 Heraldic Arts: Mississippi Sesquicentennial

1968 Navajo Tribal Centennial

1968 Navajo Tribal Centennial

1968 Hemisfair Bronze Official Logo

1968 Hemisfair Silver Official Logo

1968 Hemisfair Texas Outline Bronze

1968 New Orleans Saturn V

1968 Caln Township

1968 ? Illinois Sesquicentennial

1968 ? Illinois Sesquicentennial

1968 San Antonio World’s Fair

1968 Illinois Sesquicentennial

1969 California Bicentennial Official in Silver

1969 California Bicentennial Official in Silver

1969 Alabama Sesquicentennial Tuskaloosa – DeSoto

1969 Alabama Sesquicentennial Jackson – Battle of Horseshoe Bend

1970 Missouri Sesquicentennial

1970 Russellville Arkansas Centennial Silver

1970 UN 25th Anniversary

1970 UN 25th Anniversary toned

1970 ? UN 25th Anniversary Medal

1971 ? Shenandoah Iowa “Shenantennial”

1971 Chicago Fire Centennial

1971 Chicago Fire Centennial

1972 National Parks Centennial

1972 Colorado Springs Centennial

1972 Longines Wittnauer Driving the Golden Spike

1972 Longines Wittnauer San Francisco Earthquake

1974 Spokane Expo

1974 Spokane Expo

1975 Garrett Indiana Centennial – Silver toned

1976 Colorado Statehood Centennial – Heraldic Arts Medal

1976 Colorado Centennial

1976 Nevada Centennial

1979 75th Anniversary of Peterborough Lift Lock

1982 Knoxville World’s Fair – US Pavilion

1986 Arkansas Sesquicentennial

1987 US Constitution Centennial

1987 Arizona 75th Anniversary

2010 Shanghai Expo

2010 Shanghai Expo

2010 Shanghai Expo – Ireland Pavillion

4 responses to “What Are So Called Dollars? Centennial medals, Expo tokens, & more.

  1. Carol Lokomski

    I have recently come across the following in The Wittnauer Precious Metals Guild boxes and want to know if I have anything worthwhile. Can you help me? (Box also says “Makers of Fine Medallic Art.”) Pony Express Rider and Wells Cargo Coach (both in same box). I do not see any date nor do I know what metal it is. The other box contains two medals also, Discovery of Gold and Driving the Golden Spike. Any info?

  2. There were several varieties of those medals made. While they are not generally classified as So-Called Dollars, I do have several in my collection. For example, here is the Pony Express medal you mentioned. On the edge of the medal (looking at it from the side) you will find the composition. Bronze has no inscription, sterling silver (92.5% silver) says “STERLING”, and fine silver says “0.999 FINE”. Each medal varies slightly in weight, but they are generally around 35 grams (which works out to about 1.1 ounce of silver for the sterling pieces). I hope that helps!
    -Yours,
    George

  3. Tom Rodgers

    My Grandparents collected all kinds of commemorative coins most are bronze and some gold. The ones I have in front of me right now are from Wittnauer Mint. One is the “Two Centruies of Liberty” and the other is what seems to be a complete set of Great American Triumph with paper cards for each coin. Are they worth anything? How would I go about getting them appraised?

  4. Nickolas Mann

    I baught a Russellville, AR 1970 coin for $6 off of eBay and was wondering if anyone knows any history from this coin, like what it is made of, how much it’s worth, and how many were even made. I currently live and Russellville and have lived near all of my life. Thanks!

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