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2019 American Legion Commemorative Coin

July 9, 2018 0 Comments

The process that leads to a new coin being released by the US Mint is a long one. There are several stages in the process, and the one that is perhaps the most interesting to coin collectors is the design process. Different methods are used for different coins, but however it is done, the design must be reviewed before it can be finalized. Recently this has happened for the steady progress towards the release in 2019 of a coin commemorating one of the most significant groups in America, the American Legion.

In the middle of March 1919, just a few months after the end of World War I, a group of American soldiers gathered together in Paris. They were members of the American Expeditionary Force which had helped the Allies achieve victory, at the cost of over 53 thousand dead young men. Those doughboys in Paris wanted to build an organization to speak for returning soldiers, and they called themselves ‘The American Legion’. By September of that year Congress had given them an official charter to represent veterans, and by 1921 the first version of today’s Veterans Administration had been created. Since then the American Legion has been the main and most persistent voice for the rights of returning soldiers, as well as forming a meeting place for these proud heroes of America.

2019 will therefore be the centenary of the forming of the Legion, and it is fitting that a special coin should be released. In 2017 Public Law 115-65, the American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act was passed, starting the process for this important event. Sixty-three designs were created for the selection process, with the intention of releasing a $5 gold coin, a $1 in silver, and a $0.50 as a clad coin. The production of each of these will be 50,000, 400,000 and 750,000 respectively.

The next hurdle was the approval stage, and two organizations connected to the Mint are involved. One is the CCAC, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. This group of 11 people has existed since 2003, and it is a mixture of coin specialist and the general public. Its decisions are often controversial, and many coin collectors personally don’t like their choices, but they are the ones who get the final say. They review the designs, and they choose which designs they would like to be put forward for final production.

The other group is much older, and its mandate extends beyond coins. The US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) was created in 1910 to review the designs of all things federal, from coins to medals, and from memorials to the design of government buildings. It also supports several arts institutions in Washington DC.

Both of these groups have now met, and they have mostly reached the same conclusions for the designs of the three coins. They are fully in agreement over the designs for both the reverse and obverse of the silver dollar and the half dollar. For the $5 gold coin there is agreement on the obverse, but at this point they each have a different choice for the reverse. Once that difference is settled, the Mint will be able to go ahead and prepare to mint these coins. Once they are closer to release we will look more closely at the designs chosen for each one. The current choice for the silver dollar is shown at the top of this blog.

Filed in: Informative, News

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