Modern US commemorative coins are 40 years old (2023)

It was 1982. Steven Spielberg's movieE.T. the alienflew across the big screen, the futuristic EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) Center debuted at Walt Disney World in Florida, and Michael Jackson landed an iconic hit with "Thriller," one of the first music-defining albums of the decade in The United States Mint therefore struck their first commemorative coins since 1954 with the production of the George Washington Half Dollar commemorating 250ºanniversary of his birth in 1732.

The 1982 George Washington Half Dollar not only marked the nation's first official commemorative coinage in 28 years, but was also 90% silver, the first by the US Mint since 1964. Plenty of collectors were delighted to see these new commemorative coins, enough Enthusiasm behind these special silver coins to bring their cumulative proof and commercial mintage to over seven million pieces. It became one of the most successful commemorative coins in the history of the United States Mint.

The sands of time moved with the winds of change. The year 1982 marked a time of transition for the United States Mint. Sweeping changes have recently brought the end of the failed Susan B. Anthony dollar of the 1970s, the last circulating bronze Lincoln cents, the arrival of a new Mint director, Donna Pope, the installation of Elizabeth Jones as a new record label. the head of the Mint (and the first woman to hold that prestigious position), and the crushing cuts to the federal budget that threatened hundreds of jobs at the Mint and resulted in a two-year hiatus from the United States Mint program. The birth of the modern commemorative coin program barely survived the political power struggles on Capitol Hill and the tightening of the tax belt under the newly installed President Ronald Reagan.

Legislation for a new era of coinage

The dawn of the modern commemorative coin era was not a capricious event that landed at any point in history. It was the culmination of a series of numismatic and legislative events dating back easily to the early 1970s when US legislators engaged in a heated dispute with the US Treasury and the US Mint of the United States, which scored 200 points .ºAnniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Several years after Congress formed the American Revolution Bicentennial Committee in 1966 to begin planning the extravagant gala to celebrate the nation's bicentenary.ºOn the occasion of the 1970 anniversary, an Advisory Committee on Coins and Medals was established within the Commission to examine the minting of the commemorative half dollar in honor of the bicentennial. Congress published a number of proposed bicentennial coins in 1971 and 1972, but none of these measures passed. They were also heavily criticized by US Treasury Department officials and US Mint Director Mary Brooks, who raised concerns that a new commemorative coin program could trigger the same type of financial abuse experienced by many of those issued in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s Added commemorative coins.

Additionally, as the Treasury Department noted, there were concerns that "the variety of designs on U.S. coins tended to create confusion among the public and facilitate counterfeiting". And with around 21 different commemorative coins in 1936, the high point in terms of production technology in the classic commemorative series, an oversupply of new commemorative coins was to be feared from the 1970s onwards.

The tide soon began to turn, with compromises and concessions by Congress on the size and scope of a potential bicentennial minting program, which received the backing of Mint Director Brooks and others who were instrumental in building the wave of support needed to launch the coining the bicentennial to enable reality. On October 18, 1973, President Richard Nixon signed legislation providing for "a new coin design and signing date of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution for dollars, half dollars, and quarters." The great success of the Bicentennial coin program in 1975 and 1976, which saw special patriotic restyling of Washington Quarters and special 40% Silver, Kennedy Half Dollars and Eisenhower Dollars in circulation, led many to believe that they might also have additional commemorative coin programs similar Characteristics. Popularity.

In 1981, Georgia Democratic Representative Druie Douglas Barnard, Jr. saw the next 250ºGeorge Washington's birthday more than justifies issuing a special commemorative coin. His bill provided that the 90% silver half dollar would be "stamped symbolic of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of George Washington" and in 1982 "shall be issued at a price equal to the cost of striking said half dollar (including labour ). ), materials, shapes, machine usage, and overheads.) Barnard's bill made its way through the halls of Congress in the spring of 1981, with adjustments here and there as committees and subcommittees reviewed the bill.

After several reviews and the support of key figures, including United States Treasurer Angela "Bay" Buchanan, Deputy Director of the Mint Office Alan Goldman, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and the Mint, Frank Annunzio (a Democratic representative of the Illinois House of Representatives), the bill passed the House of Representatives on May 19, 1981 with overwhelming support. The bill went to the Senate, where it received positive approval from the Senate Banking and Budget Committees. The bill approving the George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar passed the Senate on December 9, 1981 and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on December 23, 1981. A new day has dawned in American numismatics.

Modern monuments are taking root, facing growing pains

The first George Washington half dollars were minted at the Denver Mint on July 1, 1982, ushering in a new era for commemorative coins with a bang. Congress authorized the production of up to 10 million George Washington halves; A total of 7,104,502 proof and trade strikes were sold, making the George Washington Half Dollar the most successful United States commemorative coin ever issued up to that point. The prospects for more commemorative items looked good, including the various silver and gold pieces commemorating the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the next 100 years.ºAnniversary of the Statue of Liberty in New York in 1986.

Most notably, the Olympic Mint program produced the 1984-W Eagle, a $10 face value gold coin that became the first United States coin to bear a "W" mintmark, recognized by the West Point Mint and became the first legal gold coin to be legal tender represented. produced by the United States Mint since 1933. Meanwhile, the 1986 Statue of Liberty commemorative coins, including a commercially successful and verified half dollar, silver dollar, and gold eagle, inspired sales of 15,491,169, with surcharges for sales of Monuments that benefited from the massive $78 million multi-year restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

With a trio of successful commemorative programs in collectors' cabinets by late 1986, the US Mint appeared to have created a winning machine. A generation of collectors has been born and raised without new US commemorative coins being minted at this point in their lives, and they have finally been able to enjoy a new crop of new commemorative designs just as their parents and grandparents had decades before Era of American Commemorative Gold. A parade of new commemorative coins would take collectors back to the 1990s and beyond, including coins honoring the bicentennials of the United States Constitution and United States Congress, the 500th anniversary of the United Statesºanniversary of the arrival of explorer Christopher Columbus in America and the 50thºanniversary of the Second World War.

But some collectors were beginning to think it might have been too good a thing as more and more commemorative coins entered the collecting arena, perhaps at a pace that some were finding increasingly difficult to keep up with. The monumental commemorative program for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta was the last straw for many collectors. This extensive 32-part program featured 16 different designs in both proofs and trades, and included four half $5 dollars, eight silver dollars and four half gold $5 eagles. The coins were offered individually, but those who wanted the entire series did find it much cheaper. to purchase the complete kit including Caboodle as a 32-piece kit, packaged in a lockable wooden presentation box, priced at $2,261.

The ambitious commemoration program for the 1995-1996 Olympic Games turned out to be a hit for many collectors back when the US Mint.ºAnniversary of the Smithsonian Institution. What some might characterize as a deluge of commemorative offerings and ever-increasing purchase prices discouraged many collectors from searching for one of the commemorative coins in the mid-1990s, resulting in relatively low mintage numbers for many pieces of this type 1995.-96 Olympic Commemorative Coin.

The concerns of some numismatists began to reverberate in the halls of Congress, where President Bill Clinton signed and enacted the Commemorative Coin Reform Act of 1996 to limit the maximum number of commemorative coin programs issued in any given year to just two; the law came into force in 1998. Previously, in the modern era of commemorative coins, as in 1994, up to six different programs were issued, and 10 commemorative issues were issued in 1995 and 1996. Although this was a far cry from 1936, nearly two dozen different commemorative programs occupied the mint's staff, so the need for more stringent parameters in the production of modern commemorative coins was evident.

Modern monuments are growing up, breaking new barriers

Launched in 1999, the 50 State Quarters program is not classified by most collectors in numismatic parlance as a "commemorative" program in the traditional sense. However, it is hard to believe that the circulation program of 50-decade coins honoring each state in the order in which they joined the Union could have taken place were it not for the generally positive reception of the modern day commemorative coin program, The State Quarters program, which debuted in 1982, has grown into one of the most successful initiatives ever undertaken by the United States Mint. It generated billions of dollars in profits and helped bring the number of American coin collectors to 140 million, according to United States Mint data in the mid-2000s

As more prominent commemorative design programs emerged in the years to come, the US Mint's modern commemorative coin program continued to enter the new millennium with enthusiasm. In 2014, the US Mint made a major debut when they released their National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative stamps, which featured curved panels depicting the front of a concave mitt and the back of a convex baseball, a design combination used in the clad half Dollar, silver dollar and gold half-eagle programs are common. The 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Program featured the US Mint's first "pink" gold coin, due to the ubiquitous pink ribbon, symbolizing support for breast cancer survivors. The theme of color discoveries continued into the 2020s, when the US Mint ushered in the decade with the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame commemorative coins, the first US coins to feature sporting color features.

As the modern era of US commemorative coins enters its fifth decade, collectors have an impressive range of coins to add to their collections. Topics range from civil rights activists to space pioneers and pretty much everything else this side of the sun. The PCGS Set Registry offers collectors countless opportunities to create exciting modern day commemorative coin sets, including sets specifically targeting uncirculated specimens, proofs, gold issues, uncirculated proofs and strikes, and various other permutations.

What does the future hold for America's modern commemorative coin program? Of course, only time will tell. The US Mint has a wide range of commemorative coins for the years to come in line ensuring collectors will find plenty new. Collectors will find that many modern day commemorative coins are available at prices close to or even below their original issue prices, making these coins particularly attractive to new collectors or those who were young in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000 and are just at it. Numismatist 🇧🇷 the 40ºThe anniversary of the modern commemorative coin series is therefore an ideal opportunity to build up or expand an excellent collection of these exceptional coins at attractive prices.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 01/17/2023

Views: 5891

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.