The U.S. Mint has released the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Proof and Uncirculated Coins today, January 14. Struck at the West Point Mint, the coins measure .850 of an inch in diameter, weigh 8.359 grams, and are composed of 90% gold and 10% alloy. They are currently priced at $364 for the Proof issue and $359 for the Uncirculated piece, though pricing is subject to adjustment in keeping with the market price of gold.
There are no household order limits in place for these issues, but a mintage limit of 100,000 coins has been instated to cover both gold product options per Public Law 112-201. A certificate of authenticity is included in the packaging.
The obverse of the $5 gold coin was designed by Benjamin Sowards, sculpted by Don Everhart, and includes a portrait of Twain with the inscriptions, IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, and 2016 curving around the image. The West Point Mint’s “W” mint mark is also included in the field.
The reverse, designed by Ronald D. Sanders and sculpted by Joseph Menna, includes an image of a Mississippi River Steamboat, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and the coin’s $5 denomination inscribed along the rim.
The prices of these coins include a $35 surcharge allocated for the benefit of four entities associated with the author’s legacy: the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, the University of California in Berkeley, Elmira College in New York, and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.
Mark Twain is one of the most influential writers in American history. His two most famous novels,The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have never gone out of print since being released over a century ago, and more than 6,500 editions of his books have appeared in 75 languages.
As reported on Mint News Blog, the Mint currently employs up to four varieties of laser frosting, which can be applied to designs on dies before coins are struck. The following color-coded images illustrate how the finishes are applied on the new commemoratives. The following descriptions were provided by the Mint to explain the differences between them, with yellow areas indicating a Proof finish.
- Orange: “Standard” frosting is where the U.S. Mint started with its laser frosting parameters initially. This closely matched sand blasting.
- Blue: “Heavy” frosting was developed to get the heaviest possible laser frosting for differentiation of certain details on a design.
- Green: “Light” frosting was later developed as part of our multi-tone frosting process to yield lighter highlights on the more subtle elements of a design.
- Purple: On certain designs where frosting longevity is desired (die life), we developed and implemented “light-plus.” This gives a lighter frosting to specific design elements and helps to add visual interest to a coin.
- Yellow: Mirror-like Proof surface.
The silver Twain commemorative coins were expected to go on sale today as well, but have been postponed due to a mistake on the certificates of authenticity. Those issues are currently listed as “To Be Determined” on the Mint’s product schedule.
For more information on the Mark Twain Commemorative Coins Program, please visit the Web site of the U.S. Mint.