While the United States Mint does have discretion or flexibility in some areas, generally most aspects of circulating and commemorative coinage production are directed by Congress. This includes the denominations authorized for production, the composition and specifications for most coins, the basic designs or themes for some coins, and the commemorative coin programs authorized for each year. As such, following coin related bills introduced in Congress is a way to see what may be in store for United States Mint coins.
In every Congress, there are a large number of bills introduced, but only a few will become law. In order for a bill to become law, it must be passed in the House of Representatives, passed in the Senate, and then signed by the President. An additional criteria which applies to commemorative coin programs is that only two programs may be authorized for each year of issue.
In the 112th Congress, by my count there were 30 different coin related bills introduced, of which five became law. So far, in the 113th Congress there have been 16 different coin related bills introduced (excluding duplicates), with none yet signed into law.
This post will provide a summary of coin related bills before the 113th Congress for Mint News Blog readers. As a reminder, I cover the introduction and progress of coin related bills extensively on Coin Update News. Visit the site for the latest coverage for this and other areas, or sign up for the Coin Update news round up delivered by email three times per week for an update on all of the latest coin news from around the internet.
Proposed Commemorative Coin Programs
S. 203 & H.R. 1653 Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
Up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars would be issued in 2017 to recognize and celebrate the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This bill follows the previous approval by Congress of a commemorative coin program for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
S. 1158 & H.R. 627: National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
Up to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars would be issued in 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.
H.R. 1905 Mother’s Day Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
Up to 400,000 silver dollars would be issued in 2014 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Mother’s Day.
S. 1011 & H.R. 2866: Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
Up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 350,00 silver dollars, and 300,000 clad half dollars would be issued from 2017 to 2018 to celebrate the centennial of Boys Town. Interestingly, the bill does not provide for surcharges to be added to the cost of each coin, which is highly unusual for a commemorative coin program.
H.R. 2366: World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
Up to 350,000 silver dollars would be issued in 2018 to commemorate the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I and to honor the over 4 million men and women of the United States who served in uniform during the war. The ANA has urged its members to support this bill.
H.R. 2535: American Liberty Coinage and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013 [Mint News Blog post]
The program would include alternating circulating commemorative dimes and quarter dollars featuring depictions of Liberty starting with the dime in 2015. Half dollars would also be issued with a design emblematic of the concept of Liberty, which would be changed every ten years. All of the Liberty themed coins would be issued concurrently with the standard designs featuring Presidential portraits. The program is directly linked to the prospect of increased seigniorage generation for purpose of deficit reduction.
H.R. 2633: Thirteenth Amendment Commemorative Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
A program including three coins to be issued in 2016 to mark the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which officially marked the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The coins would include a bimetallic platinum and gold $50 coin, a $20 gold coin, and silver dollar. The bimetallic coin would be only the second such issue from the US Mint, while the gold and silver coins would each carry uncharacteristic specifications.
H.R. 2760: Panama Canal and Pan-Pacific Exhibition Centennial Celebration Act [Coin Update coverage]
Last year, a similar bill had been introduced seeking commemorative coins to mark the centennial of the Panama-Pacific Exposition and Panama Canal. I had discussed some issues with the potential program as previously proposed. At least one issue has been addressed in the most recent proposal, along with some other changes.
The program would include five different coins would feature the designs of the five classic commemorative coins issued in 1915 for the opening of the Panama Pacific Exposition. The coins include round and octagonal $5 gold coins, a $2.50 gold piece, a gold dollar, and a silver half dollar. The legislation also provides an option for the issuance of clad composition half dollars for circulation.
Other Coin Related Bills
S. 94 A bill to terminate the $1 presidential coin program [Coin Update coverage]
Although the production of Presidential Dollars for circulation has already been suspended, this bill seeks to terminate the program outright.
S. 1105: Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act [Coin Update coverage]
This bill seeks to phase out $1 bills in favor of $1 coins. Once $1 coins have achieved sufficient market penetration, a deadline would be established after which Federal Reserve Banks may not order any additional $1 bills.
H.R. 77 Free Competition in Currency Act of 2013 [Coin Update coverage]
The bill would repeal legal tender laws and prohibit taxation of certain coins and bullion.
H.R. 220 Stop the Coin Act [Coin Update coverage]
This bill was introduced in response to the idea floated earlier this year that the platinum coins could be minted with a face value of $1 trillion to avert the debt ceiling crisis. The bill would specifically limit the face value of any coin to $200.
H.R. 1218 Commemorative Coins Reform Act of 2013 [Coin Update coverage]
The bill would prohibit the payment of surcharges from commemorative coin programs to private organizations or entities. Since 1982, more than $400 million in surcharges have been raised through commemorative coin programs.
H.R. 1719 Cents and Sensibility Act [Coin Update coverage]
The bill seeks to immediately alter the composition of the cent, nickel, dime, and quarter to American steel. In the last Congress, separate bills had been introduced seeking to change the composition of only the cent and nickel to steel.
S. 768: Sound Money Promotion Act [Coin Update coverage]
The bill seeks to treat gold and silver coins used as legal tender in the same manner as United States currency for taxation purposes. As such, gold and silver coins declared legal tender by the Federal or any State government would not be subject to taxation.
H.R. 1849 & H.R. 2786: Collectible Coin Protection Act [Coin Update coverage]
The existing Hobby Protection Act would be broadened and strengthened by making it unlawful to support or assist anyone who violates the act and adding trademark violations to the act.