The United States Mint has announced that the clad half dollar included in the upcoming National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program will be minted in the same convex/concave shape that will be used for the program’s $5 gold coin and silver dollar.
The commemorative coin program to mark the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York was authorized under Public Law 112-152. The law expressed the sense of the Congress that to the extent possible the $5 gold coins and silver dollars should be minted so that the reverse of the coin is convex to more closely resemble a baseball and the obverse design should be concave for a dramatic display of the design.
Dick Peterson, the Acting Director of the United States Mint, said, “We’re happy to not only meet, but also exceed, Congress’s expectations by minting the half-dollar clad coin in the same unique shape as the other National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins to accommodate the broadest range of our customers at the most affordable price. Our commitment to innovation in coin design and manufacturing goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to providing the best value and customer service possible.”
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) recently reviewed design candidates for the common reverse design for the three coins included in the program. By law, the reverse design shall depict a baseball similar to those used by Major League Baseball. The CCAC had supported the design candidate shown above, left. The CFA had supported the alternate design shown above, right. The final reverse design will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury, taking into account the recommendations of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, CFA, and CCAC.
The obverse design for the coins, which will be emblematic of the game of baseball, is being selected through a public competition. The competition opened on April 11 and will close on May 11. See this page for additional details.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins would be issued during the 2014 calendar year. These will represent the first coins issued by the United States Mint with a convex/concave shape. Other world mints have previously issued coins with this shape. The Monnaie de Paris has issued the 2009 International Year of Astronomy Coin, which the law specifically mentioned as an example. The Royal Australian Mint more recently issued the 2012 Southern Sky Crux Coin (shown above in profile), which was referred to as dome shaped.
Although the US Mint has already confirmed their ability to produce a convex/concave shaped coins, there are some technical issues to be worked out with the law. Public Law 112-152 specifically indicates a diameter of 0.85 inches for the gold coin, 1.500 inches for the silver coin, and 1.205 inches for the half dollar. These are the sizes of the planchets that will be used to produce the coins, however after striking in the convex/concave shape, the actual diameters become slightly smaller.
A bill H.R. 1071 has already been introduced which would make the appropriate adjustment to the existing law to account for this difference. At this time, the bill only addresses the diameter of the gold coin and silver dollar, not the half dollar.