[Daily article] March 31: Cincinnati Musical Center half dollar

The Cincinnati Musical Center half dollar is a commemorative coin that
was authorized on March 31, 1936, and struck by the United States Bureau
of the Mint that year. Produced with the stated purpose of commemorating
the fiftieth anniversary of Cincinnati as a center of music, it was
conceived by Thomas G. Melish, a coin enthusiast whose group bought the
entire issue from the government, and who resold them at high prices.
Melish had hired sculptor Constance Ortmayer to design the coin, but the
Commission of Fine Arts objected to Stephen Foster being on the obverse,
finding no connection between Foster, who died in 1864, and the supposed
anniversary. Nevertheless, 5,000 sets of three coins, one from each of
the three mints, were issued and sold to Melish’s group, the only
authorized purchaser. He likely held back much of the issue for later
resale, and with few pieces available, prices spiked to over five times
the issue price. The coins are still valuable today. Melish has been
assailed by numismatic writers as greedy.

Read more:

Today’s selected anniversaries:


The Catholic Monarchs of Spain issued the Alhambra Decree,
ordering all Jews to convert to Christianity or be expelled from the


The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated in Paris, becoming a global
icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.


Second World War: Because of a mutiny by Indian soldiers
against their British officers, Japanese troops captured Christmas
Island without any resistance.


Nine Japanese communists armed with samurai swords and pipe
bombs hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 351 on its way from from Tokyo to


The USS Missouri, the last active United States Navy
battleship, was decommissioned in Long Beach, California.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

moly cow:
(chemistry, medicine, informal) A device used to extract from a source
of decaying molybdenum-99 the metastable isotope 99mTc of technetium,
which is the most commonly used medical radioisotope.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Everything free and decent in life is being locked away in filthy
little cellars by beastly people who don’t care.  
–John Fowles

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