WASHINGTON – The United States Mint is pleased to announce a call for artists to design the obverse (heads side) of commemorative coins celebrating the game of basketball. Public Law 115-343 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue domed $5 gold coins, domed $1 silver coins, and domed half-dollar clad coins, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is dedicated to the creator of the game, Dr. James Naismith. It is located in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the game was first played. The organization is recognized on a global scale as the institution that records and shares the history of basketball, including its greatest players, coaches, and contributors.
In accordance with the public law, the gold, clad, and silver coins will all share the same obverse (front) and reverse (back) designs. The design for the common obverse of these commemorative coins will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury based on the winning design from a public design competition. The obverse design is required to be emblematic of the game of basketball. The winning artist will receive $5,000 and have his or her initials included on the coins. Competition details and entry can be accessed on the United States Mint’s website.
Program legislation requires that the common reverse design depict a basketball. The reverse design will be developed by the United States Mint and is not part of this competition.
“From pick-up games to professional athletes, basketball touches so many of us,” said United States Mint Director David Ryder. “The United States Mint will be proud to produce coins honoring a game that brings people together.”
The public competition has two phases. Phase One, which is open today through April 15, 2019, calls for artists age 18 and older to submit a digital portfolio, consisting of three to five examples of their existing work. Following a review of Phase One applications by an expert panel, up to 25 entries will be selected to participate in Phase Two. During Phase Two, artists will be paid a stipend of $1,000 to submit a two-dimensional digital design for the common obverse of the coin. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) will review the designs at their public committee meetings. After considering input from the subject matter experts at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and recommendations from the CCAC and the CFA, the Secretary of the Treasury will select one artist’s design to serve as the basis for the obverse of the coins. The same design will be used on the gold, silver, and clad coins. The final winner will be announced later this year.
Upon selection of the winning design, the United States Mint will begin production of curved gold, silver, and clad commemorative coins for issue in 2020. Surcharges for this program are authorized to be paid to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will enable increased operations and educational programming.
About the United States Mint
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.