Commemorative Coin Legislation Update

About a month ago, I had written posts about the approved 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins and the proposed Panama Pacific Exposition Centennial Commemoratives. This was followed by a summary of all upcoming or proposed commemorative coin programs. I wanted to provide an update since two proposed programs are nearing approval and two new bills have been introduced which could have a significant impact on future programs.

2017 Lions Clubs International Commemorative Coins

The Lions Clubs International is a service organization which seeks to meet the needs of local communities around the world. Founded in 1917, the organization has 1.35 million members across 207 countries and geographic areas.

A bill to authorize the issuance of commemorative silver dollars for the centennial of the organization in 2017 has now been passed in both the House and Senate and will become law once it is signed by the President. Typically, once bills for commemorative coin programs have reached this stage, they are ultimately signed into law.

The 2017 Lions Clubs International Silver Dollars would have a maximum mintage of 400,000 pieces. The specifications would match the standards for modern commemoratives with a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, diameter of 1.5 inches, and weight of 26.73 grams.

2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known to the world as Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. His literary works are well known around the world and have had a long lasting effect on the history and culture of the United States. More than 6,500 editions of his books have been translated in 75 languages.

A bill to authorize the issuance of commemorative $5 gold coins and silver dollars has been passed in both the House and Senate. The House will need to approve amendments made by the Senate and then the bill will need to be signed into law by the President, but at this point passage seems likely.

The 2016 Mark Twain Silver dollars would have a maximum mintage of 350,000 with the standard specifications for a commemorative silver dollar. The $5 gold coins  would have a maximum mintage of 100,000 pieces and carry the typical specifications of 90% gold composition, diameter of 0.85 inches, and weight of 8,359 grams.

There were two previous legislative attempts to authorize Mark Twain Commemorative Coins for 2010 and 2013, which would have coincided with the 175th anniversary of his birth and the 125th anniversary of the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The year 2016 does not appear to fall on any particularly important anniversary.

Approved or Likely Programs

With the likely passage of the above, the line up of future commemorative coin programs now looks like the following:

  • 2013 United States Army 5 Star Generals – $5 gold coins, silver dollars, clad half dollars
  • 2013 Girl Scouts – silver dollars
  • 2014 Civil Rights Act of 1964 Semicentennial – silver dollars
  • 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame – $5 gold coins, silver dollars, clad half dollars
  • 2015 United States Marshals Service – $5 gold coins, silver dollars, clad half dollars
  • 2016 Mark Twain (likely) – $5 gold coins, silver dollars
  • 2017 Lions Clubs International (likely) – silver dollars

H.R. 6495 and S. 3612

On September 21, 2012, two bills were introduced in the House and Senate, which if passed would have a significant impact on future commemorative coin programs. The full text of each bill is not yet available, but the bills are identified as “A bill to prohibit the payment of surcharges for commemorative coin programs to private organizations or entities, and for other purposes.”

You can read an article with some comments from both sides here.

In the current situation, the issue price of all modern commemorative coins includes a surcharge which is collected by the United States Mint and later distributed to one of more beneficiary organizations indicated within the authorizing legislation. The surcharges are now typically $5 per clad half dollar, $10 per silver dollar, and $35 per gold coin. The 2011 commemorative coin programs generated an estimated $5.5 million in surcharges for the beneficiary organizations.

Commemorative coins are supposed to recognize or celebrate people, places, institutions, or the anniversaries of events of national significance. The surcharge aspect introduces an incentive for private organizations to pursue the approval of programs for subjects, which might not be the most nationally significant for a particular year. Certain organizations may also have more resources or connections to facilitate the approval of a program.

If either H.R. 6495 or S.3612 becomes law, the incentive for private organizations to pursue programs would diminish, perhaps leading to more even handed selection and a broader range of topics for future commemorative coin programs.

The Senate version of the bill currently has seven cosponsors, while the House bill has one. Both have been referred to committee.

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  1. simon says

    I was hoping for news about the NASA commems which would have made an interesting program. Looks like it was shelved for the time being. Also wished for an Einstein commem. Finally, any one have news on the Palladium eagles?

  2. says

    I hope to see the proposed Panama-Pacfic coins enter your “likely” column soon! 🙂

    Interesting information on the proposed House and Senate bills. At first blush, I am inclined to view this legislation favorably for the reasons you laid out above. Cheaper coins with more topics sounds good to me. It will be interesting to see what the other commenters think of this legislation.

  3. Louis says

    AS things stand now, the cost of a commemorative includes production costs, the surcharge, and some profit to the Mint. Does all of the remaining profit remain with the Mint to fund other coin production, or doesn’t some of that go back to the Treasury, where it could be used toward deficit reduction?

    Also, regarding the themes, I agree the legislation may help to ensure that the themes on commems are consistently of broad national significance, but I think most coins issued since 1982 already fit that bill. Even something that may seem narrow, or designed to benefit a specific member’s district, could still have national resonance like the baseball coin since that is such a widely followed sport, often called America’s passtime.

  4. ChosenReject says

    I was hoping there would be some Civil War/Battlefield Commemoratives coming out since it is the 150th anniversary for some of these battles coming up. None of these are interesting to me. To each his own though…

    I agree the Panama Pacific would be nice to see.

  5. dan says


    Have there been any attempts by associations or individuals to change the composition of the 5.00 gold commemoratives from the 90 – 10 composition to the .9999 fine gold ?? How about any other denomination like a 2.50 gold or ten dollar pieces? Thanks

  6. Mint News Blog says

    It seems like there is a basic template that everyone uses for commemorative coin bills using one or more of the following:

    $5 gold with specifications of classic quarter eagle
    $10 gold with specifications of classic half eagle (last used in 2001)
    silver dollar with classic silver dollar specifications
    half dollar with modern clad specifications

    Every once in a great while there is some deviation. There have been a couple 90% silver half dollars issued in the modern era. There have been a few bills calling for a one ounce gold commemorative with $50 face value, but none of these have been passed.

    Nothing with regards to fineness that I can recall.

  7. VA Bob says

    I bought one of each finish of the USO commem when it was issued back in 1991. They never came close to selling the authorized mintage of 1 million (124,958 unc. and 321,275 proof).I wonder if the Lions Club will fare any better. Two different missions of course, but IMO it doesn’t appear as widely known. Guess we’ll see in 5 years.

  8. William says

    Too bad Uncle Huey…

    My wife’s uncle was a four star General, looks like he didn’t quite make the grade. Maybe they could produce a coin for the four star generals too, a silver coins would be fine.


  9. Eric The Rad says

    These commemorative coins are lame? Let’s remember our history what about 2013 the anniversary of Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 where they reenact Pickett’s Charge; upon reaching the high-water mark of the Confederacy they are met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors, a true testament of Americans coming together as a Union. 2013 the hundredth anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson signing the Federal Reserve Act debasing our currency and enslaving all Americans and in his own words “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country”. 2014 What about the start of the Great War WWI Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo starting of World War I. In 1915 Theodore Roosevelt criticizes US citizens who identify themselves, with dual nationalities can you imagine a politician saying this today? Coins with history that is what we need. Since they don’t teach this in schools anymore maybe our youth can learn for our coinage?

  10. Gary says

    I really dont get into the commemorative game….but i might be down for the 5 star Generals and the BB HOF..

  11. Kraw says

    Lets hope the mint got an IT troubleshooting dept with the website upgrade. I have not be able to order anything online with my account for months, it always gives the same error code on check out. And when I call they tell me “we don’t have anybody here who can help you.”

    Seriously? they have a website that gives specific error codes and no one has the ability to look this up and help a CUSTOMER?!

  12. DCDave says

    I have a frequent problem too that I’m automatically logged in to the Mint site, but not really, then when I try to log out, or go to a different web page on the site it gives me an error code. This only happens with the Mint, not other retail sites.

  13. ms says

    Why is it so difficult to make circulating commemoratives available at face value. They’d be educatice and fun to collect! This prescious metal fantasy rubbish is clearly not meant for numismatists, but for uneducated wanna-be-investors.

  14. ClevelandRocks says

    Only 6 Hawaii NGC MS 69 DPLs left at Moderncoinmart, get them while you can…
    My 8/8 Garfield backordered till 10/13…

  15. stephen m. says

    @Louis&others, A series of silver and or gold baseball coins, i think, would go over big. Nice idea.

  16. SilverFan says

    The MLB logo will look great on a nice silver coin. I am also looking forward to the Mark Twain commemorative.

  17. Samnandy says

    Please oh please let them approve the Pan Pac but make the Exposition round and octagonal at full size..just make the date MMXIII

  18. DCDave says

    Denali ATB looks like the Glacier and Olympic coin, I hope more of ATB parks don’t keep the “mountains in the background, animal in the foreground” theme. It’s getting old.

  19. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Doors Commom would be good, Jim Morrison. Totally cool. I still love the Doors. 1967 was their debut album. 1967 – 2017.
    and any news on palladium eagles? Would like to pick one up.
    D Carr has good design.
    Now the only palladium I have is in my teeth, what i have left… one fell out… heading to the dentist now…

  20. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    just looked this up or Jim Morrison 70th birthday Commem 1943 – 2013
    This would absolutely be cool

  21. VA Bob says

    DCDave- I’m with you, but there is only so much they can do with parks with mountains and trees. I suppose they could have a camper relieving him/herself behind a bush. Now that would be funny and a must have, but I doubt the Mint/park would go for it, and I’m sure some would be upset, even though that’s what’s happening at these places every day.

    But seriously, you make an astute observation. Maybe a scene of some of the activities at these places such as hiking, fly fishing, etc. would break the animal, trees, mountain theme, that is making it harder to distinguish these coins without reading the name of the park. A little more work by the designers would be appreciated.

    Note: For the hyper sensitive, the first paragraph above was strictly for the purpose of humor, and not to be taken as a serious suggestion. If anyone was offended, I offer my sincere apology. This disclaimer is not directed to DCDave, who I do agree with on this topic.

  22. natatack says

    I’d hope they make the Pan-Pacific also but the round and octagonal $50 gold at full size would have close to $4400 worth of gold alone in each not including the mint premiums, how many of us can afford that? I’d have to hold up on buying from the mint for a few years, but boy would that be spectacular! I’d put it up there with the 2009 UHR.

  23. stephen m. says

    @VABob, humor is actually mentally healthy for those that laugh. Reminds me of the joke section in readers digest “laughter is the best medicine” Sorry to be so far off the subject everyone. It was a good saturday night.

  24. Larry says

    The mint is strange. When I received my 2009 UHH, UPS just left it at my door. No signature. From then on, everything was UPS signature required. Just got my 2012 75th Anniversary set, in the regular mail, NO SIGNATURE! I haven’t bought any real expensive coins lately. Is that the way they are shipping expensive coins now? Not sure I want expensive coins shipped to me with no signature required.
    The 75th anniversary set looks great! I couldn’t see anything wrong. I think overall the mint did this right. If you wanted one you got one, and you can even sell them for a little more than you paid. I think everyone won on this set. Since we all yell at the mint when they do things wrong, I think they should get praise this time for doing it right.

  25. William says

    I had UPS deliver some gold coins.

    The man asked me to sign and then handed me a box…

    I asked to see the receipt again. It stated that there were two boxes to be delivered…when I questioned the driver he said it was his mistake. He then handed me a second box. Since then, I have all coins sent to my PO Box and the Post Office always requires a signature.

  26. simon says

    William :
    I recently purchased some coins – mailed with UPS. It reached the destination city and then got lost! After over investigating for over 7 days they declared it lost. I believe that there may be folks at UPS who are well aware of PM shipments. UPS needs to be way more careful with their tracking process.

    Larry :
    I also received some coins from the Mint. All excellent quality. I was particularly impressed with the Silver Pf set. There was a confluence of perfect strikes for all coins which is a first for me. All high grade and excellent quality. My 75th has a great RP and the proof is good but with
    some marks here and there. I will keep the set nonetheless.

  27. Shutter says

    Just got my 2012 75th Anniversary set, in the regular mail, NO SIGNATURE! I haven’t bought any real expensive coins lately. Is that the way they are shipping expensive coins now?
    Anything over $300 or containing gold or platinum is automatically shipped by UPS (signature required). Under $300 it gets shipped by FedEx and delivered by USPS (no signature).

    Sometimes UPS/FedEx/USPS guy screws up and doesn’t get the signature. UPS guys used to do that all the time a few years back. I’m guessing they’ve learned the hard way.

  28. Doug says

    I’ve never signed for a single package from the US Mint. Although it does specify from UPS that signature is required. I’m kind of glad he leaves it at my door since it would take a lot for me to get off work and track down the package. Also if it is stolen it is there liability for leaving it without a sigature right?

  29. DCDave says

    New Mint website has problems. I keep getting “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate” when I am navigating. Anyone else with problems with the new Mint site?

  30. Frankie says

    Yes, same here. Something wrong with the security certificate for sure.
    Silver just jumped above $35/oz, but will probably drop down again soon. In any case, I pulled the trigger on the Hawaii 5oz ATB now. It won’t be cheaper for sure!

  31. says

    New Mint website has problems. I keep getting “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate” when I am navigating. Anyone else with problems with the new Mint site?

    Dave, I had this issue this morning when I ordered my Hawaii AtB. My assumption is that they forgot to update the website’s security certificate when they upgraded it. You should be safe ignoring the error and just moving forward with whatever order you want to make.

    Silver’s up over $35 again and it seems like it could have more staying power this time.

  32. hi ho silver says

    I called the Mint to ask why my 9/28 SF didn’t ship. I had problems getting into my account.

  33. Larry says

    I bought all the 2010 5 OZ ATB’s. The only one I liked was the Mount Hood. Otherwise I thought they were just not pleasing to the eye. So I just can’t bring myself to order anymore. Why oh why did they have to use that ugly finish? I think if they were proof they would be much more successful. Can you imagine a reverse proof Hawaiian?

  34. Fosnock says


    I agree about the proofs but they had so many problems just manufacturing them I don’t think they could have made proof coins, or at least that is my opinion, and the issues with 2012 First Spouse coins would give credence to my position.

  35. says


    I agree the 2010 AtBs weren’t their best, but the art quality has improved a great deal since then. A lot of the 2012 coins aren’t plain landscapes. The only one which really fits that profile is Denali.

  36. old folkie says

    I saw someone doesn’t like the mountains in the background and wildlife in the foreground ATBs, I love ’em, The parks are suppose to be about their scenery, geology and the wildlife. To me if done artistically it’s the way to go. I think we’ll see plenty of variation in lots of the historical parks. To not have an alligator on the everglades coin (no mountains at least) or a Black Bear on the Smokies would be missing the whole point, that’s why people go there, that’s why they were created. I actually like the subsets I see in this set, the true National Parks, the Historical Parks, and the rest. And Voyageurs.has to have a moose or wolf in the foreground, just has to be.

  37. DCDave says

    Mountains in the background, animal in foreground, cool on first coin, ok on second, enough already on third. I’ve camped in the Olympics with it’s cool-looking moss growing in the rainforest, and tall cliffs overlooking the Pacific, but they choose the generic looking mountains with a generic looking deer/ moose (albeit an Elk). Lot’s of things to choose from in most US Parks to put on coins, so I respectfully disagree with old folkie.

  38. old folkie says

    Ahhh..DCDave, that’s not just an Elk, that’s a “Roosevelt” Elk, and yes it’s hard to capture the little stuff or even the grandeur of any mountain, but I like ’em. A banana slug just wouldn’t do it. 🙂 I’ll never tire of Americas Wildlife on coins.

    Now Arches I can see with a majestic arch, but I wouldn’t mind a Collared Lizard in the foreground, And Shenandoah without a Whitetail just wouldn’t be Shenandoah. My guess is out of all these coins there will be maybe 7 or 8 following this recipe, and I will rejoice in those because that’s what the parks are to me.

  39. Shutter says

    Just wait till 2014 when they have to do Everglades. How do you make a swamp look exciting on a coin? An alligator chomping on a bird?

  40. Shutter says

    The eagle doesn’t work for me. First, I ‘m unsure how many eagles you’d find in the Everglades. They would be more likely nearer to the coast. Second, I’d rather see predation depicted. Maybe and egret or a stork.

  41. Gary says

    I live right next to the Illinois River and we have Bald Eagles…maybe they are the rare Illinois Bald Eagles and not the more common Coast Bald Eagle…LMAO

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