On Saturday, November 28, the U.S. Mint unveiled its design selections for the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins during a ceremony at the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. A Mint press release points out that the unveiling took place two days before the 180th anniversary of the author’s birth on Monday, November 30.
Pricing and release dates for the coins will be released sometime next year.
The obverse and reverse of the $5 gold coin are pictured above. The obverse 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.
The reverse was designed by Ronald D. Sanders and sculpted by Joseph Menna. A Mississippi River Steamboat is pictured, with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLUIRBUS UNUM, and the coin’s $5 denomination.
The obverse of the silver dollar was designed by Chris Costello and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso. It bears a portrait of Mark Twain smoking a pipe; the smoke rises to form a silhouette of Huck Finn and Jim rafting the Mississippi River, as depicted in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Inscribed along the left side of the design are LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and 2016.
The reverse of the coin was designed by Patricia-Lucas Morris and sculpted by Renata Gordon. It includes images of characters from a variety of Twain’s works, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Inscribed along the rim are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM, with the coin’s $1 denomination located in the field nearby.
The press release details the allocation of funds derived from surcharges on these issues:
“Surcharges collected from coin sales–$35 for each gold coin and $10 for each silver coin–are authorized to be distributed as follows:
- One-quarter to the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Conn., to support the continued restoration of the Mark Twain house and grounds and ensure continuing growth and innovation in museum programming to research, promote, and educate the public on the legacy of Mark Twain
- One-quarter to the University of California, Berkeley, for the benefit of the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library to support programs to study and promote the legacy of Mark Twain
- One-quarter to Elmira College in New York for research and education purposes
- One-quarter to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo., to preserve historical sites related to Mark Twain and help support programs to study and promote his legacy.”
The legislation that approved these issues allows for the production of up to 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 silver dollars. For more information on the U.S. Mint’s commemorative coins program, please visit its Web site.