So-Called Dollars


Purpose: To advertise city's port, geographical position and potential for trade with West Indies and Central and South America in effort to recapture its "former commercial position", Charleston's prosperity having lagged behind that of many other southern communities.

Organization: First suggested October 1899; Exposition Co. chartered June 1900, public subscription to stock. Modest grants by City and State. Congress at first refused any appropriation but later voted both reimbursement of expense of moving Federal exhibits from Buffalo and money for payment of certain claims after exposition closed.

Site: About 250 acres composed of old Washington Race Course and "the beautiful farm of Captain Wagener generously placed at the disposal of the Directors…for three years without rent or…restriction."

Dates, Attendance: Dec. 2, 1901 to May 31, 1902. During two-thirds of time, weather was "the most forbidding…ever known" holding attendance to only about 675,000; one half paid.

Participants: Lack of original interest by Congress plus construction delays seriously affected both domestic and foreign participation. Ultimately, 20 states represented along with Alaska, Guatemala, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Five of former, all of latter and Cincinnati and Philadelphia erected own buildings. "Best" of Federal exhibits at Pan-American Exposi­tion, Buffalo were brought in, originally at local expense and included Mint Exhibit.

Comment: General building design and grounds were of "typical southern character and motif" and entire project was dubbed "Ivory City." Liberty Bell, popular exposition item of that era, was on display; statuary was "outstanding"; there was "artistic illumination" (electrical).

Medals: It has not been possible to establish which of medals below was considered Official nor which might have been struck in Mint Exhibit on grounds.


Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. Tall palm tree and plantation scene--within center circle; outside, around South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition.
Rev. Fort, below Fort Sumter--within, center wreath; outside, around 1901 Charleston 1902, below South Carolina.

HK-292 Silver-plated Copper, rather thin planchet. 33mm.


Photos courtesy of W. David Perkins

Obv. Edifice; below Charleston S.C. / Dec. 1. 1901--June 1. / 1902; around The South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition *
Rev. Liberty Bell in center circle; outside, above Liberty Bell; below July 4. 1776

HK-293 Bronze. 35mm.
HK-293a White Metal. 35mm.


Photos courtesy of Tony Swicer

Obv. Full winged female figure standing on world globe, ships and train in background.
Rev. South / Carolina / Interstate and / West Indian / Exposi­tion / 1901-1902 / Charleston / S. C.; stalk of corn and flowers to r., bound by ribbon below.

HK-294 Brass. 35mm.
HK-294a Silver.
HK-295 White Metal.
HK-295a Nickel.

HK-287 to HK-291