Tag Archives: us commemorative coins

Honoring American Veterans Through Coins

Happy Veteran’s day! One way we honor our American veterans is through coins. Whether they are circulating or commemorative, coins are a great way to help us remember veterans and their valiant service to our country. Here are some coins that relate directly to our veterans:

bicentennial quarterBicentennial Quarter

The bicentennial quarter was first produced in 1975 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the independence of the United States. This coin features George Washington on the front. The back of the coin depicts a Revolutionary War soldier playing the drums with a victory torch encircled by 13 stars. The inscription on the coin says: Liberty and In God We Trust – further celebrating American independence.

MAquarterMassachusetts Quarter

Similar to the above coin, the Massachusetts quarter also honors George Washington on the obverse side. However, this coin also features a design of “The Minuteman,” a famous statue that stands guard in front of The Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord, MA, on the reverse. The Minuteman played a crucial role in protecting our nation during the Revolutionary War. For this reason, the first quarter of the new millennium represents the farmers and colonists that represented the original American forces.

World War II Half DollarWWII_half_dollar

The World War II half dollar coin was created to commemorate the U.S. entry into World War II. This clad coin honors the men and women that fought and died for our freedoms. Bearing the dual dates 1991 and 1995, this half dollar honors the 50th anniversary of the war. The front side features a solider, sailor and airman looking up confidently as a B-17 flies overhead. A “V” for victory lies in the background. The back side depicts a Marine recapturing a Japanese-held Pacific island.

Vietnam_Veterans_MemorialVietnam Veterans Memorial Silver Dollar

The 1994 Vietnam Veterans Memorial silver dollar was specially designed to commemorate those who served in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War. This coin is compromised of 90 percent silver. The obverse side displays an outstretched hand brushing across a loved one’s name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The reverse side features the three medals awarded during the Vietnam War; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Prisoner of War Memorial Silver DollarPOW_coin

The Prisoner of War Memorial silver dollar was one of three commemorative coin programs including the Women in Military Service Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dollar (above). The obverse side depicts a bald eagle in flight with a broken chain on one leg and barbed wire encircling the design. The reverse side displays the plan view of the proposed Prisoner of War Museum, as rendered by Edgar Z. Steever.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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Introduction to Modern Commemorative Coins

1982GeorgeWashingtonCommemorativeHalfDollar1reverse

Commemorative coins have been around since the Ancient Greeks and Romans. In the beginning, these coins were used to record and honor historical events. Due to the absence of newspapers, coins were created and passed along as important news of the time.

However, it wasn’t until 1982 that the Unites States began minting modern commemorative coins. These special coins tend to commemorate memorable events, honored institutions and personnel of national or international importance.

The Washington Coin

In 1982, the U.S. Mint released commemorative half dollar coins to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The Washington coin was the first to be considered a “modern” commemorative coin for a couple reasons: First, the cause of the commemoration was truly of national significance. Second, its design by U.S. Mint engraver Elizabeth Jones featured a striking depiction of Washington on horseback. While the reverse, also designed by Jones, featured a view of Washington’s Mount Vernon home. These factors, in combination with the long break in commemorative coinage, made this particular coin popular among coin collectors.

Types of Commemorative Coins

Modern commemorative coins are unique in that they are produced in clad, silver or gold. These coins are also produced in collector proof and uncirculated qualities. Over the years, modern commemorative coins have been issued in five different sizes. The first coin issued was a 90 percent silver half dollar. The U.S. Mint later issued most 90 percent silver commemoratives as silver dollars. There have also been $10 and $5 gold coins stuck in 90 percent gold. Lastly, clad half dollars have been issued by the U.S. Mint with a composition of 92 percent copper and 8 percent nickel.

While modern commemorative coins are of legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation. For this reason, the U.S. Mint and most retailers sell commemorative coins to the public at prices higher than the face value of the coin. This price often includes a commission to the event, institution or person to which the coin is commemorated for.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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