Annunzio critical of Olympic coin designs – From the Memory Bank

Annunzio critical of Olympic coin designs: Pans Los Angeles Olympic commemorative coinage. This article From the Memory Bank series was first published in the July 27, 2015 issue of Coin World, available here.
Concept Design Sketches - Cash In Your Coins

Treasury officials released concept design sketches for the 1983 silver dollar, the 1984 silver dollar and the 1984 $10 gold eagle on Oct. 14, 1982, just 52 days after the authorizing legislation was signed into law.

On July 22, 1982, when President Reagan signed legislation authorizing commemorative coins honoring the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, House Banking Consumer Affairs and Coinage Subcommittee Chairman Frank D. Annunzio was hailed as a hero in the numismatic community.

He had outwitted and out-legislated foes in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who had backed proposals for 29, then 25, and then 17 different Olympic coin designs to be marketed by the private sector.

He had persuaded a majority in the House to vote for his compromise, which authorized two silver dollars and one gold $10 coin with the U.S. Treasury in control of marketing, and the Senate had agreed to his compromise.

Annunzio barely had time for a victory lap before controversy over designs for the three coins dominated the news. During an Oct. 14 news conference, U.S. Treasurer Angela “Bay” Buchanan and Mint Director Donna Pope, flanked by Olympic officials, unveiled designs for the three coins.

While sculptor Robert Graham’s Olympic Gateway coin design featuring his headless nude male and female athletic torsos for the 1984 silver dollar received the most criticism, designs produced by Mint artists also came under fire.

Many felt Chief Sculptor-Engraver Elizabeth Jones’ Discus Thrower design for the 1983 silver dollar and Mint graphic artist James M. Peed’s sketch of male and female Olympic torch bearers for the 1984 gold $10 coin also needed modifications.

Annunzio was outspoken in his criticism of the gold $10 coin design. He characterized the torchbearers as “Dick and Jane.” The Commission of Fine Arts questioned their distinctly Caucasian features, noting that most of the U.S. athletes in the track and field events were African Americans.

Treasury Department officials pointed out that they needed to give buyers some idea of what the coins would look like before sending out order blanks and beginning pre-sales. They also noted that the coin designs already had the official nod from Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan. But Annunzio worried that the public’s reaction to the designs could be a harbinger of low sales.

The powerful subcommittee chairman declared that if it took returning to the floor of the House of Representatives to get better designs, he would.

Here are some more reminisces and inside stories.

Olympic coin sparks some controversy: From the Memory Bank

U.S. Mint medal series honors past presidents

Ex chief engraver recalls President Reagan’s medal

Olympic coin sparks some controversy

Critics assail headless nude models on statue, coin. This article From the Memory Bank series was first published in the June 22, 2015 issue of Coin World, available here.

The United States experienced a deep recession between 1980 and 1982.

1984 Olympic Coins - Cash In Your Coins

Robert Graham’s “Olympic Gateway” sculpture featuring headless nude male and females figures sparked criticism when selected as the dominant design element of the 1984 Olympic silver dollar. Graham also designed the Eagle reverse.

Rather than build new athletic venues, the United States Olympic Committee and the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee opted to rely mostly on existing venues and to seek corporate funding and surcharges from sales of commemorative coins to finance hosting the Games of the XXIII Olympiad.

The opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics were to be held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which had been built for the 1932 Games.

Continue reading

U.S. Coin Basics: Native American Dollar Coin

Native American Dollar Coin - Cash In Your Coins

The 2015 Native American dollar coin features Sacagawea on the obverse and a Mohawk ironworker reaching for an I-beam at a high elevation with a view of the New York City skyline in the background on the reverse. (Images courtesy U.S. Mint)

Few Americans ever encountered a Sacagawea dollar coin in circulation. But Native Americans took pride in the fact that Sacagawea, the young Shoshone who was a guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Northwest from 1803 to 1806, was selected to grace the obverse of the circulating dollar coin introduced in 2000.

Dismayed at the Sacagawea dollar’s lack of circulation and disturbed that it would be reduced to storage in Treasury vaults if the Presidential dollars succeeded in capturing the public’s attention, the Native American lobby found a powerful ally in North Dakota Sen. Byron L. Dorgan. Continue reading

U.S. Mint Presidential Medal Series

U.S. Mint medal series honors past presidents

Program has 18th century origins but continues through George W. Bush. This article From the Memory Bank series was first published in the May 25, 2015 issue of Coin World, available here.
Medals of the Presidents - Cash In Your Coins

The U.S. Mint’s series of Presidential medals was sold in albums in the past, but now few medals remain available, and so far none honors President Obama.

The U.S. Mint Presidential Medal Series is among the United States Mint’s most historically important and sustained medals programs.

The series originated in 1792 and played an important role in the nation’s expansion westward. The British, French, and Spanish had long courted favor with American Indian leaders by giving gifts, especially medals. Leaders in the new U.S. government, especially Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, thought it symbolically important to continue presenting medals as a means of maintaining peaceful relations with Indian tribes. Continue reading

Four 700 year old Islamic silver coins – Ask Beth

Another one of our blog readers submitted a question about some Islamic ancient silver coins, which is included below:

Islamic Coin sample from reader - Cash In your CoinsHello I am from India and I have 700 years old four Islamic ancient
silver coins. I would like to sell these its Weight: 11.05 gm.,
Diameter: 27 mm., Die axis: 9 o’clock Legend / Legend, naming the king
as sikandar al-shani (the second Alexander) , 10.5 gm., Diameter: 21
mm., Die axis: 9 o’clock Legend / Legend, naming the king as sikandar
al-thani (the second Alexander) , 6.5 gm., Diameter: 14 mm., Die axis:
9 o’clock Legend / Legend, naming the king as sikandar al-thani (the
second Alexander). I have these types of rare sequence coins. please
reply soon i am waiting.

Dilip Sharma

My reply to Dilip Sharma: Continue reading

1796 – 1804 One Dollar Silver Coins – Ask Beth

A website visitor and blog reader contacted me with the following question:

Dear All, 
Have a nice day,……Say hello from Jakarta-Indonesia 
Please need advice that I have collection a numbers of 1796 – 1804 One Dollar Silver Coins and I have contact a such institution regarding old coins, and send them a picture of my collection. They told me that coins was forgery and don’t have commercial value. 
Please need advice 
Thanks and Best Regards 

Here is my response: Continue reading