Yesterday, the Congressional Gold Medal was collectively awarded to the Montford Point Marines in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country during World War II. The United States Mint is offering 3 inch and 1.5 inch bronze reproductions of the medal for sale to collectors.
In June of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802 establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission and opening the doors for the very first African-Americans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. The first African-American recruits were trained at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina. More than 19,000 African-Americans would serve in the Marine Corps during World War II, including the landing on the island of Iowa Jima and the seizure of Okinawa.
The obverse design of the medal features three Montford Point Marines with a training scene included in the lower portion. The inscriptions include “Montford Point Marines” and the years “1942” and “1949”. This was designed and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso.
On the reverse is a scene of Montford Point Marines in formation during training with the signature water tower in the background. The main inscription reads “For Outstanding Perseverance and Courage that Inspired Social Change in the Marine Corps” with “2011 Act of Congress” in the lower portion. The reverse was designed and sculpted by Don Everhart.
Originally, there had been six obverse design candidates and six reverse design candidates, which were provided to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for review and comment. You can view the design candidates here. The CFA and CCAC each came up with different design recommendations, and in one case, the Secretary of the Treasury selected a design different than either recommendation.
The CFA had recommended an alternative obverse design created by removing a training scene and modifying portraits based on the selected candidate. For the reverse, they had recommended placing the removed training sequence on an alternative candidate. The CCAC had recommended the selected obverse candidate. For the reverse, they had recommended an alternative candidate featuring an eagle.
The Montford Point Marines 3 inch bronze medals are priced at $39.95 each, and the 1.5 inch bronze medals are priced at $6.95 each. This latest medal would make a nice accompaniment to the previously released Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II and Nisei Soldiers of World War II bronze medals.