1939: Tercentenary Dividend

In 1939, the Society received what might be called a Tercentenary dividend: $6,245 from the sales of the Tercentenary half-dollar coin.

A year earlier, Delaware had celebrated the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Swedes at Fort Christina with a full range of festivities including visits from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Swedish royal family, public events in Rodney Square, and the creation of Fort Christina State Park.

The Delaware Tercentenary Commission received $50,000 from the state to partially fund the celebrations, but had to raise any additional money needed. It sold a variety of collectible souvenirs including Spode plates, silver and bronze medals, commemorative stamps, and a special half-dollar coin.

Carl L. Schmitz won the design competition for the coin. Twenty-five thousand were minted and put on sale for $1.75 each. Nearly 21,000 coins were sold and the rest were returned to the mint and melted down. Sales brought in $22,995, of which $16,750 covered expenses of the celebration. The remainder came to the Delaware Historical Society, which invested it in stocks for its endowment.

Delaware Tercentenary Half Dollar
Delaware Tercentenary Half Dollar



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