Today, March 21, 2013 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2013 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coins. The program includes $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and clad composition half dollars available in proof or uncirculated versions.
The program was authorized under Public Law 111-262 enacted on October 8, 2010. The law provides for the issuance of commemorative coins to recognize the five United States Army 5-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthrur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Omar Bradley who are all alumni or instructors of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC). Following some closer attention to the legislative intent, designs of the coins were chosen which feature portraits of the five 5-Star Generals on the obverse and designs emblematic of the CGSC on the reverse.
The obverse design for the $5 gold coin features a lone portrait of General Douglas MacArthur with the 5-star insignia in the right field. The inscriptions include “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, “2013”, and “Douglas MacArthur”. The reverse of the coin depicts the Leavenworth Lamp, which is the symbol of the Command and General Staff College. The inscriptions include “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “Five Dollars”, and “Fort Leavenworth”.
The obverse was designed by Ronald D. Sanders and engraved by Michael Guadioso. The reverse was designed by Barbara Fox and engraved by Joseph Menna.
Each coin is struck in 90% gold with a diameter of 0.85 inches and weight of 8.359 grams. The gold content is per coin is 0.2419 troy ounces.
A maximum mintage of 100,000 applies to this coin across all options. The initial pricing will be $485.50 for the proof version and $480.50 for the uncirculated version. These prices reflect a discount available during an introductory period. Pricing may vary weekly based on the average market price of gold and is calculated based on a grid.
The 2013 5-Star Generals Silver Dollar features Generals George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower against a striped background with the 5-star insignia at top center. Within an outer ring are the inscriptions “George C. Marshall”, “Dwight D. Eisenhower”, “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, and “2013”. The reverse of this coin features the Leavenworth Lamp on a base which reads “U.S. Army Command and General Staff College”. Additional inscriptions read “United States of America”, “One Dollar”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “Fort Leavenworth”.
The obverse was designed by Richard Masters, while the reverse was designed by Barbara Fox. Both the obverse and reverse were engraved by Joseph Menna.
The coins are struck in 90% silver and 10% copper with a diameter of 1.5 inches and weight of 26.73 grams. The silver content per coin is 0.7734 troy ounces.
A maximum mintage of 500,000 applies across all product options. The initial pricing will be $54.95 for the proof version and $50.95 for the uncirculated version. After the introductory period concludes on April 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET, regular pricing of $59.95 for proof coins and $55.95 for uncirculated coins will go into effect.
The final coin of the program is a clad composition half dollar which features the Generals Henry Arnold and Omar N. Bradley on the obverse. The 5-star insignia appears at top center with inscriptions “Liberty” and “In God We Trust” above. The additional inscriptions “Henry Hap Arnold”, “Omar N. Bradley”, and “2013” appear at the bottom. The reverse features the heraldic crest of Fort Leavenworth with inscriptions “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “Half Dollar”.
Both the obverse and reverse were designed and engraved by Phebe Hemphill.
These coins are struck in 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel with a diameter of 1.205 inches and weight of 11.34 grams.
A maximum mintage of 750,000 pieces applies across all options. Initial pricing will be $17.95 for individual proof coins and $16.95 for individual uncirculated coins. Regular pricing effective after April 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET will be $21.95 for proofs and $20.95 for uncirculated coins.
A three coin proof set incorporating all three of the above coins will also be available. A limit of 10,000 applies to this product option. The initial pricing is $546.50 based on the pricing grid. This reflects the introductory period discount and pricing may from week to week based on the average market price of gold.
Barring any sell outs of the maximum authorized mintages or product limit, the coins from this program are authorized to be issued through the end of the calendar year. Typically, the US Mint has concluded sales at a preannounced date a few weeks ahead of the deadline to allow time for ordering processing and delivery.
Coins to Watch
This program includes some coins that will be interesting to watch for various reasons.
For the past two years, the uncirculated $5 gold commemorative coins offered by the US Mint had mintages which would be considered extremely low within the context of the modern commemorative gold coins. In 2011, the Army and Medal of Honor uncirculated $5 gold coins had final sales of 8,062 and 8,251, respectively. Last year, the Star Spangled Banner uncirculated gold coin had final sales of 7,027. Other than these recent issues, commemorative gold coins with mintages below the 10,000 level command hefty premiums.
The silver dollar for the program features a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who has previously appeared on the Eisenhower Dollar minted from 1971 to 1978 as well as a commemorative silver dollar issued in 1990. The latter managed to attain final sales of more than 1.3 million, which was a sharp increase compared to the prior year commemorative silver dollar and was not surpassed in mintage by any subsequent commemorative silver dollar. Will the popularity of Eisenhower on coins also serve to give this year’s issue a boost?
Lastly, the uncirculated version of the half dollar may be closely watched to see if the final mintage will come in lower than the 2011 Army Half Dollar. When sales closed, the uncirculated version of the coin had final sales of 39,461 marking the lowest mintage level for any modern commemorative half dollar. Secondary market prices saw a significant boost, although price levels have retreated somewhat.
Update: The US Mint will also offer a special product for this program which it seems will contain the uncirculated version of the silver dollar and half dollar, along with a MacArthur Bronze Medal. This should serve to provide a boost to the overall uncirculated half dollar mintage since it will be available both individually and within the set.