Bills were recently introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate which seek to authorize commemorative silver dollars to commemorate the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Certain sections of the bill are uncharacteristic or troublesome for coin legislation.
H.R. 3912 and S. 1819 titled International Civil Rights Center and Museum Commemorative Coin Act were introduced in the House by Bradley Miller and the Senate by Kay Hagan. The bill seeks up to 1,000 silver dollar coins to commemorate the opening of the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. The coins would have a weight of 26.73 grams, diameter of 1.5 inches, and composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. The coins would be issued in proof and uncirculated qualities only during the calendar year beginning on January 1, 2010.
Designs would be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the International Civil Rights Museum, the Commission of Fine Arts, and review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. A surcharge of $10 would be added to the cost of each coin to be distributed to the Museum for program development and research.
The troublesome aspects of the bill are the maximum quantity of coins, which is stated as only 1,000, and the date of issuance, which is stated as the calendar year beginning on January 1, 2010. Commemorative silver dollar coins are usually authorized with maximum mintages in the hundreds of thousands. This year’s Abraham Lincoln and Louis Braille commemorative silver dollars had maximum authorized mintages of 500,000 and 400,000 respectively. A quantity of 1,000 would be impractical for the United States Mint to produce and would literally sell out within minutes of offering.
The date of issuance is troublesome because under law only two commemorative coin program are allowed per year. For 2010, two programs have already been authorized for the Boy Scouts of America and American Veterans Disabled for Life. This leaves no room for another commemorative coin program.
In its current format, the bill unfortunately seems to have little chace of becoming law.