During a ceremony held at the Capitol Rotunda, a Congressional Gold Medal was posthumously awarded to Swedish-born business man and diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. The medal was authorized to be awarded under Public Law 112-148 in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.
While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg had issued protective passports (German: Schutz-Pass) and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory. His actions helped to save more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, many of whom later immigrated to the United States. Today, hundreds of thousands of American Jews can directly or indirectly attribute their own lives to Wallenberg’s heroic actions.
Initially, the United States Mint had prepared thirteen different obverse and six different reverse design candidates for the medal, which can be seen here. The official design selection was made earlier this year during an event attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. At the ceremony held yesterday, the medal was received by Ms. Nina Lagergren, half-sister of Raoul Wallenberg.
The obverse design features a close up portrait of Wallenberg with the inscriptions “Raoul Wallenberg”, “Act of Congress 2012”, and “Hero of Heroes”. The obverse was designed by Don Everhart.
The reverse features a view from Wallenberg’s perspective as he extends a Schutz-pass while in the background those he could not reach are being boarded on a train bound for a concentration camp. The inscriptions read “He Lives on Forever Through Those He Saved” and “One Person Can Make a Difference”. The reverse was designed by Phebe Hemphill.
The United States Mint has made available bronze duplicate versions of the Congressional Gold Medal. A 3-inch version is priced at $39.95 and a 1.5-inch version is priced at $6.95.
In other news, the United States Mint has lifted the long standing household ordering limit which had been imposed on the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Half Dollars.
Along with the sold out silver dollars and $5 gold coins, the half dollars had originally gone on sale March 27, 2014. During the introductory period, the half dollars were priced at $18.95 for the uncirculated version and $19.95 for the proof version. At the conclusion of the introductory period on April 28, 2014, the regular pricing of $22.95 and $23.95 went into effect. The household limit imposed was 100 coins for each version.
As of the most recent sales report, orders have been received for 192,976 proof half dollars and 111,229 uncirculated half dollars. This makes for a total of 304,205 from the 750,000 maximum mintage. The Young Collector’s Set containing the uncirculated version of the half dollar is scheduled for release on July 28.
On their Facebook page, the US Mint has posted images of the upcoming 1964-2014 50th Anniversary Gold Kennedy Half Dollar, as well as revealed additional details related to the offering in response to posted questions.
The images provide a much different impression than the mock ups which had been released earlier in the year for discussion at meetings of CCAC and CFA, although this may simply be due to the style of the rendering. As opposed to the mock ups, the “W” mint mark appears on the reverse of the coin near the eagle’s left talon, which matches the original mint mark position for the series. The inscription “3/4 oz. .9999 Fine Gold” has also been added beneath the eagle’s tail feathers to indicate the precious metal weight and purity.
According to information previously provided or announced, the coins are scheduled to go on sale August 5, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET and will be available for purchase at the ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money starting on August 5. A pricing chart was also released showing the price points based on various weekly average gold prices.
In response to questions posted on Facebook, the US Mint responded that order limits at retail sites “may be limited to two units” and “the household order limit (via website and phone orders) is five units.”
In response to a question on the production level, the US Mint responded “To ensure fair and equitable distribution of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Gold Proof Coin, the product will be sold based on consumer demand.”