David Hall: The Rhode Island commemoratives were struck to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Roger Williams founding Rhode Island in 1636. The Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mint each struck Rhode Islands. However, the distribution of the coins became a major scandal after phony announcements of a quick sell-out caused price gouging by various participants.
The intial sell price was $1 per coin and the Philadelphia Mint distributed about a third as many coins as the other two Mints, 20,013 coins for the Philadelphia issue versus 15,010 for the Denver and 15,000 for the San Francisco. As to be expected from the higher mintage, the Philadephia Mint Rhode Island is somewhat more common than the Denver or San Francisco.
The design of the Rhode Island is in relatively low relief and consequently many coins have marks and abrasions. Luster is somewhat frosty though many specimens have a somewhat prooflike appearance. Ultra high quality (MS67) examples are surprisingly rare.