With a lull in the United States Mint’s numismatic release schedule, I thought it would be a good time to explore approved and proposed upcoming commemorative coin programs for a look at what lies ahead.
Commemorative coin programs are authorized by Acts of Congress. Typically, there are a fairly large number of bills introduced in Congress each year, but only a small number will become law. In order for a bill to become law, it must be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, then signed by the President. There are additional rules for coin bills which make passage more difficult. In order for a coin bill to be brought to a floor for a vote, two thirds of both bodies (67 Senators and 290 House Members) must sign on as cosponsors. An additional rule limits the number of commemorative coin programs authorized to only two per year.
There are currently four programs which have been approved for upcoming years. This includes two programs for 2015 and a single program each for 2016 and 2017.
There are twelve different commemorative coin programs which have been proposed for upcoming years, which includes one proposal for circulating commemorative coins. So far there have been no coin related bills passed by the 113th Congress. The bills which seem to have the best chance of becoming law based on the number of cosponsors include programs for the National Park Service (passed in House), Boys Town Centennial (293 House cosponsors), and the United States Coast Guard (300 House cosponsors).
Included below are the approved programs for the next three years, followed by the proposed programs which have one or more bills introduced in Congress.
2015 March of Dimes
Public Law 112-209 enacted December 18, 2012
Up to 500,000 silver dollars in recognition and celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the March of Dimes Foundation. This nonprofit organization was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio and now works more broadly to improve the health of mothers and babies. View the design candidates for the program in this previous post. Several candidates incorporate the image of a Roosevelt Dime, with one including the portrait from the Mercury Dime.
2015 United States Marshals Service
Public Law 112-104 enacted April 2, 2012
Up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars issued in commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the United States Marshals, the Nation’s first Federal law enforcement agency. The legislation was written to include extremely specific descriptions of the themes or elements to be depicted on each coin and called for the designs to be reminiscent of the dramatic and beautiful artwork on coins from the “Golden Age of Coinage” at the beginning of the 20th century. View the design candidates for each coin in this article. The legislation provides that a limited number of coins may be issued prior to January 1, 2015 to the Director of the United States Marshals Service and employees of the service for display and presentation during the 225th Anniversary celebration.
2016 Mark Twain
Public Law 112-201 enacted December 4, 2012
Up to 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 silver dollars issued in commemoration of American author and humorist Mark Twain. There had been a series of bills introduced seeking to authorize this program, with the coins originally sought to be issued in 2010 to coincide with the 175th anniversary of Mark Twain’s birth and the 125th anniversary of the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There is no particular anniversary cited for the coins authorized to be issued in 2016.
2017 Lions Clubs International Century of Service
Public Law 112-181 enacted October 5, 2012
Up to 400,000 silver dollars issued in commemoration of the centennial of the founding of the Lions Clubs International. This service organization aims to meet the needs of communities on a local and global scale with 1.35 million members across 207 countries and geographic areas.
Mother’s Day Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 1905 Introduced May 9, 2013 (49 cosponsors)
S. 2310 Introduced May 8, 2014 (1 cosponsor)
Up to 400,000 silver dollars would be issued in 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Mother’s Day. Bills have been introduced proposing this program going back to 2007 and on two occasions bills were passed in the House.
United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
S. 2303 Introduced May 7, 2014 (1 cosponsor)
H.R. 2932 Introduced August 1, 2013 (300 cosponsors)
Up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars to be issued in 2017 in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 627 Passed House on April 29, 2014 (Passed 403/13)
S. 1158 Introduced June 13, 2013 (73 cosponsors)
Up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars would be issued in 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service. Such a program could set the stage for complimentary products including America the Beautiful Quarters or 5 oz Silver Coins.
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 3867 Introduced January 14, 2014 (91 cosponsors)
Up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars to be issued in 2017 in commemoration of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
S. 1842 Introduced December 17, 2013 (24 cosponsors)
H.R. 1653 Introduced April 18, 2013 (34 cosponsors)
Up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars would be issued in 2017 to recognize and celebrate the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the 112th Congress, a bill had passed in the House with 294 cosponsors, but ultimately failed become law.
Korean Immigration Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 3729 Introduced December 12, 2013 (no cosponsors)
Up to 20,000 $5 gold coins and 10,000 silver dollars in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Korean immigration into the United States. The coins are to be issued in 2018, long after the 100th anniversary which occurred in 2003. The maximum mintage specified for the silver dollar is far below the typical level and would actually mark a new mintage low for a modern commemorative silver dollar.
Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 3680 Introduced December 9, 2013 (2 cosponsors)
Up to 500,000 silver dollars to be issued in 2018 in recognition of the fight against breast cancer. The legislation specifies that the designs would be selected based on the winning design from a juried, compensated design competition.
Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
S. 1011 Introduced May 22, 2013 (29 cosponsors)
H.R. 2866 Introduced July 30, 2013 (293 cosponsors)
Up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 350,00 silver dollars, and 300,000 clad half dollars would be issued from 2017 to 2018 to celebrate the centennial of Boys Town. Neither the House nor Senate bills include a provision for surcharges to be added to the cost of each coin, which are typically collected and distributed to a beneficiary organization.
Panama Canal and Pan-Pacific Exhibition Centennial Celebration Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 2760 Introduced July 19, 2013 ( 17 cosponsors)
The program would include five different coins featuring the designs of the five classic commemorative coins issued in 1915 for the opening of the Panama Pacific Exposition. The coins would include round and octagonal $5 gold coins, a $2.50 gold piece, a gold dollar, and a silver half dollar. The legislation also provides for the optional issuance of clad composition half dollars for circulation.
Thirteenth Amendment Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 2633 Introduced July 9, 2013 (73 cosponsors)
A program including three coins to be issued in 2016 to mark the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which officially marked the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The coins would include a bimetallic platinum and gold $50 coin, a $20 gold coin, and silver dollar. The bimetallic coin would be only the second such issue from the US Mint, while the gold and silver coins would each carry uncharacteristic specifications.
American Liberty Coinage and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013 [Mint News Blog post]
H.R. 2535 Introduced June 27, 2013 (6 cosponsors)
The program would include alternating circulating commemorative dimes and quarter dollars featuring depictions of Liberty starting with the dime in 2015. Half dollars would also be issued with a design emblematic of the concept of Liberty, which would be changed every ten years. All of the Liberty themed coins would be issued concurrently with the standard designs featuring Presidential portraits. The program is directly linked to the prospect of increased seigniorage generation for purpose of deficit reduction.
World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
H.R. 2366 Introduced June 13, 2013 (109 cosponsors)
Up to 350,000 silver dollars would be issued in 2018 to commemorate the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I and to honor the over 4 million men and women of the United States who served in uniform during the war. Previous commemorative coin programs have been issued to memorialize the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, but no programs have specifically honored veterans of World War I. The ANA has urged its members to support this bill.