2013 5 Star Generals Commemorative Coins

On Friday, the United States Mint announced the design selections for the 2013 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Program, which includes $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and clad composition half dollars. The program will honor the five United States Army Five-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Omar Bradley, all of whom either attended or taught at the United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC).

The US Mint had prepared design candidates which placed the lone portrait of General MacArthur on the $5 gold coin, portraits of Generals Marshall and Eisenhower on the silver dollar, and portraits of Generals Arnold and Bradley on the half dollar.

The reverse design candidates prepared for each coin were generally centered around a specific theme for each denomination. However, when reviewing the provided design candidates, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee highlighted the emphasis that the authorizing legislation placed on the Command and General Staff College, which was only represented on the seven reverse design candidates prepared for the half dollar. Accordingly, the CCAC took the approach of evaluating only these seven designs for all three coins of the program. The CFA, who performed their review earlier, evaluated the designs as the US Mint had identified them. Here you can find articles about the evaluations and recommendations from the CFA and CCAC.

The final design selections made by the Secretary of the Treasury for the reverse of each coin follow the legislative intent identified by the CCAC and each represent the Command and General Staff College. As such, it seems that effectively the ten design candidates originally prepared for the $5 gold coin and the five candidates originally prepared for the silver dollar were not considered.

First, I will show the final design selections just announced by the US Mint. At the end of this post, I will show the original reverse design candidates for the $5 gold coin and silver dollar.

The obverse of the gold coin features a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur. The reverse features the Leavenworth Lamp, which is the symbol of the Command and General Staff College.

The obverse of the silver dollar features portraits of Generals George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower against a striped background. The reverse once again features the Leavenworth Lamp, with the words “U.S. Army Command and General Staff College” below.

The obverse design for the clad half dollar features portraits of Generals Henry Arnold and Omar N. Bradley. The reverse features the heraldic crest of Fort Leavenworth.

As mentioned, here is a look at the original design candidates prepared by the US Mint for the $5 gold coin and silver dollar. Click the image for a larger view.

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  1. Richard W says

    General George Patton paired with the Eagle reverse.I’m obsessed with that grand eagle .It’s a no for this old man.

  2. says

    I’d say pretty much any of those other reverse designs were better (read: more artistic and interesting); it’s too bad Congress limited what the Mint could do (and that the Mint apparently forgot the law and didn’t supply designs within its scope).

  3. says

    Wylson, if I rub the lamp on the reverse and get three wishes, one of my wishes would be that these coins would disappear. If there was a contest for bad coins, these get my vote for the uglyist and most boring coins of the year.

  4. says

    Wylson, that was EXACTLY what I thought too when I saw that coin!

    I would have like to have gotten those “liberty” reverses. Some of those looked quite nice.

  5. Samuel says

    these coins can only be sold in 2013, right? i bet they will be the lowest mintage coin, ever.

  6. VA Bob says

    How many people are familiar with this “lamp” thing? IMO almost any of the other designs would have been better for the reverses across the board. Those (especially on the majority of $5 designs) seem to tell a story through the images.Who picks these “designs”? Do they even collect coins? Maybe the Mint needs to survey all it’s choices instead of the CFA and CCAC. Well Ali Baba will be pleased.

    I really want to like most of the designs that are agreed to, on all Mint offerings, and stop whining (I beginning to annoy myself), but they sure are making it difficult. I know I don’t have to buy, but it kind of defeats the purpose of being a modern US coin collector, if one doesn’t buy any modern US coins. The Obverses are fine. Palladium coin where are you?

  7. Ikaika says

    The US mint is clueless about the designs collectors want. The Lamp Thing is just hilarious. Who came up with the idea? Name please.

  8. Louis says

    The obverses are good and should be seen in full size at the Mint site. As for the reverses, I think one coin with the lamp would have been okay but not two. I am not sure which of these reverses would have been best, but I do not feel the liberty designs, while perhaps nice in themselves, fit very with the subject matter except in a very broad sense. The staff college designs were selected because to become a general you have to receive training at those institutions.
    And as Michael explains, the CCAC and Treasury Sec, saw the legislative intent as clearly requiring something that represents the staff colleges, which the action-packed and liberty designs do not. Those other designs might work for a different coin, but following the intent of the law is not optional (though the intent can be ambiguous at times).
    Anyway, they may be unspired but I still like them overall and will get one of each to keep my collection updated.

  9. VA Bob says

    Louis – The three images of Liberty (that other one with wings looks like an angel IMO and wouldn’t “fly” these days) were taken from the World War II Victory medal, issued to those who served. One actually has a representation of the medal on it. You’re right in saying few outside of WWII Vets would know. This medal was actually reproduced in bronze for a set during the 50 year anniversary of WWII back in the 90’s. I have one, it’s impressive.

  10. Tom says

    Just imagine how fun it would have been to have 5 commemorative silver dollars released throughout the year, with each 5-star general receiving his own silver dollar with a unique reverse. Toss in a $5 gold coin to commemorate the General Staff College, and two half-dollars to commemorate Washington and Pershing, who were given the title “General of the Armies of the United States.” Oh, what could have been…

    Unfortunately, I will pass on the above, which amounts to a pretty good idea poorly executed.

  11. VA Bob says

    After careful further consideration, only the first four of the $5 gold designs would have been appropriate, even though any of them would have been more than “lamp” worthy IMO. My reasoning? They left 5-Star Admirals Leahy, King, Nimitz, and Halsey out, and these coins showcase the Generals, so why show the Navy (ships and aircraft) winning the Pacific War? Makes sense I suppose.

  12. VA Bob says

    I like your idea Tom, it makes too much sense. Each would have had a nice big canvas too (maybe we could have gotten a bigger lamp, lol).

    Michael – invite the Mint to run any ideas they might be considering through your blog. They will have a correct course of action in a day or less.

  13. Louis says

    VA Bob- Thanks a lot for that info. on the victory medals. I was not aware of that.

    As dull as the chosen reverses are, they are still better than the Infantry coin.

    It will be interesting to see how the half dollar sells compared to last year’s. I like the one above more than the 2011 Army coin. I think of the three reverses above, the half dollar looks the classiest.

  14. Dirk says

    Oh my gawd who picks these coins, blind people. Those runner ups were so much nicer. Seems all the US mint knows how to do is variations on the very boring ASE. Hey Mint how about a redo of all the iconic themes, like Walking Liberty, Buffalo, Standing Liberty, Peace and so on – I’m sure they could come up with some lame anniversary tie-in. Perth is all about colorized animals and robots and goofy themes and 500 variations on the Lunar year that nobody wants. RCM seems to have interesting technology but can’t mint the coins they sell. This is the state of the big three mints at the moment.

  15. Richarad W says

    CCAC,Who are these people but a bunch of stoggie mostly liberals looking for there 15 minutes of fame.Why not look to the collector,what do we want to spend our collecting budget on,give us the opportunity of real choices.We need traditional choices.

  16. Dustyroads says

    I really like the $5. commemorative gold coin design, it reaches back to the generation of our fathers and touches on a bitter sweet moment of their lives. I am a little astonished at how many commented on what they perceived as a horrible design. Many likes!

  17. Thomas says

    The lamp is lame (used twice?)
    1st design with the Battleship looks best.
    Surprised Patton is not represented.

  18. Tom says

    One lamp would have been enough! They could have covered the Command and General Staff College issue with text on at least two of the coins. Disappointing on the reverses. For the obverses, I am reasonably happy, although at least they ditched the MacArthur in glasses version for the obverse of the $5.

  19. Paul says

    I believe that these coins will sell very well to US Army officers active and retired, especially those associated with CGSC (almost all who reach or exceed rank of Major). Again this group is outside the normal group of coin collectors. The Army has been very interested in unit coins with many people proudly dispalying thir coin collections on their desk (not PMs). I saw these coins being promoted by CGSC at the Association of the US Army (AUSA) convention yesterday. I believe they will sell better than expected to this group. It will have success because the coins have proactive sponsors. I am very glad not to see Mac’s sunglasses! The Admirals will have to get their own set of coins. I believe a set of silver dollars/hslf dollars recognizing famous battles, or US warships, combat aircraft, and armored fighting vehicles would do very well.

  20. Smiledon says

    The lamp was used too many times; once was enough for either the gold or silver coin. General Patton was not a 5 star, so that is why he is not on this list. (I wish they would honor him on a coin.) I guess the Mint is waiting for Congress to authorize a coin set the WWII admirals. Using the battle ships, carriers and aircraft would great on the back of those coins. I guess the lamp was used 3 times to reflect the CGSC. However, like it was posted here many a time, once was enough.

  21. george glazener says

    What?? No coin with horses and bayonets on it? I heard something about that last night….

  22. T1 browserman says

    Marshall v MacArthur

    Were Benoulli trials done to see who would be on the $5 gold piece ?

  23. Smiledon says

    The Perth Mint of Australia has a coin line of famous naval battles. I wish that Congress would pass a law that would allow the 5 star admirals of WWII to have a coin set. Having scenes that are on some of those coins would remind us of that happened back then. Also, I would not mind having part of that money go to the museums of WWII. Least we forget all that those Americans did so that we can have what we have today. Maybe even having the 2 Generals Bradley and Patton on a coin with an M-1 and M-4 on the back. I can only dream.

  24. george glazener says

    Yes, that series is called “Ships that changed the World”. I have 2 of them. They are gorgeous coins! Very fine detail in the artwork even more so than the engraving itself. Gotta love the low mintage too, but they’re not all sold out.

  25. SmallPotatos says

    Maybe i missed it, but what is the other 2013 commerative design? is it the US Marshall design?

  26. Robertson says

    @Stuart: I would agree that the reverse designs not chosen for the gold and the silver coins are definitely more interesting than the ones selected. Plus, we get two lamps (yawn).

    So, if I have read the articles correctly regarding the reviewing process by each of the two committees, it would seem the CCAC bears at least part of the blame or responsibility here since the Mint ultimately complied with their recommendations. What a shame.

  27. Lee says

    Yet another coin that I will not buy because of the design. Several of the designs shown are better than that lamp. Fort Leavenworth only brings to mind a prison, not a command. Please get your head out of the (sand?)

  28. don says

    To richard w.with the comment about General George Patton, He doesnt quualify because he wasnt a 5 star general. He pissed off to many people to become one. He was brillliant but had to much of a mouth on him.

  29. James White says

    Why was Macarthur selected over Eisenhower for the Gold coin, should have been Ike.

    James T. White

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