What are Commemorative Coins?

Commemorative coins have become very popular with some people who want different kinds of coins in their collections or for souvenirs. Many times they are used as gifts for special occasions.

There is a strong demand for these coins among people who are collectors as they may have significant meaning to them. Others will want them to remember an important day or occasion. The mint date and the event celebrated by the coin could be one factor people consider them collectible items.

Commemorative coins have been minted since the days of the early Greeks and the Romans. But no nation has surpassed the splendor and the beauty of the designs of American commemorative coins. From the first commemorative coins issued for the 1892-1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to the modern commemorative coins of today, the diversity of themes and designs is unmatched. Some of the most talented sculptors of their day have designed these coins.

Commemorative coins in the United States were issued to honor significant historical events and noteworthy people from American history. That fact alone gives commemorative coins an appeal well beyond those interested in numismatics. In the classic commemorative coin series (1892 to 1954) there are 50 different design types and 144 different date and mintmark combinations. Many collectors attempt to complete either or both of these sets.

There are countries that have produce commemorative coins and used these coins for propaganda. There were monarchs who issued coins to commemorate past or current events and/or celebrations that recognized their authority.

The half dollar was produced in 1892 to commemorate the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This was a celebration to mark the 400th anniversary of the expedition of Christopher Columbus and his discoveries in the world.

During the following year, the first quarter dollar commemorative was introduced to signify the Exposition as well, but it also gave honor to queen Isabella of Spain. She was the one who “back-pedaled” the political agendas on Women Rights.

The first commemorative coins that were made of silver were introduced in the 1900s. The coins were minted in honor of Lafayette and George Washington. In the following years, the half dollar coin was denominated, and the legal tender commemorative coins were created to mark celebrations rather than historical events. These coins are recognized today as classical sets of special coins of historical events between the years 1892 – 1954.

APMEX offers a superb selection of modern commemorative silver dollars.

It was in 1932 that the Washington quarter dollar was released as the United States’ second commemorative coin in its denomination. It was issued for the 200th birth anniversary of George Washington. The coin also continues its circulation as a commemorative coin because of its popularity.

It was uncharacteristic to circulate a commemorative coin of the 1892 – 1954 era in the United States because the government had not intentionally put them into circulation, (they were not legally approved by the government for public use) so collectors will not pay the premium costs of these coins that are still in the market.

In 1975, that the Bicentennial quarter was introduced. It became the second circulating commemorative coin in the country, while the silver dollars and half dollars (1776 – 1976) were reissued as a special collector’s edition.

Many collectors have different agendas when collecting these coins. Some prefer commemorative coins from 1892 – 1954 while most collectors choose the modern editions. They know that these coins have different values depending on the series and/or editions.

Although there have been different series released, a proposal was submitted to congress that would mark the Lincoln cent for his birth anniversary. No one knows whether or not the 1-cent denomination commemorative coin will be minted.

The confusing part of these commemoratives that are circulating is the pattern of the denomination. The 1776-1976 commemorative half-dollar and silver dollar may not be included in collections because of their scarcity. Most of the coins that are circulating are the quarter dollar coins. It should be an interesting development for the proposed circulation of the one cent commemorative coin.

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