An Overview of the US Mint's Commemorative Coin Program
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An Overview of the US Commemorative Coin Program

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The United State Commemorative Coin Program was started to honor and celebrate significant American people, places, events, and institutions. The coins in the program have gained notable popularity among coin collectors, due to their historical interest and high quality. The US Commemorative Coin Program has not only increased awareness of and interest in America’s heritage, but it has also served as a source of revenue for many government initiatives.

Income for Public Works Projects

While coins issued through this program are technically legal tender, they are not intended for general circulation. The coins are issued in limited numbers, and for limited time periods. The purpose of these restrictions is to increase the rarity of the coin, which in turn improves its price.

The premiums on these coins, known as surcharges, are used to raise money for specific programs or causes. Since the Commemorative Coin program began in 1982, these surcharges have resulted in over $418,000,000 in funds for building new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam Memorial, preserve historical sites such as George Washington’s home, support various Olympics programs, and complete other public works projects.

Variety Makes for Popularity

The popularity of these commemorative coins is largely based on the variety of coins available. Minted in different denominations in both gold and silver, US commemorative coins appeal to both collectors and investors. The $5 gold US commemoratives have become particularly popular, because they are also valuable precious metals investments.

Because the subjects of commemorative coins also vary widely, the coins are popular among people of many different backgrounds and interests. Some of the most popular US commemorative coins include the following:

  • The Congress 200th Anniversary gold $1 coin, minted in 1989
  • The $5 gold Mt. Rushmore coin, minted in 1991
  • The 1987-issued Constitution Bicentennial gold $5 coin
  • The Statue of Liberty $5 gold coin, minted in 1986
  • The 2000 bimetallic $10 Library of Congress Coin; and
  • The Louis Braille 2009 silver $1 coin

Additionally, Olympic Games coins are extraordinarily popular among collectors. These coins have been issued multiple times, and fall into two separate categories. The United States has issued several sets of coins that commemorate the spirit of the Olympic Games. The 2008 Beijing Olympic coin program falls into this category, and includes multiple coin sets. Meanwhile, other Olympic Games coins honor the 100th anniversary of the International Olympics Committee.

The dual purpose of the US Commemorative Coin Program is to increase cultural awareness and raise money for projects of national interest. The exceptional quality and historical interest of these coins has made the program a resounding success, which benefits not only the government, but also collectors and American citizens everywhere.

This information is provided for general reference purposes and does not constitute professional advice. For detailed coin collecting or investing information, please consult with a professional expert.

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