A bill authorizing Medal of Honor Commemorative coins was signed into law on November 6, 2009 by President Obama. The commemorative coin program will include $5 gold and $1 silver coins to be issued in the year 2011. The Medal of Honor is America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force. Fewer than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces.
“The Medal of Honor Foundation is very grateful for the strong support of Congress and the President in the establishment of a Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin,” said Nick Kehoe, President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to help perpetuate the Medal of Honor’s rich legacy of courage, sacrifice and selflessness through this coin honoring the Medal’s 150th anniversary.”
H.R. 1209 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009 was introduced by Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania and Mark Kirk of Illinois on February 26, 2009. The bill passed the House on May 14, 2009 and passed the Senate on October 22, 2009. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by John Kerry of Massachusetts and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The $5 gold coins will have a weight of 8.359 grams, diameter of 0.85 inches, and a composition of 90% gold and 10% alloy. The $1 silver coins will have a weight of 26.73 grams, diameter of 1.5 inches, and composition of 90% silver and 10% copper.
According to the legislation, the design of the coins shall be emblematic of the traditions, legacy and heritage of the Medal of Honor, and the distinguished service of its recipients. The final designs will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the Board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Commission of Fine Arts, and review by the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee. The legislation includes the following description of the coin designs:
The design for the coins minted under this Act shall contain motifs that represent the 3 Medal of Honor designs (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and specifically honor the Medal of Honor recipients of both today and yesterday, such designs to be consistent with the traditions and heritage of the United States Armed Services, the mission and goals of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the mission and goals of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
The coins will be issued only during the one year period beginning on January 1, 2011 in proof and uncirculated qualities. The $5 gold coin is limited to a maximum of 100,000 coins and the $1 silver coin is limited to a maximum of 500,000 coins.
Surcharges of $35 per gold coin and $10 per silver coin will be added to the purchase price of each coin. These surcharges will be paid to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to help finance their educational, scholarship and outreach programs.