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All Posts Tagged With: "Commemoratives"

Coin Profile: 2000-W Library of Congress Bicentennial Bimetallic Ten Dollars

The First and Only Bimetalic Commemorative Coin Minted by the US

The Library of Congress, founded on April 24, 1800, is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. Also the world’s largest library, it houses 119 million items– 18 million books; two million recordings; 12 million photographs; four million maps; and 53 million manuscripts.

The library’s rare book collection is the largest in North America and includes the oldest surviving book printed in North America – the Bay Psalm Book, printed in 1640; the world’s largest book, John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which is 1 meter high; and the world’s smallest book, Old King Cole, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. This book is so small that its pages can be turned only with the use of a needle- and equally sharp eyes.

President Thomas Jefferson played a key role both in the U.S. Mint’s history and in the Library of Congress’ development. Jefferson proposed the decimal coinage system we use today and advocated founding a mint on U.S. soil. A lifelong reader, Jefferson donated his personal collection of 6,487 books to Congress for $23,950 after the British burned the new Capitol and Library in 1814. On Christmas Eve 1851, another fire destroyed two-thirds of Jefferson’s collection. Although many of the volumes have been replaced, nearly 900 remain missing and the Library is engaged in a worldwide search to replace them.

Not only does the Library of Congress supply whatever research Congress needs, it serves all Americans through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, its Web site (, and as a monument to our nation’s love of learning.

These commemorative coins are called the coins of many firsts.” The first commemorative coins of the new Century, they are also the first-ever gold and platinum bimetallic coins in the nation’s history. For the bimetallic version, the outer ring is stamped from a sheet of gold, then a solid core of platinum is placed within the ring. The coins contain about one-half an ounce of precious metal.

The bimetallic coin design was inspired by the graceful architecture of the library’s Jefferson Building. The outer ring is stamped from a sheet of gold, then a solid core of platinum is placed within the ring. Then, the gold ring and platinum core are simultaneously stamped forming an annular bead where the two precious metals meet. The obverse depicts the hand of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, raising the torch of learning aside the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The coin’s reverse is marked with the Library of Congress seal encircled by a laurel wreath, symbolizing its national accomplishment.

Designers: John Mercanti, obverse; Thomas D. Rogers Sr., reverse

Ten Most Significant U.S. Commemoratives Coins

By Thomas K. DeLorey – Copyright – Reprinted with permission. Harlan J Berk

Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

When asked to write an article on the ten most significant U.S. commemorative coins for this issue, I chortled and thought to myself what an easy assignment this was going to be! I had just that day finished reading galleys for the commemorative coin section of the Coin World “Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins” edited by David T. Alexander and myself, and all of the material was fresh in my mind.

However, when I went back over the listings with a consideration in mind of their national importance rather than a straightforward documentation of them, I suddenly realized how hard it was going to be to find ten pieces that were truly significant! After weeding out the 14 state commemoratives and most of the town, county, island, mountain, trail, bridge and music center commemoratives, there were scarcely ten pieces left that were both national and significant. Here’s what I came up with, though you might disagree.

Number one on my list is the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition half dollar of 1892 and 1893, in part because the fact that Columbus landed in what we now call “the Americas” in 1492 was one of the major historical events of the last millennium, and in part because it was the first U.S. commemorative and set the stage for all that followed, good or bad.


by Kathleen Duncan of Pinnacle Rarities

pinnacle_commems_092409Between 1892 and 1954, there were 50 different silver commemoratives authorized by Congress: 48 Half Dollars along with a single Quarter and Dollar. Because many of these were issued for multiple years, were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints, and were issued with subtle design variations, there are a total of 144 different silver coins that constitute the Classic Silver Commemorative category. Many of the coins were designed in contest by important sculptors and among them are some of the most creative examples of coinage art in all of numismatics. They also form an instructive history course of our nation, as each commemorates an important event.

Commemoratives differ from regular issue coins as they are struck primarily for collectors rather than to circulate as money, although they are legal tender. Most Classic Commemoratives were struck in conjunction with a large exhibition and festival. These coins were sold to collectors at a premium to their face value, typically to raise money for a monument to be built or to defray the costs of the particular celebration. The very first such exhibition was the 1892 Chicago World’s fair, which produced the 1892 Columbus Half Dollar, honoring the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World.

Silver Commemoratives can be assembled in nearly an endless number of ways, in all price ranges, making them an easy area to pursue. Purchasing one of each of the 50 unique designs is referred to as a type set. The ambitious pursuit of a complete set requires one of each of the 144 dates and mintmarks referenced above. If you prefer a less daunting task, you can choose among any number of sub segments to match your particular interests.

United States Mint Unveils Design for Commemorative Coin Honoring Disabled American Veterans

The United States Mint has unveiled the designs for the 2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Convention in Denver. United States Mint Director Ed Moy unveiled the designs. Under the American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 110-277), the agency will mint and issue commemorative coins in honor of veterans who became disabled for life while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.The coin’s designs, approved by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner on July 30, 2009, are emblematic of the service of our disabled veterans who made enormous personal sacrifices defending the principles of our democracy. The obverse (heads side) design depicts the legs and boots of three disabled veterans. The inscription in the banner along the coin’s upper rim, THEY STOOD UP FOR US, pays tribute to the courageous disabled veterans who fought to preserve our freedom. Additional inscriptions on the obverse are IN GOD WE TRUST, 2010 and LIBERTY.

The reverse (tails) design depicts a forget-me-not flower at the base of a wreath wrapped in a ribbon that cradles and supports clusters of oak branches. The oak branches represent strength, while the forget-me-not is a widely accepted symbol of remembrance for those who sacrificed their blood and their health for our country’s cause. The inscriptions are Take This Moment to Honor Our Disabled Defenders of Freedom, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and ONE DOLLAR.

The United States Mint will mint proof and uncirculated versions of the commemorative $1 coin in 90 percent silver. The coins will bear the “W” mint mark of the United States Mint at West Point. Mintage is set at 350,000 coins across all product options.

Surcharges collected from sales of the 2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar coins are authorized to be paid to the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. The surcharges will help the Foundation support the construction of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was authorized by Congress in 2000. (more…)