An American general in the Philippines, and on its coinage, too

Douglas MacArthur honored on several commemorative coins
By , Coin World
Published : 10/24/16
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Editor's note: this is the second part of a story by Jeff Starck about Americans on world coins. The story first appeared in the November monthly issue of Coin World.

Military leaders are a popular subject of world coins, and Tecumseh is not the only native-born American to find himself honored on world coins.

A pair of popular world coins are the 1947-S coins of the Philippines honoring Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the American general. A 50-centavo coin is a companion to a silver peso also showing the general.

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Gen. MacArthur famously declared “I shall return” upon leaving the Philippines during World War II, heading to Australia after the Japanese invasion of the island chain. MacArthur made a triumphant return later in the war, during the Oct. 20, 1944, invasion of Leyte. 

His post-war return to the islands is in the form of his visage on two silver coins of the Philippines, a .750 fine 50-centavo piece and a .900 fine peso issued in 1947, commemorating his importance as commander of the forces that defended and liberated the islands. 

The two coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint and bear a design by famed sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser. 

These were the first coins struck for the new Republic of the Philippines. Although released after the U.S. obligation had officially concluded, the two coins are nonetheless of major U.S. interest. 

The Philippine Islands were a U.S. commonwealth for part of the 20th century. During this time, the Manila Mint was a Branch Mint of the U.S. Treasury Department. It was not uncommon, though, for Philippine coins to be struck at other U.S. Mint facilities, chiefly the San Francisco plant. 

Three additional Filipino coins show Gen. MacArthur, a 25-piso coin from 1980, a 5-piso piece from 1994, and a 5-peso piece from 2014, all honoring the Leyte landing. 

Coins of the Philippines also include a presidential American connection.

Keep reading about Americans on world coins:

Tecumseh Canada coinAmericans abroad: Honoring Tecumseh beyond the border : In rare instances, world coins depicting Americans makes total sense. There could be no more suitably “American” subject for a Canadian coin than the Shawnee war chief.

General MacArthur Phillippines coins

President Franklin Roosevelt makes history on coins of the Philippines : The birth of the Philippine Commonwealth was commemorated by three silver coins designed by Professor Ambrosio Morales of the National University.

Liberian Ronald Reagan coinsPopular President Ronald Reagan oft-honored on non-U.S. coins : Though he is not without critics, President Reagan remains one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century.

Elvis Presley Jack Nicklaus Cook Island coinWorld coins showing America’s ‘The Greatest’ and ‘The King’ abound :The only American honorees on world coins more popular than presidents are entertainers.

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