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Congressman revived commems


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What was the motivation to resurrect our commemorative coin issues in 1982?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the so-called classic commemorative coin series when he vetoed three commemorative coin bills on Feb. 3, 1954. Lobbying for further commemoratives never stopped, although it wasn’t until Oct. 18, 1973, that President Gerald Ford signed a bill authorizing the Bicentennial coinage. This motivated those interested in yet more commemoratives. Representative Druie D. Barnard Jr., D-Georgia, a member of the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs, introduced the bill through which the first modern series commemorative (Washington half dollar) would be authorized on March 17, 1981.

I’m confused. What is the difference between the uncirculated and the specimen five-ounce silver America the Beautiful quarters?

The bullion or Uncirculated variety has no mintmark, while the Specimen coins have a “P” mintmark for Philadelphia. The “P” coins have a matte finish because they have been vapor blasted. The “P” or Specimen coins come in a plastic capsule housed in a box, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. The bullion coins are shipped from the Mint in tubes of 10 coins to its Authorized Purchaser bullion dealer network.

These coins are much larger than are most other U.S. coins. Is there a special process through which they are struck?

A special coining press capable of providing up to 1,000 metric tons of pressure per strike and capable of producing more than 1 million coins annually was imported from Germany and installed at the Philadelphia Mint in 2010 just to mint these coins.

I know how coin designs are chosen in the United States. How are designs chosen in Great Britain?

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins, Medals, Seals, and Decorations advises the government on coin designs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer officially approves proposed designs, which are then sent to the queen for final approval.

Billon composition coins contain silver? Why are they called billon rather than silver?

Billon coins are generally accepted to be coins containing less than 50 percent silver. Copper is popularly mixed with the silver. The term is more specific.

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More Collecting Resources

• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.