Future Commemorative Coin Programs

The President has just signed a bill into law authorizing a commemorative coin program to mark the 225th anniversary of the United States Marshals Service. I thought this would be a good time to recap the approved programs for future years.

Commemorative coin programs are created by acts of Congress. Under current rules, only two programs may be approved for each year, although each program can include multiple coins. The programs generate surcharges for specified beneficiary organizations or projects. There are many bills introduced each year that propose commemorative coins, but it takes some effort to get them approved. In order to be considered for a vote, sponsors must sign on at least two thirds of their chamber, which represents a difficult hurdle for many proposed programs.

You can view a summary of coin related bills in Congress in this post, which covers through the end of 2011. More recent bills can be found in the coin legislation category of Coin Update.

Here are the programs which have been approved and will be issued in the coming years:

2013 Commemorative Coins

The first program will mark the centennial of the establishment of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Only silver dollars will be issued with a maximum mintage of 350,000 coins.

Collectors will recall that the Boy Scouts of America had silver dollars issued to commemorate their centennial in 2010. This issue sold out of its 350,000 maximum mintage.

The second program of 2013 will honor the United States Army 5-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Omar Bradley. The program will include $5 gold coins with a maximum mintage of 100,000, silver dollars limited to 500,000, and clad half dollars limited to 750,000.

The legislation requires that “the design of the coins shall include portraits of Generals George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry “Hap” Arnold and Omar N. Bradley.”

Eisenhower was previously featured on a commemorative coin issued in 1990 featuring a dual portrait. Will the 2013 coins incorporate five portraits?

2014 Commemorative Coins

So far, only one commemorative coin program has been authorized for 2014. Silver dollars issued with a maximum authorized mintage of 350,000 will mark the semicentennial of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The designs for the coins are required to be “emblematic of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution to civil rights in America”.

The legislation authorizing the program was signed into law back in 2008.

2015 Commemorative Coins

The recently approved program to mark the 225th Anniversary of the United States Marshals Service will see the issuance of coins to the public in 2015. The program includes $5 gold coins with a maximum mintage of 100,000, silver dollars limited to 500,000, and clad half dollars limited to 750,000.

Design requirements included within the legislation are very specific, with themes provided for each coin.

The $5 gold coin will feature an image of the US Marshals Service Star on the obverse. On the reverse will be a design emblematic of the sacrifice and service of the men and women of the United States Marshals Service who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The silver dollar will once again feature the US Marshals Service Star on the obverse. The reverse shall bear an image emblematic of the United States Marshals legendary status in America’s cultural landscape. The image should depict Marshals as the lawmen of our frontiers, including their geographic, political, or cultural history

For the clad half dollar coins, the obverse will feature an image emblematic of the US Marshals Service and its history. The reverse shall bear an image consistent with the role that the United States Marshals played in a changing nation. The image should show the ties that the Marshals have to the United States Constitution, with themes including– the Whiskey Rebellion and the rule of law; slavery and the legacy of inequality; and the struggle between labor and capital.

The overly specific requirements might lead to some “storyboard designs”. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee has been critical of this type of coin design. An example would be the obverse of the 2011 U.S. Army Half Dollar, which was rejected by both the CFA and CCAC but used anyway.

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  1. Nate says

    Will there be only one $5 gold design for the 2013 5-star Generals or is it one $5 gold coin for each General? It would be pretty hard to get all 5 men on one gold piece….

  2. Rolling Thunder says

    I agree – looks boring – unless there are some very surprising designs – SSB likely the last US commemorative I’ll buy for quite a while!

  3. Hidalgo says

    Y’all are funny. Some of you may not buy any of the above commemoratives, but I assure you 1,000s will be sold. And retailers, flippers, speculators, and the coin certification companies will have a field day….!

  4. VABEACHBUM says

    If our current designers and committees are willing to take a chance on a creative opportunity, I could envision at least one of the 2015 Marshals Coins as a Bi-Metallic issue.

    The legislative mandate to use the Marshals’ Star on two of the obverses will severely limit the choices for devices within the field. If so, then Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!! The Silver Star encased within a gold ring with PR and UNC options?? I’d be all over it.

    Joel Iskowitz – Start Now. Please make this one happen.

  5. Zaz says


    Stop issuing the collector Kennedys that hardly anybody seems to buy and replace it with four commemorative clad halves per year on things people would actually enjoy buying. Baseball, mother’s day, football, astronauts all come quickly to mind, dead generals and the marshal service certainly don’t. And make them $5 per coin so every one can buy them, not just collectors.

  6. Louis says

    I thought the Marshall coins were supposed to be issued as high reliefs. Has that proposal been dropped from the legislation? I’ll have to check out the bill.

  7. says

    None of these particularly seem like must haves. Whether I buy any will probably be dependent on how well the designs turn out and how much money I have at the time of release. I definitely think it’s unlikely I will extend myself to get the gold coins for any of these issues.

    The Five Star Generals coins will be ambitious at best. It is going to be hard to cram five portraits onto one coin. If they go one general per coin, that’s going to be complicated (and expensive) as well.


    I don’t agree. We already have enough rotating designs with the quarter and dollar coins. Let’s not throw the half dollar into the mix.


    Not coming any time soon. A requirement to begin production of the coin was to complete a marketing study on the viability of a platinum eagle. The company that was conducting the study was found to have ties to the palladium industry a few months ago, so they were forced to throw out all the work that had been done and start over.

    I have heard no news since then. I’m almost sure we won’t see any platinum eagles until 2013.

  8. pl.mark says

    Most likely these coin programs will include the standard metal compositions (gold, silver, clad) since using anything else would likely drive up production costs which in turn would reduce the total surcharges to the recipient organizations (since surcharges are paid out once all production, marketing, and other costs have been covered). Still, within these limits the mint could produce a bimetallic silver dollar (a star-shaped oxidized silver inner core surrounded by regular silver), but this would drive up production costs. The same could be done with the gold coin, since a composition of 90% gold and 10% palladium will give a white-gold appearance. However, don’t hope for anything like that anytime soon from the mint.

  9. DCDave says

    Off topic:

    I’d like to hear other thoughts on the matter, but I am not happy with the Mint delaying the 2012 5 ozers since we just recently caught up from “drinking from the fire-hose” purchasing the 2010 and 2011′s spaced so close together.
    The Mint is now setting us up for a repeat experience. Not nice!

    I’d actually be ok with them cancelling the series, but I am not happy with the way things are going now, and really hope they do a reality check and lower the sales numbers expected for 2011 or they will languish on the site for years.
    Also, what’s going on with the 2012 5oz bullions????

    Maybe they can make things right by offering the 2012 5 ozers as a complete set for a reasonable price????

  10. Silver Surfing Scott says

    I’m sick of these dumb ass coins. I want someone cool.
    Like 5 star Patton!

  11. Tim says


    You must always remember they do as they please and nothing seems to ever make any common sense with them. They know this years 5 oz are wanted by folks. For all their talk of not offending collectors, that is what they continually do. The survey that most all on here answered, do you think they are going by it?

  12. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    yes, the Civil Rights Act is important
    but more importantly, they are missing the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
    and they already missed Alan Shepard’s 1st American in space

  13. says


    I agree on the Civil Rights coin. I had that thought as well last night – they should have made an MLK commemorative rather than a specific Civil Rights commemorative. MLK is pretty popular and a coin commemorating him might have sold well. He is long overdue to be commemorated on a coin, in my opinion.


    On the AtB coins, I have a number of comments in response to you. First, I believe the 2011s have all already been minted from what I know, so they will not be able to reduce the mintages except by melting the coins down (which costs money). Given how desperate the Mint is for revenue this year due to expected losses from the penny and nickel, I think the Mint will leave the coins up for sale on its website indefinitely. We’ve seen this trend already with the continuing sales of the 2011 proof gold buffalo.

    I am definitely not happy at the speed with which they are releasing the 2012 AtBs either. Perhaps they’re hoping for higher silver prices or some other reason, but they really ought to focus on unclogging the pipeline and releasing the AtBs at a reasonable pace. I doubt the series will be cancelled, since the Mint already said they planned on 2012 AtBs and went so far as to announce mintage limits, but if we see no bullion or numismatic releases by mid-June I might change my view on things.

    I would not like to see the numismatic 2012 AtBs sold as one big set. You would likely end up paying about $1025-$1150 total which is a fairly steep price. I personally would not support the idea more than two being released in a package at once. I don’t have very much money to throw around (in spite of what it may seem like sometimes). Furthermore, such a high price would result in even slower sales of the coins, which the Mint definitely doesn’t want. They’re already having a hard time moving the existing stock as it is.

  14. MarkInFlorida says

    Remember when gold commemoratives would come out and a couple years later you could buy them for melt at coin shops?

  15. DCDave says

    Wow, there really is no MLK Jr. coin? Millions of Carver and Booker T. Washington commems and no MLKs? We need an MLK Jr. coin.
    Maybe put him on the dime? Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln should stay on our coinage, but not FDR or Kennedy. Anyone have any thoughts on an ongoing MLK obverse dime?

  16. Tallon says

    I too would like to see the 5oz ATBs available as a five coin set perhaps at a slight discount (though even without a discount, I’d still be saving about $1. per oz in shipping costs on four of the coins.)

    To Captain’s concern, I don’t think anyone has suggested the ATB’s distribution be an all or nothing proposition. The coins would still be available individually but the five coin set would be a nice option that I think many would take advantage of.

  17. Shutter says

    I would not like to see the numismatic 2012 AtBs sold as one big set. You would likely end up paying about $1025-$1150 total which is a fairly steep price.
    If you’re buying all 5 coins, what difference would it make? If you knew that that is what was going to happen, you could simply save up $200 every 2 months and then plunk down the grand for the whole set at once. Alternatively they could take a portion of the mintage (say 5,000 – 10,000) and packaged them in a set, while selling the rest singly. They could (if the wanted to) take 10,000 of the remaining 2011 coins and packaged them now, since it appears highly unlikely they will ever sell out any of them.

  18. auxmike says

    I just recieved my 2012 Silver proof set from the Canadian mint. The US mint should take note how to make coins EXCITING again. Every coin is .999 silver, even the cent! Also, this is the last year for the cent in Canada….

  19. ChosenReject says

    Hmmm 2013 should be a federal reserve commemorative. Coin composition can be of wood and depict the members of the fed reserve board “making it rain” with monopoly money

  20. stephen m. says

    DC, perhaps a street sign that says “MLK Drive” on the obverse of that dime?

  21. Alan says

    I would totally buy a silver Lincoln cent… especially if it was the last year of US circulating cent production.

  22. David O says

    MLK not being on a coin is almost becoming a bad, bad joke. We have Mary Todd Lincoln on a coin who was as bats*** as all get out but not MLK? It’s an outrage, and that’s coming from a white guy. What MLK did for civil rights resonated through all of American society.

  23. stephen m. says

    Two Cents, When i see a street sign that has “MLK” on it, and there are many of them, i instantly picture the man in my mind and think of his accomplishments for people of all races.

  24. Hidalgo says

    I think there are better tributes to MLK than a street sign….. The MLK Memorial in DC would be far better….

  25. VA Bob says

    Can they cram one more thing on the U.S. Marshal’s coin…. maybe them washing the sheriff’s car? Love it when the government gets involved with the design… not.

    I believe MLK would better be suit to a medal, silver or bronze, as it would allow more folks to afford one (if in bronze) and provide a larger canvas (on the three inch version) which would be nicer to display. I also would wait until the 50th anniversary of his death. Too many “odd” anniversary dates being commemorated.

    Guys and gals… I believe we are in for a long stretch of terrible to mediocre designs (come on Mint prove me wrong), with limited subject interest. But, unless I’m financial unable to, I’m a buyer for one proof and one UNC in silver (would pass on gold), as I try to keep a complete commem set… including the dogs (and unfortunately there are too many of those).

    Also my SSB coins came in Friday. The proof and UNC silver are beautiful. The proof gold which I bought as a stand alone is also nice. That came in a blue velvet box with the metal mint eagle on top (the silvers had a black velvet box with a round metal Mint Seal on it), for anyone interested in that. So three keepers, I’m happy.

    Oh, another thing I thought was mildly interesting. The coins arrived in two separate boxes, silvers in one, gold in the other. Both by UPS. As a coin collector I appreciate paying $4.95 one time, for expedited shipping. As a taxpayer, I sure do wish the order could be combined so as to save money. The Mints shipper needs to stop being lazy about our money.

  26. Hidalgo says

    The Five Star Generals coin has a lot of potential. If the coin has a similar design as the New Frontiers medal, which depicts 4 astronauts on the obverse and two spacecrafts on the reverse, then it will be a winner.


    The Civil Rights Act coin has a lot of potential too. There are so many possibilities… The obverse could depict

    * The iconic picture of President Johnson signing the bill (note: MLK is behind the President):, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_July_2,_1964.jpg

    * MLK as shown in this picture: http://www.collapseboard.com/blogs/scott-creney/depeche-mode-the-martin-luther-kings-of-synthpop/

    Finally, for the Marshall’s coins — there is nothing to prohibit the Marshall’s star from being a privy to comply with the law. I remember the American eagle was a tiny image on the Franklin half dollar. And there are other tiny images to be found on bullion coins from other countries…

  27. Hidalgo says

    I hear a lot of folks saying they aren’t interested in the themes for the above coins. But there are so many possibilities for great designs.

    The 2013 United States Army 5-Star Generals coin. If the coin could show profiles of the 5 generals in a way like the Last Frontier medal (which had profiles of 4 astronauts), then I think it will be a winner! The reverse could should an awesome war/battle design…

    The 2014 Civil Rights Act coin could depict President Johnson signing the bill with MLK in the background. Or it could show MLK giving his “I have a dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Both are iconic images…

    The 2015 Marshals Service coin is required to show the MS star. However, I think the US Mint can make the star into a privy, like it did with the eagle on the Franklin half or like world mints (e.g., Canada) do with other symbols. There is a lot of potential for great artwork on these coins!

  28. Harry Baskins says

    They should make a gold coin celebrating Edgar Rice Burroughs, the greatest American author.

  29. simon says

    I believe there is a Mark Twain commem coming up ! I would also like to see Martin Luther King, and how about some famous Native Americans – Chief Joseph, Louis Tewanima, Jim Thorpe, and Sitting Bull would be my picks.

  30. Two Cents says

    Aside from coin designs (you can’t please everyone, myself included), I think a stumbling block for US commemorative coins is the mandated wordage on them:

    In God We Trust
    E Pluribus Unum
    United States of America

    Then you have to add in the wording that identifies what is being commemorated. That’s a lot to put on a round disc of metal. These phrases take up a lot of space, and often the design has to be made smaller or otherwise adjusted to allow for placement of the wording. The wording is also distracting and takes away from the overall design.

    Moreover, the denomination is spelled out, as well as the number. A simple $1 instead of ONE DOLLAR would save some space.

    If you look at foreign commemoratives, they have a lot more room on their coins for the design, and what wording they do use is pertinent to what is being commemorated. Even the dates may be truncated – instead of 2011, they may use ’11.

  31. pl.mark says

    There were proposals for MLK commemorative coins recently; however, all of them failed because of issues with MLK’s family about using his likeness on the coins (ie. surcharges and who gets them).

  32. jeff72 says

    Tim says:
    April 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm
    infinity yawn………………..

    …..dido on the Buzz-Lightyear yawn! …reckon I won’t need to check the Mint’s site too often…..hmmm ….let’s see what the Perth is doing…..

  33. DCDave says

    @Two Cents
    The best thing about US coinage are those 4 “wordages” on our coins.

  34. DCDave says

    For those that care, there should have a price decrease on Wed for gold (by average London fix), unless PMs climb higher in the next 48h.

    Still waiting for clairity on 2012 5 ozers (P and bullion). Seems like there are just as many offerings from 2011 as 2012 currently. Not a good policy IMHO.

  35. auxmike says

    E bay item 150746780549 , Talisman coins. Ships from USA with FREE Priority mail shipping!
    Only 20,000 sets were made, unlike the US mint that will pound out a million sets like nothing.
    The 2012 cent is all .9999 silver and the Maple leaf image is plated in rose gold which makes it look like copper. The case is like a book and is REAL leather too. Worth a look…

  36. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    how many more military commems do we need?
    moreover, there have been no specific famous battles to commem just drones so what’s the point?

  37. corners says

    To be fair MLK was enshrined recently with the rest of our countries great monuments in DC

    Do we need another coin? No. Does MLK deserve it? Of course he does, no question

  38. corners says

    “coins should not be used to rewrite history”

    Coins from before roman times were also propaganda pieces as well as currency

  39. corners says

    “The US mint should take note how to make coins EXCITING again.”

    I do like some of the ideals coming from the canadian mint. I do think they have gone a little overboard. Theres so many different types of coins.Some look gimmicky,some look awesome.They should focus a little more limiting some of the choices and they will do great. Great ideal with dinosaur coin and all silver proof set and penny

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