When it comes to collecting U.S. coinage, issues from the Philippines are the most overlooked of all coins. To add further insult to injury, try to find a commercial U.S. type set album that includes issues from the Philippines. (hint: there are none)
This was a true shame as coinage from this era was truly beautiful and reaped the benefit of a 1902 bill signed by the President Theodore Roosevelt authorizing a new and distinct coinage to be struck that created some of the most beloved coins collected in the hobby today. Many credit the 1907 $10 or $20 Gold Eagle coins as the first new designs of Roosevelt's commission but that honor actually belongs to Philippine coinage beginning in 1903.
To further complicate things, some people today are even unaware that the Philippines were once part of the United States from 1898 to 1945.
The Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which closed the Spanish-American War.
The Tydings-McDuffie Independence Act of 1934 granted the Philippines Commonwealth status. The Act provided for complete independence of the islands in 1945 after 10 years of self-government under U.S. supervision.
The obverse was designed by Melecio Figueroa and features a young Filipina in a flowing dress standing while striking an anvil with a hammer held in her right hand, her left arm is half raised and she holds an olive branch in her hand. In the background is the Mayon volcano with a billowing smoke coming from the crater. On the upper periphery of the coin is the denomination “FIFTY CENTAVOS” and on the lower periphery is the word “FILIPINAS”.
The reverse design features an eagle perched atop a shield with a banner below it which is inscribed “COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES.” On the outer periphery are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and the year of issue. To the left of the year is the mint mark “S” for San Francisco.
General Market Notes
Though only a two year type coin, more than 37 million coins were minted making this readily available at affordable prices.