Many aspects of how the United States Mint operates and the coins that they are allowed to produce are dictated by specific laws enacted by Congress. As such, tracking coin and medal related bills introduced and enacted by Congress can provide collectors with a glimpse of things to come.
The 113th United States Congress convened on January 3, 2013 and ended on January 3, 2015. During this time, there were two bills enacted to authorize future commemorative coin programs and nine bills enacted to authorize the award of Congressional Gold Medals.
This post will recap all of the enacted bills. Throughout the year, you can visit Coin Update for the all of the latest news on coin and medal related bills introduced or acted upon by Congress.
Commemorative Coin Programs Authorized Under the 113th Congress
World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coins
Public Law 113-212
Commemorative coins will be issued in 2018 to mark the centennial of World War I. The year 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice with Germany ending the World War I battlefield hostilities. The program will include up to 350,000 silver dollars with obverse and reverse designs emblematic of America’s involvement in the war. The designs will be selected through a competition judged by an expert jury and chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury.
Surcharges of $10 per silver dollar will be distributable to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.
National Park Service Centennial Commemorative Coins
Public Law 113-291, Section 3055
A single section of a 697-page law authorized a 2016 commemorative coin program to mark the centennial of the National Park Service. The program will include up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, up to 500,000 silver dollars, and up to 750,000 clad half dollars with designs emblematic of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
Surcharges of $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar, and $5 per half dollar will be distributable to the National Park Foundation for projects and programs that help preserve and protect resources under the stewardship of the National Park Service and promote public enjoyment and appreciation of those resources.
There was one other commemorative coin bill which was almost enacted. The bill H.R. 2866 sought the issuance of commemorative $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and half dollars to mark the centennial of Boys Town in 2017. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives, and then passed in the Senate with changes. The bill was sent back to the House to confirm the changes, but the bill died without any further action.
For those looking ahead, the line up of commemorative coin programs currently authorized for future years include Mark Twain (2016), National Park Centennial (2016), Lions Clubs International Centennial (2017), and World War I Centennial (2018).
There was one coin related bill enacted, which did not deal with a commemorative coin program. This was the Collectible Coin Protection Act (Public Law 113-288), which will serve to broaden the existing Hobby Protection Act by making it unlawful to sell unmarked replica coins.
Congressional Gold Medals Authorized Under the 113th Congress
Congressional Gold Medals are designed and struck by the United States Mint, which will also typically offer bronze duplicate versions of the medals for sale to the public. Some of the medals authorized early within the 113th Congress have already been issued or have had design candidates prepared and released.
16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Medal
Public Law 113-11
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be posthumously awarded to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.
This medal was awarded on September 10, 2013, when the US Mint also began selling bronze duplicate versions.
First Special Service Force Medal
Public Law 113-16
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded collectively to the First Special Service Force, also known as the “Devil’s Brigade” in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II. The First Special Service Force was an elite joint American-Canadian commando unit which fought battles during World War II at high altitudes, in rugged terrain, and severe weather.
In March 2014, the US Mint provided 18 different obverse and 21 different reverse design candidates for the medal to the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for review and recommendation. You can view the recommendations of each group as well as all design candidates here and here.
American Fighter Aces Medal
Public Law 113-105
The Congressional Gold medal was authorized to be awarded collectively to the American Fighter Aces in recognition of their heroic military service and defense of our country’s freedom throughout the history of aviation warfare. An American Fighter Ace is a fighter pilot who served honorably in a United States military service and destroyed five or more confirmed enemy aircraft in aerial combat during a war or conflict in which American armed forces participated.
In October 2014, the US Mint provided 6 different obverse and 9 different reverse design candidates to the CFA and CCAC for review and recommendation. You can view the full slate of design candidates here and the recommendations of each group here and here.
Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Medal
Public Law 113-106
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to the World War II members of the
Doolittle Tokyo Raiders in recognition of their military service during World War II. The Doolittle Raid was an air raid by the United States on the Japanese Home Islands, serving as retaliation for the Japanese attach on Pearl Harbor and demonstrating that Japan was vulnerable to American air attack.
Also in October 2014, the US Mint provided 16 different obverse and 9 different reverse design candidates to the CFA and CCAC for review and comment. The design candidates and recommendations can be seen at the links cited for the American Fighter Aces Medal.
Civil Air Patrol Medal
Public Law 113-108
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol in recognition of their humanitarian, combat, and national services provided during a critical time for our nation.
The medal was awarded on December 10, 2014 when the US Mint also began sales of a bronze duplicate versions of the medal.
Shimon Peres Medal
Public Law 113-114
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to Israeli President Shimon Peres for maintaining strong bilateral relations between Israel and the United States.
The medal was awarded during a ceremony held on June 26, 2014 when the US Mint also began selling bronze duplicate versions of the medal.
Monuments Men Medal
Public Law 113-116
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to the Monuments Men in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.
65th Infantry Regiment Medal
Public Law 113-120
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Borinqueneers”, in recognition of its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity. This Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army participated in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in other overseas contingency operations.
Jack Nicklaus Medal
Public Law 113-210
The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized to be awarded to professional golfer Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy.