Modern commemorative coins authorized by Congress and produced by the United States Mint date from the introduction of the George Washington 250th Anniversary Half-Dollar in 1982. Congress has authorized a total of 51 commemorative coin programs through 2009, honoring people, places, events and institutions of significance in American history and culture. Surcharges from the sales of these coins are authorized to help fund a variety of organizations and projects that benefit the community at large. United States Mint commemorative coin programs have collected approximately $469.4 million in surcharges over the past 26 years for many worthy recipient organizations.
Commemorative coins are beneficial to numismatic enthusiasts and the recipient organizations, but they also reaffirm the history of our Nation. To ensure that commemorative coin programs reap the benefits of the reforms of 1996, the United States Mint must continue to execute and oversee these coin programs in a conscientious, prudent and business-like manner.
The matching funds criterion established by the Commemorative Coin Reform Act of 1996 (CCRA), as amended by Title II of Public Law 108-15 (April 23, 2003), requires commemorative coin programs to link public funding of special projects to private support by requiring recipient organizations to show receipts of donations from private sources “in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total amount of the proceeds of such surcharge derived from the sale of such numismatic item.” The CCRA makes commemorative coin program recipient organizations partners in bearing the risks of commemorative coin programs, and it assures that the United States Mint recovers its cost of operating such coin programs.
The estimated program margin is total net revenue minus net operating cost less surcharges collected. This quarterly interim analysis was prepared using the accrual basis of accounting.
2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 108-486, signed December 23, 2004
The 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program launched on January 15, 2008. This was a three-coin program, including a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar and a clad half-dollar, with mintages of 100,000 coins, 500,000 coins and 750,000 coins, respectively. Special products include a Three-Coin Proof Set, a Young Collector’s Set, and a Coin and Medal Set. The silver dollar was also included in the 2008 United States Mint American Legacy Collection™ that was launched in September 2008. This was the only commemorative coin program in 2008.
Analysis of Financial Position
Sales of the Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins began on January 15, 2008, and ended December 12, 2008. Through the end of the fourth quarter of FY 2008, the United States Mint shipped a total of 808,275 coins, generating total program revenue of $43.6 million. The program collected $7.6 million in surcharges and currently shows a profit of approximately $6.5 million.
Surcharges in the amount of $5.16 million have been paid to the recipient organization, the American Eagle Foundation of Tennessee.
2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 109-285, signed September 27, 2006
The Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Program consists of a silver dollar coin with a maximum mintage of 500,000 coins. The design candidates commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth were presented to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC, the recipient organization) for review, as well as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). The Secretary of the Treasury approved the final designs for the silver dollar coin commemorating the presidency of Abraham Lincoln on January 29, 2008. The designs were unveiled November 19, 2008 at the 145th Anniversary of the dedication of Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. Sales will begin February 12, 2009.
2009 Louis Braille Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 109-247, signed July 27, 2006
The Louis Braille Commemorative Coin Program consists of a silver dollar coin with a maximum mintage of 400,000 coins.
The designs for the silver dollar commemorating the bicentennial of the birth of Louis Braille and Braille literacy efforts were presented to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB, the recipient organization) for review. A prototype was developed to test the legibility of the Braille text on the reverse of the coin, as required by law. The design candidates for the silver dollar coin commemorating the bicentennial of the birth of Louis Braille and Braille literacy efforts were presented to the CFA, the CCAC, and the National Federation of the Blind in February 2008, and the Secretary of the Treasury approved the final designs on April 21, 2008. The designs were unveiled on July 2, 2008 at the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention in Dallas during the March for Independence. Sales are scheduled to begin March 26, 2009.
2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 110-277, signed July 17, 2008
Initial discussions with the recipient organization, the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation, have been held.
2010 Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 110-363, signed October 8, 2008
Initial discussions with the recipient organization, the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation, were held in December 2008.
2011 United States Army Commemorative Coin Program
Public Law 110-450, signed December 1, 2008
Initial discussions with the recipient organization, the National Museum of the United States Army, were held on December 10, 2008.
MARKET-BASED RESEARCH AND PRICING FOR ALL UNITED STATES MINT COMMEMORATIVE COIN PROGRAMS
The United States Mint is actively engaged in gathering and analyzing data gathered from focus group sessions as well as information collected through bi-monthly surveys. The purpose of gathering this data is twofold. First, customer satisfaction can be gauged relative to recent product offerings, and second, the success of future products and programs can be estimated.
It should be noted that the United States Mint also uses this information to assess overall customer response to quality, pricing and packaging, and to gain a better understanding of which products will succeed and at what price will they be most attractive to potential customers.
Focus group meetings are conducted around the country to provide input from a diverse population. They are a valuable tool for the United States Mint when considering themes, packaging and special products. These venues are used to test annual recurring products, as well as commemorative coin programs.
Commemorative coin pricing includes estimating consumer demand and costs associated with producing and selling the item.