2016 Mark Twain Silver Dollar Design Candidates

This post continues coverage of the design candidates recently released by the United States Mint for the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Program.

Under the authorizing legislation, up to 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 silver dollars are to be issued in commemoration of Mark Twain. The designs are to be emblematic of his life and legacy and will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury following consultation with the Board of the Mark Twain House and Museum, Commission of Fine Arts, and review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

For the silver dollar, the US Mint prepared 15 different obverse and 14 different reverse design candidates, which are shown below. Coverage of the review and recommendations of the CCAC and CFA will follow.

The design candidates images for the $5 gold coin can be seen in this post.

Obverse Design Candidates

s-o-1 s-o-2 s-o-3 s-o-4 s-o-5 s-o-6 s-o-7 s-o-8 s-o-9 s-o-10 s-o-10a s-o-11 s-o-12 s-o-13 s-o-14 s-o-15 s-o-15a

Reverse Design Candidates

s-r-1 s-r-2 s-r-3 s-r-4 s-r-6 s-r-6a s-r-7 s-r-8 s-r-9 s-r-10 s-r-11 s-r-12 s-r-13 s-r-14

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  1. cagcrisp says

    #1 on the Obverse is Outstanding. Nothing really jumps out to me on the Reverse…

  2. Blair J. Tobler says

    I love 14 for the obverse, but seriously doubt it would come out so nice on the coin

  3. Tinto says

    O-1 is my choice, hope they choose that one and the Mint can do justice to the expression on his face. Looks like a mischievous smile …

    R-7 or R-8

  4. Keep Calm & Stack On says

    The MoD Special set ~ There will be a limit of 75K sets, household limit of 5, goes on sale May 4th at noon for the cost of $61.95 with the two special dimes.

    Gentlemen, we looking at a sell out on day one? A repeat of the ’09 Lincoln C&C set? I usually have an opinion on this situation, clueless on this one. Thanks

  5. ABC says

    If they use a design that has a frog on it, would this be the first time a frog appears on American coinage? The Perth mint was the first mint to have a frog on a coin, correct?

  6. oldfolkie says

    I love Mark Twain, I will actually buy these. I could be happy with obverses 1,5, 6, 9, or 14, and reverses 7, 11, 13 or 14.

  7. TomP. in Va says


    The El Yunque park 2012 quarter and 5-ounce has a tree frog as well as a parrot on it.

  8. Ends in Error says

    This MOD set is gonna supernova on us. I’m sacrificing my 5 sets so others may have a chance at it.


  9. says

    In regards to the R10, that would be quite an accomplishment for an engraver to depict the Mark Twain home (Hartford, CT) on a silver dollar, given its size and ornate detail.

  10. says

    Ends in Error,
    Your generosity is contagious. You have inspired me to also pass on the MOD sets to allow others a greater opportunity to acquire them.

  11. fmtransmitter says

    Weird, I got my PF70 quarters and moved to the first spot on NGC collectors society but was only able to add the homestead coin? Not sure why it doesn’t allow me to add the other four as they all are graded by them. Anyone have any input? Lovr my ATB silver set..

  12. fmtransmitter says

    Oh, I will be adding one set of MOD in May if I can get an order in. I like the charity and history. The Mark Twain im on the white picket fence as Tom Saywer was my pretend friend growing up when we still read books to escape as kids.

  13. says

    On design R11, it looks like our bullfrog is about to do a standing leap of about 10 feet. By the way, are those little balls under the frog supposed to be cluster of frog eggs?
    Hey, it’s Friday night–just having a little fun.

  14. 64 US Marine says

    Knowing the mint, pick the one with the least detail, and that’s the one they’ll make……

  15. says

    Seeing that two of the proposed designs depict a frog, it should be noted that Kermit the Frog was created in 1955. With its love of anniversaries, how did the Mint overlook Kermit’s 60th anniversary by not honoring him with a commem. Maybe Kermit is seeking solace in the arms of Miss Piggie.

  16. jeff says

    I say it’s a bust just like the other past 3 issues , if you throw enough darts one will hit but not this one either keep trying US Mint.

  17. Ikaika says

    @ Hawkster

    Just like one of those Tiffany art antique coin finish. Now that would be an accomplishment for the mint engravers.

  18. fmtransmitter says

    I was the dude tricking everyone into doing my chores. Did anyone start their career selling light bulbs door to door for the cub scouts lile me?

  19. fmtransmitter says

    Between these and the gold it is amazing what a backwards step the designs have taken. No depth, no action, boring symbolism is weirs places. Makes me so much happier about the gold Marshal Eagle. More eagle bell please!

  20. stephen m says

    Hawkster, the little balls must represent the lead shot Twain poured in his opponents frog in the frog jumping contest so it couldn’t jump far because of the extra weight.

  21. thePhelps says

    I am kind of torn on all these designs… many are interesting – but it is really becoming apparent that the designers have moved into doing little more than being told to create art inside a circle the size of a coin – and we’ll let the computer generate the rendering to a coin. In looking at a lot of these – it is quite apparent many will never translate well to a sculpture on a coin.

    Of the ones I think might actually reflect the artists target as a coin – the obverse 08-10-10A and 14 actually look like they were designed with a coin in mind. The reverses are even more limited…to basically 9 and 11…

    I’m not saying they aren’t good – but just too much detail and fluff for the target unless we are going to find magic ink and print them on a coin.

  22. says

    There is little remaining doubt that your original handle was, “Jon in CT”. Under the guise of the former handle, your comments were, for the most part, condescending toward other commenters. In some instances, you actually posted some helpful and insightful comments and links.
    You took an all-too-brief hiatus from this Blog site, only to resurrect yourself under the handle, “D Rittenhouse”. How cute, borrowing the name of the first Director of the U.S. Mint.
    Under your new handle, you initially assumed a more conciliatory tone in your comments. But, it didn’t take long for you to revert back to your former self. Your comments are obviously deployed in laughable attempts to display your own perceived vase internet knowledge base while, at the same time, shooting jabs at other commenters.
    You are apparently tethered to your internet devices. Every so often, it might be refreshing to get out into the real world and interact with real people instead of interacting anonymously on Blogs.

  23. says

    GF – good luck with the diversification (and the prairie dogs)! There’s a day (and some days it couldn’t come soon enough) that I’m going to pack up my all my stuff, coins, Zombucks, and lead bullion and head West! I hear ya on feeling a skittish, I sense we’re poised for a nice market reset like in Oct ’14 and there’s enough triggers out there to effect that. The one that has my interest besides the ongoing Greece saga is the Israeli leadership taking their case to Congress. They’ve lost confidence on our leadership many years ago, they though must know their going to end up with a bum steer and want to in act some action before less than favorable terms solidify. Probably just a matter of time before they go at it alone to resolve the issue. On the other topic, I’ve found it worth wild to pay the fee for a 10 day auction and get two weekend looks, I don’t sell a lot though it’s still a tough market right now so any advantage helps. Instead of getting this year’s HR, I decided to build up a customer AR from parts, so in need of some starter funds, should be a fun project.
    gold coins, silver coins, circus coins, & homely coins

  24. Clark says

    The Mint’s last Mark Twain product, a gold American Arts series medal, sells for melt value today. I may get the upcoming coins, but like most other modern coins and medals, I don’t expect an increase in value beyond pm fluctuations.

  25. KEITHSTER says

    They did drop the price on the other two pucks now that we bought them already ! They sure seem to like the nanny-nanny -boo -boo effect don’t they? Did get 5 more rolls of the homestead quarters from the bank the other day because on the first four there was a double die crack on three of the four ends showing the reverse’s! As I always check them out with a 10x loupe and bang there it was I call it the Spurmanome die crack variety because that’s what it looks like! Had to crack a roll which I don’t like to do and sure enough 8 out of the 10 I checked had the die cracks the other two coin were clean. Don’t think it will turn into much but the die crack collectors will want one maybe? On the roof of the home on both sides the one on the right looks just like a sperm swimming down the roof heading for the fertile fields maybe? The one on the left is not as lucky having lost it’s head looks to be going nowhere? Most are the same but seems to be a progressive die crack as one so far too the right has no head and one I have looks like it’s two of them heading out? Enough for now but if you got some unc. D. rolls of the Homesteads and a loupe check them out and let us know what you think??? Good Luck With It All:>:>:>:>:>:>:>:>:>

  26. Ends in Error says

    Never thought I’d feel this way about the Mints annual sets like the PM Eagles and the BU Mint and Proof Sets but compared to the garbage Commemoratives, the annual offerings are really good.

    Here’s hoping the hi-relief pieces are finally something worthwhile.

  27. GoldFishin says

    @Keithster- I really enjoyed your posts more before you started using punctuation marks. 🙂 On a serious note, from the sounds of it you may have a unique find. If it is true that the die crack was progressively getting more pronounced just in the rolls that you purchased, it may be that it was a very short run of them. Nice find indeed! I think you would have no problem selling them for a nice profit on Fleabay, its all about how you market them to buyers and use “buy it now” auctions. As always…I enjoy your posts. In your own way, you express your love for the hobby better than almost anyone else. It is refreshing!!
    Here is a link to a seller on ebay that has a niche market of selling error state quarters. You may have to log in to see the sold prices, I am not sure. I like the 1999 Delaware “spitting horse” die crack. Since you found them, I guess you can name it whatever you want. We could have a contest to see who comes up with the best name. I like the “Split Log Cabin” die crack error. 😆


  28. MikeinPA says

    off topic, but thinking of buying more silver bullion, pull the trigger or wait?

  29. Dave SW FL says

    I’d wait, Mike. The metals look awfully weak tight now. If they break support, the Hedge Funds will slaughter them and you will have the opportunity of the decade.

    The miners are a losing proposition, too. Until there is substantial appreciation in metal prices, they will get badly hurt. You can’t run a business at a loss very long!

    I’ll buy the MoD sets because of the dimes, but otherwise the mint won’t be getting much out of me for a while. They’ve got some serious work to do on the new website and with customer service with this new outfit running the show. Must have been trained by the Affordable Care Act people.

  30. MikeinPA says

    Thanks Dave, was thinking the same, I too will get the MoD sets fpr a possible flip down the road

  31. Dustyroads says

    I you all caught the the new series on the Fox news channel called “Strange Inheritance”. Tonight’s feature was the story behind the 1913 Liberty nickel.

  32. jhawk92 says

    Pretty far off-topic, but as I have been watching ASE bullion prices lately, I came across a mention of the “2000 U.S. Mint Millennium Coinage & Currency Set.” I did a little research and found this…


    What initially caught my eye was a Bay seller was touting the “Millennium ASE” as one of the “rarest” Eagles out there, since only 75,000 of the sets were made. I suppose you could get away with that, as the description does state this is a “W” Eagle. But since it is otherwise impossible to tell whether any Eagle minted that year is West Point or Philadelphia, to see the seller charging a ton for the coin doesn’t seem right. Still, I guess just like CV…people will buy what they want for whatever price.

    But in reading things a bit further, the “burnished” Sacabuck is more interesting, since it is a special finish, and, I guess, caused a frenzy just like our recent experience with the 2014 C&C sets. So, since I was able to pick up a couple of the 2014 C&C sets from a fellow MNB’er (thank you!!!), I’m wondering if it is worth getting one of these sets for the Sacabuck? Generally, I have avoided the various C&C sets, including the LESPS, since there usually isn’t anything special about the coins. I made an exception for the 2014 for the EU dollar, mainly in an effort to help my kids work a “golden dollar” collection. Could the same be said for this 2000 burnished coin?

  33. Hidalgo says

    @ jhawk92 – Re; buying a 2000 U.S. Mint Millennium Coinage & Currency Set for the Sacagawea dollar….. The choice is entirely up to you.

    If you’re a collector and want to collect varieties, then definitely buy this coin. You can add it to the other varieties in the series, e.g., the 2000 “Cheerios” dollar, 2000 Goodacre dollar, 2000 “Wounded Eagle” dollar, etc.

    If you’re an investor, flipper, etc. then there’s a chance the set (not the individual coin) may appreciate with time. I was fortunate and bought my set in 2009 on eBay for $32.95. However, most sets were going for around $60 on eBay at the time. Currently, the set is going for around the $100 range.

    I certainly did not buy the set as an investment. I just happened to get lucky that the set did appreciate after 5-6 years. I’m sure the American Silver Eagle had a lot to do with its appreciation.

  34. fmtransmitter says

    HSN guy sounds like some old college roommates sniffing wake up stuff at 4am for the show, wow…All I could hear was sniff sniff sniff

  35. fmtransmitter says

    Sometimes a die crack is a hair on the glass of the loupe and by the 10th coin the hair is gone from you breathing…Good luck with them…

  36. Dave SW FL says

    Got my 2000 Millennium C&C at a silent auction at my LCS a couple of years back. Paid $29 for the set still shrink wrapped. Guess I got a pretty good deal on that one!
    Wasn’t aware the SAE was anything special.
    Ignorance is bliss?

  37. fmtransmitter says

    whatajoke says
    MARCH 8, 2015 AT 11:50 AM

    Homesteads finally shipped.
    i never ordered or wanted it and they shipped it! grrr,,.i had all my enrollments inactive!

  38. fmtransmitter says

    Ok, so this “second” account is still haunting me. I guess they see it but I don’t when i log in, so i get the puck sub was “active” on the old account before the new website. They won’t merge them and I am stuck forever with two accounts he said. All he can do is put a note in there saying don’t use this account. How much will that help? Then he said if they leave a product at your place and you are not there to “refuse” it, then ship it back BUT don’t put return to sender, someone can steal it and your on the hook for the item, so you need to put it another box and send it back insured tracking number. Hope this helps any others with issues with shipping and enrollment program, which is useless IMHO.

  39. says

    VA Bob – where’d you go Boss? Hope all is well on your end. I got stuck in that snow melee you all had last week, hope that’s it for the year.

    The same for VABeachBum – you still out here? Miss the insightful perspective on some of these offerings

  40. says

    Conder101 – Enjoyed reading your March 7 posts, don’t know whether your knew that off hand or had to research it, but thanks for sharing the details of how the law(s) were written, adds a lot of value to the blog and to those that are here to learn.

  41. says

    Brad – just FYI, may want to rethink picking up too many of these AUDCS, I thought the ’13 sets would be hot with the low mintage ASE, there’s auctions ending for the ’13 sets now lower than mint cost. I’m staying clear of them as well as the LESPS (trying to off load two at the moment and it’s been a struggle to break even).

  42. D Rittenhouse says

    The suggested obverses of 4, 11 and 12 all depict a midieval knight wearing full armor and mounted on a horse. These images are clearly meant t0o evoke Twain’s 1889 novel “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”

    Although this novel is, nowadays, MUCH more acceptable than “Huck Finn” as required/recommended reading in US secondary schools (i.e. the “N” word is not an issue), it is still a stubborn fact that few recent high school “graduates” are familiar with the work.

    But, if it is decided that an image referring to “Connecticut Yankee” is the way to go, then I recommend the image of the knight from the frontpiece of the original book. You can view that image by scrolling just past the image of the first edition cover at:

    And, if you keep scrolling there, you can read/enjoy the whole novel. 🙂

  43. D Rittenhouse says

    Allow me to correct a typo in my previous comment: midieval should be spelled medieval. But I think the gist of my comment remains unaltered.

  44. GoldFishin says

    @KCSO- I also hope everything is allright with VA BOB. Maybe he is taking a break for a while. There isn’t exactly a whole lot to get excited about in my opinion with upcoming offerings. I really like my USM golds, but other than that I will just be watching mintages this year.
    You know the PC thought police tried to put a beat down on Va Bob a couple of times and it wasn’t too long after that he quit posting. He has made comments before regarding Pitt P that sometimes you just need to take a break. I hope that is all that it is. He has a lot of knowledge and really adds to the discussion on the site.

  45. jhawk92 says

    @Dave SW FL-That’s a decent appreciation for sure. I feel like that with my Lincoln C&C set that I got direct from the Mint. Always nice to get a little appreciation on something you buy because you like it. And yes, sometimes ignorance is bliss. I’ve learned a lot here; spent a bunch of money because of it, but I also think I’ve saved some as well.

    @Hildago-I think I’d classify myself as a collector, as I don’t know that I can pick what sets will appreciate to make it worth my while to flip. See the above Lincoln set. Had I known they would basically double in 5 years, then I’d have picked up more. I didn’t do anything with the BHOF coins and I know folks made some good money that way. I did flip 3 of the 25th Anniversary Eagle sets to help pay for the two I kept.

    At any rate, I know of the Cherrios and Goodacre coins, but I’ll have to look up the “Wounded Eagle.” I’ll contemplate things over the near term and see if I want to work on the difficult varieties. Thanks.

  46. Two Cents says

    I just read in Coin World (March 23rd issue) that the CCAC voted on March 5 to recommend the following designs:

    SILVER $1
    Obverse — MT-S-O-01
    Reverse — MT-S O-11 (yes, they wanted another obverse design for the reverse)

    They suggested that the inscriptions on the reverse be changed to avoid duplication, and also to substitute the date on the reverse with Twain’s signature.

    GOLD $5
    Obverse — MT-G-O-01
    Reverse — MT-G-R-05

  47. gary says

    @DRittenhouse… another error you made.
    It is spelled frontispiece, not “front piece”.

  48. Keep Calm & Stack On says

    GoldFishin – agree on all accounts (and I’m there with in trying to get excited about something, is ’16 here yet??? 😉

  49. KEITHSTER says

    @Goldfishin thankyou for your very kind words and the link you left. Didn’t know there was so many in the state quarters didn’t get into the rolls of those at the time was still old school back then. But a roll or two of the errors or the crack&chip would have been a wow alright. But this chip thingy does explain what I am seeing because I did find a crack on the right with no head very rare you know but then maybe the chip and the little sperm now has a head and a name were going to call him chip and crack stays the same only the heads and the names change. Whanted to call it spermonhome but with the PC police and all???;.;.;. Good Luck To Us All

  50. cagcrisp says

    FedEx SmartPost POB:

    IF your tracking number does NOT work, try putting a 91 or 92 at the BEGINNING of the 22 digits…

  51. fmtransmitter says

    There ya go HSN guy…!!! He makes much more than that, that is penny’s on the dollar. I hope they find someone good who cares about the numismatist…Anyone want to recommend me? I am available but don’t want to leave the sunshine either, who would, once you get here no one wants to leave. A comic said it is God’s waiting room, I say is it heaven on earth..

  52. HarryB says

    @fm: US citizenship required. A RCM current employee most likely a Canadian citizen. This position announcement appears to be pointed to attracting a proven e-commerce management type.

  53. Jerry Diekmann says

    Keep Calm & Stack – so the 2014 special limited edition set comes out 11 weeks into 2015. Now, if they can do that, why couldn’t the Mint have issued the proof ASE in 2009, instead of that lame excuse that Director Moy came up with? He should have resigned when Obama came in, or Obama should have replaced him when he came in – a case of two wrongs definitely not making a right!

  54. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    nice! I read Mark Twain’s books in elementary school. Whatever the Mint does, they gotta keep the steamboat.

  55. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    After looking at the Mark Twain gold token (1980) made bythe US Mint,
    some designshere a little busy. simple is best, obv. is good with a little smile and no nameplate,
    good rev. is jusy the steamboat. just my opinion. anyway, i’m looking forward to this one

  56. says

    Sorry off topic….but does anyone know the Backorder status of the 2014 First Spouse Bronse Medal?

  57. A Different Jeff says

    O6 or O7 are good, but could be a bit busy with the steamboat – O14 solves that.
    I actually like O11 as a reverse as it capture many of his literary gems.
    If I must choose an reverse designated design, then R1 is probably the least offensive, although R2 has a nice thought.

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