[Daily article] January 16: Illinois Centennial half dollar

The Illinois Centennial half dollar is a commemorative fifty-cent piece
struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1918. The obverse
side, depicting Abraham Lincoln, was designed by Chief Engraver George
T. Morgan; the reverse image, based on the Seal of Illinois, was done by
his assistant and successor, John R. Sinnock. Morgan’s design is based
on a statue by Andrew O’Connor. The State of Illinois asked for a
commemorative to mark the centennial of its 1818 statehood. In 1918,
after legislation was enacted, the two engravers produced designs, but
Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo required changes, not all of which
were made. The coins were minted in August 1918, and were sold to the
public for one dollar each. Though many were held by a bank until 1933,
all were sold, and profits were used to cover the cost of local
centennial celebrations or to help those in need because of World War I.
Later writers have generally admired the coin, considering it one of the
more handsome American commemoratives. It is valued in the hundreds of
dollars today, and occasionally trades for more.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1809:

Peninsular War: French forces under Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult
attacked the amphibious evacuation of the British under Sir John Moore
in Corunna, Galicia, Spain.

1862:

The beam of a pumping engine broke at the Hartley Colliery in
Northumberland, England, and fell down the shaft, trapping the men below
and resulting in the deaths of 204.

1945:

World War II: Adolf Hitler and his staff moved into the
Führerbunker (entrance pictured), where he would eventually commit
suicide.

1986:

The Internet Engineering Task Force, a standards organization
that develops and promotes Internet standards, held its first meeting,
consisting of twenty-one United States-government-funded researchers.

2016:

After gunmen took hostages the previous night at a restaurant
in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, government commandos stormed the premises
to bring the situation to an end.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

serac:
1. Often sérac: a hard, cone-shaped, pale green, strongly flavoured cheese
from Switzerland made from skimmed cowmilk and blue fenugreek
(Trigonella caerulea); Schabziger, Sapsago. It is usually eaten grated,
mixed with butter, or in a fondue.
2. (geography (glaciology)) A sharp tower of ice formed by intersecting
crevasses of a glacier.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in
promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens — and
real diseases are useful material. Epidemic diseases usually elicit a
call to ban the entry of foreigners, immigrants. And xenophobic
propaganda has always depicted immigrants as bearers of disease… Such
is the extraordinary potency and efficacy of the plague metaphor: it
allows a disease to be regarded both as something incurred by vulnerable
“others” and as (potentially) everyone’s disease.  
–Susan Sontag

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