By Office of Corporate Communications
November 23, 2021
On November 10, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) and the U.S. Mint unveiled the coin designs commemorating the establishment of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Board members of the museum, members of the U.S. Congress, and other guests gathered in Kansas City, Missouri and virtually for the ceremony. The ceremony included taped remarks from U.S. Mint Acting Director Ventris C. Gibson.
NLBM President Bob Kendrick’s enthusiasm for this program was evident throughout the ceremony, reminding the audience that this “is a cause for excitement… and what a special and historical occasion as we move another step closer to the realization of getting our very own series of U.S. Mint commemorative coins.”
Acting Director Gibson touched on a personal story in her remarks, sharing that her father was a pitcher for the Massies Mill Giants in Virginia from 1949 until the early 1960’s. His love of the game inspired her and she grew up playing baseball. Acknowledging the rich history of African American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America, Gibson stated, “we hope this program will assist the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in its mission to promote tolerance, diversity, and inclusion.”
To watch the coin designs unveiling ceremony event, visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on YouTube.
Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coins
Public Law 116-209 directs the Mint to produce $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half dollar clad coins as part of the Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coin Program. The law passed in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro National League, the first successful professional African American baseball league in the United States. Additional leagues formed around the country.
The $5 gold coin obverse design features a portrait of Negro National League founder Rube Foster. Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Laurie Musser created it and Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill sculpted it. The reverse was designed by AIP Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by Medallic Artist Eric David Custer. It depicts the gesture of tipping one’s cap, an important sign of respect for players.
The silver dollar obverse shows a pitcher throwing a baseball. Baseball stitching appears as a border around the design. It was created by AIP Designer Matt Swaim and sculpted by Medallic Artist Eric David Custer. The reverse, by AIP Designer Don Everhart and Medallic Artist Craig A. Campbell, depicts a player’s eye view of a pitch being delivered to the catcher at the plate.
The clad half dollar obverse features a Negro Leagues tour bus and a player up to bat. The bus served as their home on the road when hotels and restaurants refused the players entry. The batter exemplifies the determination to play the game he loves, regardless of challenging circumstances. AIP Designer Chris Costello designed it and Medallic Artist John P. McGraw sculpted it. The reverse, by AIP Designer Justin Kunz and Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill, shows a group of Negro Leagues players.
Surcharges from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the NLBM in Kansas City for educational and outreach programs and exhibits. The museum’s mission is to preserve the history of African American baseball and to use the life lessons of Negro Leagues players to promote tolerance, diversity, and inclusion.
Check the product schedule for information on how to buy these coins in early 2022.
See more Inside the Mint articles.