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Mark Twain coin proposed for 2013

Identical bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to require the Mint to produce a commemorative silver dollar and a $5 gold piece in 2013 honoring a pseudonym, Mark Twain, one of America’s most beloved authors.

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author who created the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, who appear in his books mandated for reading for generations of American high school and college students, had a variety of careers including riverboat captain, newspaperman, humorist and book publisher.  He published the highly successful memoirs of the dying Ulysses S. Grant.

Senate Banking committee chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., whose committee handles all coinage legislation backs S. 483 in the Senate.  His may be the final word near session’s end when many coin bills are finally pushed into law. 

The House version, H.R. 1195, is Connecticut’s Rep. John B. Larson.

Clemens was a longtime resident of Connecticut.

 Up to 300,000 gold coins and 500,000 silver dollars are called for. Proceeds benefit four different properties from a variety of locations that were important to Clemen’s life.

Some 40 percent of the surcharges would go “to the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Conn., to support the continued restoration of the Mark Twain house and grounds, and to ensure continuing growth and innovation in museum programming to research, promote, and educate on the legacy of Mark Twain.”

Then 20 percent each to “the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, Calif., the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, N.Y. and … to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Mo., to preserve historical sites related to Mark Twain and to help support programs to study and promote Mark Twain’s legacy.”

Under House and Senate rules, two- thirds of each body must approve co-sponsorship before a hearing can be held; but with Dodd as committee chair, that is probably going to be inapplicable.

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