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Commemorative Coins
Goldie (the Mint Fish) reading a newspaper

The coins are coming!  The coins are coming!  Yes, new coins are coming out all the time.  And did you know that the United States Mint makes some coins to collect rather than spend?

One collecting kind is called "commemorative"—coins that honor famous people, places, and events.  If you have coins to spend, those are called "circulating" coins.  But commemorative coins are not the kind you'd want to spend...although you could.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar

Obverse of Civil Rights Act dollar coin.
Reverse of Civil Rights Act dollar coin

The Program

This 2014 coin honors the Civil Rights Act, made law in 1964, on its 50th anniversary.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 greatly expanded civil rights protections.  It outlawed racial segregation in public places, funded federal programs, and encouraged desegregation in public schools. 

The law that required the creation of this coin was passed on December 2, 2008.  The law allows surcharges for each coin that's sold to be paid to the United Negro College Fund. 

The Organization

One of the main goals of the civil rights movement was equality in education.  Similarly, the purposes of the United Negro College Fund are to provide scholarships and internships for minority students and to operate services for 37 historically black colleges and universities. 

The fund's scholarships and operating funds have enabled more than 400,000 young African-Americans to earn college degrees.  Those graduates include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other leaders in the fields of education, science, medicine, law, entertainment, literature, the military, and politics.  Many of them have also supported the movement for civil rights. 

The Designs

The design on the obverse (front) features three people holding hands at a civil rights march.  The man holds a sign that reads “We Shall Overcome.”  The design symbolizes all the marches that were part of the civil rights movement.  The inscriptions are “2014,” “Liberty,” and “In God We Trust.” 

On the reverse (back), three flames intertwine to symbolize three civil rights:  to get an education, to vote, and to control one's own destiny.  The design was inspired by the following quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.:  “They get the fire hose.  They fail to realize that water can only put out physical fire.  But water can never drown the fire of freedom.” 

The inscriptions are “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” “Signed into Law July 2, 1964,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “One Dollar,” and “United States of America.” 

National Baseball Hall of Fame Coins

Obverse of 5-dollar baseball coin
Reverse of 5-dollar baseball coin.
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Obverse of half-dollar baseball coin.
Reverse of half-dollar baseball coin
The static images of the coins shown are line art renderings, and not photography of the coins.  The illustrations are not actual size or in proportion.  The appearance of the coins may have minor differences due to the coin production processes.

The Program

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act requires the creation of three coins (in gold, silver, and clad) to recognize and celebrate the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  The year of issue, 2014, marks the museum's 75th anniversary. 

The law allows surcharges from each coin sold to be paid to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  This will help fund the operations of the Hall of Fame, an independent not-for-profit educational institution. 

The Organization

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's mission is to help people appreciate baseball's historical development and impact on our culture.  To support this mission, the Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets baseball artifacts and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport. 

Since it opened in 1939, the Museum has hosted more than 15 million visitors. 

Only 1 percent (one out of a hundred) of all the Major League players have been awarded membership in the Hall of Fame.  A plaque is created for each member, and in the Museum's main gallery, the plaques of all 300 members line the oak walls. 

The Museum's other collections include more than 35,000 items such as bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles, and memorabilia.  The institution's library archives contain more than 130,000 baseball cards and 2.6 million photographs, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, films, and video and audio tapes. 

Expanding Farther into the Third Dimension

While most coins are basically flat, these coins have a dimensional difference:  the obverse (front) is concave and the other side is convex.  This domed shape is a first for the United States Mint.  Although the 1973 Roberto Walker Clemente Congressional Gold Medal was also curved, the curves were both convex (curved outward). 

The shape of the baseball coins was modeled after two other similarly curved coins that have recently been made in other countries:  France's International Year of Astronomy curved coins and Australia's Southern Cross curved coins.  As the United States Mint planned its first-ever curved coins, the Royal Australian and Perth Mints offered some valuable technical insight. 

No modern coin has required as much research and development as these.  When you strike a dome-shaped coin, how high can the relief be?  How does this shape affect the milling, turning, and grinding operations?  What about the laser frosting and proof polishing?  All these questions and more had to be tackled and solved. 

The Designs

To set a design for the concave front of the coin, a national competition was held between April 11 and May 11, 2013.  The winning design, by Cassie McFarland, is the same on all three coins.  (A separate challenge for kids under 14 was also held around that time but coins were not made from the winning designs.) 

The design consists of a baseball glove, one of the most basic elements of “America's national pastime,” or of even a simple game of catch in the backyard or at the local sand lot.  The glove design also fits the coin's concavity like a...well, like a glove.  This side's inscriptions are placed around the palm of the glove: “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “2014.” 

The design on the convex back, also common to all three coins, is a baseball like the ones used in Major League Baseball®.  The inscriptions, besides each coin's denomination, are “United States of America” and “E Pluribus Unum.” 

More Commemoratives at Coin News

Our collection of commemorative coins is small but growing with each year's new releases.  Pick any year to start enjoying this cool collection!

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