coinfodder's Blog

28 Oct 2020

The Fifty States of Coinage- Part 13- Illinois

Coins-United States | coinfodder

Ello' everyone. And today, we raft down the Missouri from Idaho, and up the Mississippi to Illinois.

The earliest known settlers of Illinois were the pre-Columbians that lived in the town of Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville. After the pre-Columbians lost power, the Illiniwek Confederation, a loose group of tribes allied with each other. This group gave the state its name. In 1673, Jacques Marquette (the college namesake) and Louis Jolliet explored the Mississippi and Illinois River. After this, Illinois would remain in French hands until the nation's loss in the French and Indian War, which would remain uninhabited by colonists due to the Proclamation of 1763.

In 1818, Illinois became a state, but resistance continued by Indian groups, most notably Chief Black Hawk, who was finally defeated 1832. In 1839, the Latter Day Saints were started in Nauvoo, but in 1844 the group, led by Brigham Young, left the state after the killing of Prophet Joseph Smith near Carthage. (Numismaster, you are from Utah. Can you fact-check the above?). In 1860, Springfield lawyer Abe Lincoln became the 16th President, leaving the state and never returning. During the Civil War, the state produced many fine troops, including U.S. Grant, commander of all Union Forces. After the war, in 1871, Mrs. O'leary's cow kicked a kerosene lamp and started the Great Fire of Chicago, after which the city would be completely reinvented into a marvel of the US.

Today, Illinois is still the Midwestern state it always was, attracting tourists to the Navy Pier and Lake Michigan, and following the trail of Lincoln. Famous citizens include Ray Bradbury, Al Capone, Miles Davis, Charlton Heston, Abraham Lincoln, and Robin Williams.

Obviously, what comes to mind first in coins are the ATB and 50 state Quarters. The 50 state quarter was one of the first created by the AIFP and was considered one of the highlights of the 50 state quarter series. On it, is the words "Land of Lincoln" and a picture of Lincoln with a book. To the left of him is a strip of farmland and a silo. On the right, is a piece of the Chicago skyline with the Sears Tower in full view. This represents how Illinois is a crossroads of both rural and urban.

On the ATB quarter, is one of the many rock features of Shawnee National Forest, a large expanse of forest and rock formation. The design on the 2016 coin is Camel Rock, one the most famous of the rock formations in Shawnee.

For the classic commemorative lovers, we have a little bit extra to cover today. In 1918, a commemorative was released celebrating the 100th Birthday of the state. On the front was a younger, beardless image of Lincoln (Remember, Lincoln only grew whiskers as a campaign promise). On the back is the state seal, a "fierce eagle atop a crag, clutching a shield and carrying a banner..." (Bressett, 3rd Edition, 1091). The coin was issued by the Illinois Centennial Commission through various outlets for the grand price of one dollar.

In 1937, an Illinois town was the subject of a coin. This time, the coin was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town of Elgin. The dates were 1673 (no relation to the town- when Marquette and Joliet went up the river, and 1936. The fellow on the front was a generic pioneer, most likely a French Fur-trader from around the era. On the back is shameless self advertising for the Pioneer Memorial statuary group, the group that sponsors these coins. The people that released them however, were the Elgin Centennial Monumental Committee, headed by none other that L.W. Hoffecker, who somehow seems to get his greedy hands on every single darn Classic Commemorative.

In 2009, the final commemorative commemorative somethin' outa Illinois was released. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Birthday of Abe Lincoln, the coin was a Silver Dollar designed by Justin Kunz, who is now designing every coin in sight. The front is dated 2009 and features a bust of Lincoln, and on the back, is the final 43 words of the Gettysburg Address, surrounded by a laurel wreath.

Thanks folks! And see you later, as we travel to the across the Wabash River.



Level 4

Lots of great information. The Illinois coins do show some great art and design. Abe Lincoln - what is not to like.


Level 6

Great review on Illinois! That 1918 Commemorative is a beauty!


Level 6

Just to make an observation, the 1918 Lincoln profile is so so much better looking than the 2009 Lincoln profile. This seems the way of the world nowadays. The great sculptors are no longer around, everything is done on the computer screen, art has suffered.

The commemoratives of both Illinois and Abraham Lincoln are great, it is nice to have inspiring words from a great man on a coin. Thanks Coinfodder!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks for another great blog! You have a very good series going here....


Level 7

I have it and I have read it. Longstrider your right we all should read it. I was watching the History channel they said The Do a knocking over the lantern did not happen. Mrs. O'Leary was in the clear. They rejected it. Who knows. No one was there! Thanks. Good stuff.


Level 5

Once again you have hit one outa the park. I lived in Illinois for over Nine years and didn't know about these older commemoratives, I wasn't active back then. Longstrider is correct, everyone should read the inscription on the back of the 2009 Lincoln Commemorative. I can't actually pick a favorite from these coins. Like Golfer says, I need to purchase that 1918. Heck I wouldn't mind collecting all of em. Thanks again for the knowledge smackdown and great pictures. Later!


Level 5

Thanks for the awesome info! Loved every second of it. Cheers, NM


Level 6

Nice over view coins related to the state.


Level 5

Nice blog post. I need to purchase that 1918 commemorative. Also that Elgin. The old commemorative are awesome and everyone should get a few nice ones.


Level 6

Nice blog. Everyone should read that inscription on the back of2009 Lincoln Commemorative. Thanks.

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