In 1993, the United States Mint introduced a new style of product offering that would be used on several occasions over the coming years. This was the Commemorative Coin and Stamp Set, which included a recently issued commemorative coin together with an official stamp from the United States Postal Service.
The special collector set was issued for the Bill of Rights Commemorative Coin Program authorized under Public Law 102-281. The program included $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and silver half dollars available in proof and uncirculated versions. The obverse design of each coin featured James Madison, known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” Surcharges raised from the sale of coins went to support the programs of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.
The pre-ordering period for the commemorative coins opened in February 1993 with pre-issue prices available until March 5, 1993. The US Mint initially offered individual options for each coin, along with proof or uncirculated two-coin and three-coin sets, as well as a comprehensive six coin set. Three different collector products were also available, comprising the 1993 Prestige Proof Set, the Young Collector’s Set, and a Coin and Medal Set.
It would not be until later in the summer when the Commemorative Coin and Stamp Set was announced to collectors. The offering followed the sell out of the Young Collector’s Set, and promotional materials for the new set cautioned that another quick sell out was possible. It was also indicated that this would be the first time in US Mint history that a commemorative coin and stamp had been offered together as a set.
Orders were accepted for the new product before it was even ready to be photographed. An artist’s rendering of the set was provided along with the order form offering the sets at $14.50 each.
The 1993 Bill of Rights Commemorative Coin and Stamp Set included the proof version of the 1993 Bill of Rights Half Dollar. The obverse design of the coin featured an image of James Madison writing the Bill of Rights, while the reverse featured a hand holding a lit torch with inscriptions “The Bill of Rights” and “Our Basic Freedoms”. This coin was struck in a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper with a diameter of 1.205 inches. This represented one of only two modern commemorative half dollars which were struck in 90% silver.
The USPS stamp included in the set was from the Constitution Bicentennial Series and was first issued four years earlier in 1989 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. The stamp carried a value of 25 cents, and the design featured an eagle clasping a quill pen in its beak.
Both the stamp and coin were placed within a folder containing a small sized image of the Bill of Rights and descriptions of the coin and stamp. The back of the folder included a certificate of authenticity signed by David J. Ryder, Director of the United States Mint at the time of issue, along with the coin and stamp specifications.
The United States Mint would later use the coin and stamp set format for the 1996 National Community Service, 1998 Black Revolutionary War Patriots, and 2005 Marine Corps Commemorative Coin Programs. Certain other US Mint numismatic products would also incorporate USPS stamps, including certain Coinage and Currency Sets, Coin and Chronicles Sets, and the popular First Day Coin Covers introduced for the 50 State Quarters Program.