For The United States Mint Coins and Medals Program, Congress authorizes Gold and Silver Commemorative Issues to celebrate and honor American people, places, events, and institutions. Although these coins are legal tender, they are not minted for the purpose of general circulation.

Most commemorative coins have some socially-popular historical significance behind them, creating interest among many people who would otherwise have little interest in coins. These special coins are usually issued either to commemorate events, as tribute to numismatic items or, possibly, to help pay for monuments or celebrations that commemorate historical persons, places, or things.  Although N NGC authenticated, graded and certified gold and silver commemoratives are issued in limited quantities, they may not all be that truly rare.  Shown below is what Monaco has selected to represent some good example for consideration.

Browse Gold and Silver Commemoratives

Commemoratives Then and Now

1893 The Columbian Half Dollar

1893 The Columbian Half Dollar

Commemorative coinage was first introduced by the U.S. Mint was at the 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition Exhibition with the Isabella Quarter, and the more numerous 1892 and 1893 Columbian Half Dollars.  These half-dollars sold for $1 in 1893 at the Chicago event.  Many different early commemorative coins were struck for various events through 1954.  Modern commemoratives began in 1982 with the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, with many different issues that continue to be produced today.  Also, many inspiring privately minted gold commemoratives are popular and command strong market appeal.

U.S. gold and silver commemorative issues are mostly collected either by major types or in sets with mintmark.  They are fun and interesting to own, and may appreciate beyond their face value.  Some very popular and well-known examples of rare U.S. Commemorative Coins are:

  • World’s Columbian Exposition Half Dollar 1892 – 1893
  • World’s Columbian Exposition Isabella Quarter 1892 – 1893
  • Lafayette Dollar 1900
  • Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1903
  • Lewis and Clack Exposition 1904 – 1905
  • Panama-Pacific Exposition 1915

Modern Commemoratives

Unique among U.S. Mint products, many modern Mint coins help raise money for important causes as well as commemorating important aspects of American history.  These products not only provide beautiful additions to any coin collection, they capture the American culture.  For example, the 1982 George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar marked the beginning of the modern commemorative coin era.  The coin was issued to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington.

Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, the U.S. Mint has raised more than $500 million to help build new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial, preserve historical sites like George Washington’s home, support various Olympic programs, and much more.  Also, there have been privately issued commemoratives that if certified by NGC or PCGS is solid gold bullion represent real value.

The Newest 2016 Commemorative

In 2016, the U.S. Mint will mark the centenary anniversary of three numismatic icons with the release of the Mercury Dime in April 2016, Standing Liberty Quarter, and Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial Gold Coins.  The grace and beauty of these favored designs make them some of the most beautiful motifs ever employed on circulating coins, and they have been favorites with numismatists and collectors ever since the time of issue.

Commemoratives

The 2016 Mercury Dime, Standing Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial Gold Coins