The Columbia South Carolina commemorative represented yet another of the plethora of commemoratives issued in 1936, this one commemorates the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Columbia as the capital of South Carolina. Originally the Sesquicentennial Commission asked for 25,000 coins from each of the three mints, but the total mintage is only 25,000 from all three (Philadelphia, Denver, & San Francisco) plus a handful reserved for assay.
The coin was designed by a Clemson college student, A. Wolfe Davidson, over the objection of the Commission of Fine Arts who noted: “The models lack artistic merit and are unsatisfactory for translation into memorial coins”. The design went forward in spite of this criticism.
On the obverse the central element is Justice holding scales in her left hand and a sword in her right. She stands between the two capital buildings. Towards the left is the capital from 1786 while on the right is a rendition of the building in 1936. On the Denver and San Francisco versions, the mint mark is directly below Justice. The central elements are circled by a large raised ring with the inscription “Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Capital“ & “Columbia South Carolina” outside the ring.
The reverse is equally simple. The central element is a Palmetto tree with two bunches of arrows tied to its base with a ribbon. On the ground below the tree is a sprig of oak leaves. The mottos “E Pluribus Unum” is above (with the words separated by dots) and “In God we Trust” is to the right of the tree. 13 large stars also circle the tree. Around the outside in large block letters are the inscriptions “United States of America” and “Half Dollar”