Public Law 111-221 authorized the minting and issuance of up to 2,000,000 one ounce silver medals in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the establishment of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center.
The law called for the designs to be “emblematic of the courage, sacrifice, and strength of those individuals who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the bravery of those who risked their lives to save others that day, and the endurance, resilience, and hope of those who survived.”
From a field of 10 different obverse design candidates and 16 different reverse design candidates (see the original design candidates here), the Secretary of the Treasury selected the designs shown below. His selection followed consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts and National September 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
The obverse design depicts Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance with two beacons of light stretching skyward in the background. Liberty, the lamp, and the light symbolize not just the immeasurable loss on that fateful day, but also the resiliency and triumph of those who persevered. The inscriptions read “Always Remember” and “2001-2011”. The reverse design features an eagle against a backdrop of cascading water. The eagle symbolizes the strength of the survivors, families, and Nation, and the water is emblematic of peace, serenity, healing, and the continuity of life. The inscriptions read “Honor” and “Hope”.
The obverse was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, and the reverse was designed by Weaver and sculpted by Joseph Menna. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee has added the medal to its “Visual Definition of Coin Design Excellence.”
Sales of the proof quality medals began at the United States Mint on June 20, 2011. The medals were available carrying either the “W” mint mark for West Point or the “P” mint mark for Philadelphia.
During an introductory period which ended August 18, 2011, the medals were priced at $56.95 each. After this time, regular pricing of $66.95 went into effect. The price of each medal includes a $10 surcharge which is distributable to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to support the museum’s operations and maintenance. Orders placed during the introductory period received a document showcasing the artwork for the medals designs.
Through the most recent sales report, orders for the September 11 National Medals have reached 171,481 units. This is made up of 105,266 with the “W” mint mark and 66,215 with the “P” mint mark.
The authorizing legislation for the program provides that no medals may be struck after December 31, 2012. There is no specific sales ending date provided, however the US Mint has separately indicated that sales will conclude in December 2012.