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1916 Booby Quarter By the 1910s the Art Nouveau movement was influencing the designs of American coinage. In 1916 designer Hermon McNeil created what he thought was an attractive portrait of Lady Liberty for the new silver 25-cent piece. No red flags were raised as the design received official approval for mintage in late 1916 for distribution in January 1917. Instead of winning applause, however, the coin caused outrage because the Standing Liberty figure (as it is known to collectors) has her right breast exposed. Moralists decried the image as obscene and decadent. The public's response was so swift and negative that the Treasury Department modified the die for future strikes to cover the exposed breast with armor--even doing so without the official approval of Congress. Furthermore, the federal government did its best to recall the original allotment of 52,000 coins. That was easier said than done. First, any new coin is largely hoarded by collectors for its novelty. Second, the small mintage of these coins enhanced their desirability among collectors. Third, the infamy attached to this coin made it even more collectible than usual. Therefore most of the 1916 "booby quarters" did not stay in circulation very long before they were stashed away by average citizens as curiosity pieces (and perhaps erotic souvenirs). According to the Treasury Department, however, the public's moral outrage had nothing to do with the more modest revised design. It was supposedly symbolic. With war clouds looming, it was thought that Lady Liberty should be shown as fully protected by armor rather than being seen as partially exposed and vulnerable.
Tags: 1916  Standing  Liberty  quarter  breast  numismatics 
Added: 27th October 2016
Views: 1897
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Posted By: Lava1964
Black Tom Explosion 1916 Even though the United States was neutral nation in 1916, it was still occasionally affected by acts of war. The most notable to happen on land was the Black Tom explosion on July 30, 1916, in Jersey City, NJ. It was an act of sabotage by German agents to destroy American-made munitions that were to be supplied to the Allies in the First World War. Black Tom was originally a man-made island constructed around a large black rock in New York Harbor that was a well-known hazard to naval navigation. It was eventually connected by the Lehigh Valley Railroad to the mainland and was absorbed into Jersey City. It became a major munitions depot even before the war. Shortly after midnight on July 30, 1916, a series of small fires was discovered on the pier. Some guards tried to fight the fires while others fled, fearing an explosion. They had good reason to fear such a calamity as 2 million pounds of explosives and small arms were stored on Black Tom Island awaiting shipment to Czarist Russia. The feared explosion came; actually there were several explosions. The first and biggest occurred at 2:08 a.m. It had the force of an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale. Flying fragments caused more than $100,000 in damages to the Statue of Liberty on its gown and torch. (To date, the torch has never been reopened to the public.) Windows 25 miles were shattered and the explosion was felt as far away as Philadelphia. Four people were definitely killed by the blast--including an infant. Some sources claim the fatality total was seven. Blame originally was directed at Black Tom Island watchmen who had lit small smudge-pot fires to drive away mosquitoes, but they were quickly absolved of blame when the true nature of the fires showed obvious evidence of arson. German saboteurs were blamed for the incident which caused $20 million in damages. The Leigh Valley Railroad successfully sued the German government after the war but had no success in collecting any compensation until 1953 when the West German government agreed to pay $95 million. The final payment was made in 1979.
Tags: Black  Tom  Explosion  1916  German  sabotage 
Added: 13th January 2018
Views: 1129
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Posted By: Lava1964

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