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The Rhode Island Tercentenary half dollar is a commemorative fifty-cent piece, struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936. The coin was designed by John Howard Benson and Arthur Graham Carey. Its obverse (pictured) depicts Roger Williams, founder of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, meeting a Native American. It was intended to honor the 300th anniversary of Providence, Rhode Island, although it bears no mention of the city. A total of 50,000 coins were struck at the three mints then in operation. On March 5, 1936, Rhode Island banks holding the coins announced that the entire issue had sold out within six hours, but ample supplies proved to be available at higher prices from insiders. Coin collectors were incensed, and the abuses led Congress to end the authorization for outstanding commemorative coin issues in 1939. Today the half dollars list for hundreds of dollars, depending on condition. (Full article...)

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Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover (d. 1851) · Wilma Mankiller (b. 1945) · Conn Smythe (d. 1980)

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The William Crooks is a 4-4-0 steam locomotive that was the first locomotive to operate in the U.S. state of Minnesota, beginning in 1861. It was named after William Crooks, the chief mechanical engineer for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, who earlier served as a colonel in the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Crooks laid out the initial ten-mile track between Minneapolis and St. Paul on which the locomotive operated. It was retired from regular service in 1897, but operated special services for several further decades. It is now in the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth.

Photograph: National Photo Company, Restoration: Adam Cuerden

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