U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder, the son of two veterans, unveiled before thousands of American Legion members Aug. 29 the designs of three commemorative coins that go on sale next March to honor the organization’s 100th anniversary.
“Every day across the nation, the Mint connects America through coins,” Ryder said. “And next year, it will be our great privilege to connect America to the legacy of the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization.”
Sales of a $5 gold piece, a silver dollar and a clad half-dollar honoring The American Legion’s legacy stand to raise up to $9.5 million for the organization’s programs and services, Ryder said.
The coin required congressional action. On Oct. 6, 2017, Congress passed Public Law 115-65 allowing the Mint to strike and issue 50,000 of the gold coins, 400,000 of the silver dollars and 750,000 of the half-dollars.
The gold pieces feature on the heads side the Eiffel Tower, a V for victory in World War I, the engraved word LIBERTY and the years 1919 – 2019 encircled by the outer ring of an American Legion emblem, recognizing the organization’s founding in Paris after the armistice that ended the Great War. On the tails side of the $5 coin, a soaring bald eagle is depicted, along with a sculpted American Legion emblem.
The silver dollar shows on the heads side the Legion emblem surrounded by oak leaves and a lily, commemorating the Legion’s founding in Paris. The reverse side has crossed U.S. and American Legion flags under a fleur-de-lis and the dates 1919 and 2019 and the inscription 100 YEARS OF SERVICE.
The half-dollar has on its heads side two children, one of whom is wearing her dad’s Legion cap, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverse continues the pledge with …OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with a billowing U.S. flag and Legion emblem above the inscription.
The coins are scheduled to go on sale around the time of the Legion’s birthday in March 2019. To be added to the mailing list for updates, visit www.legion.org/coin. For ordering information, prices and other information as it becomes available from the Mint, visit www.usmint.gov.
“Since the beginning of the commemorative coin program in 1992, the U.S. Mint has raised more than $506 million to help preserve or enhance museums, preserve historical sites and support important national programs,” Ryder said. “If we sell this program out, it should raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $9.5 million for the organization.”
Ryder said that over 36 percent of the U.S. Mint’s 1,700 employees are military veterans. “Since our institution’s founding in 1792, the men and women of the United States Mint have taken great pride in rendering the story of our nation in enduring examples of numismatic art,” he said. “To hold a coin or medal produced by the U.S. Mint is to connect to the founding principles of our nation and the making of our economy.”
The commemorative coins were designed through the Artist Infusion program and U.S. Mint sculptors and engravers, in consultation with The American Legion, the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.