By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
Designs for the 2024 Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Program were revealed on Monday, December 4, at a Capitol Hill event led by U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH9). Congressman Kaptur introduced the bill (H.R. 1057) authorizing the commemoratives on February 15, 2021, and President Joe Biden signed it into law (Public Law 117-162 – PDF Link) on August 3, 2022.
The coins are currently scheduled to go on sale February 29, 2024.
The 2024 Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Program is a standard modern commemorative program. It includes a $5 gold, a $1 silver, and a half dollar clad coin in Proof and Uncirculated finishes, and like most recent programs, respective maximum mintage limits of 50,000, 400,000, and 750,000 are determined by the authorizing legislation. Designs for each coin are mandated to simply be “emblematic” of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as the soldiers and civilians who served and often gave their lives in the war. Representative Kaptur was also responsible for introducing the first legislation for such a memorial back in 1987.
Ground was broken for the National World War II Memorial between the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument on November 11, 2000; it opened to the public on April 29, 2004.
The term “Greatest Generation”, popularized by NBC television news anchor Tom Brokaw in his 1998 book of the same name, refers to the generation of Americans born between 1901 and 1927 who actively participated in the war.
Designs of the 2024 Greatest Generation Commemorative Coins
The obverse of the $5 gold coin was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist and former Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) member Heidi Wastweet and sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Eric David Custer. It depicts the Wall of Stars at the World War II Memorial, on which each star represents 100 Americans who gave their life for the war effort. The olive branch on the right side symbolizes the subsequent peace for which these sacrifices were made.
The reverse was designed by AIP artist Benjamin Sowards and sculpted by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna. It features a folded flag of the kind traditionally presented to the family members of fallen servicemen.
The obverse of the silver dollar was designed by AIP artist Beth Zaiken and sculpted by Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill. Six figures representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Army Air Force, and Merchant Marines lifting a globe centered on the Atlantic Ocean.
The reverse was designed by Ben Sowards and sculpted by Medallic Artist Renata Gordon. It recreates in miniature a sculptural canopy that can be found inside the Victory Pavilion of the National World War II Memorial. Four eagles hold a laurel wreath, inside of which is a globe showing the Pacific Ocean, representing the Pacific Theater of operations.
Clad Half Dollar
The obverse of the clad half dollar was designed by AIP artist Elana Hagler and sculpted by Medallic Artist Craig A. Campbell. It is based on the World War II Victory Medal designed by sculptor Thomas H. Jones, who also designed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. On the coin, Liberty (or perhaps “Liberation”, as on the medal) is seen from the knees up holding two halves of a broken sword, facing the hilt end on her right. Interestingly, the Memorial itself features a depiction of the complete face of the medal in an engraving on the Memorial’s floor.
The artwork on the reverse was designed by AIP artist Matt Swaim and sculpted by Medallic Artist John P. McGraw. It presents a view of the walkway to one of the Memorial’s two “towers”.
The surcharges added to the price of each coin is typical for contemporary commemorative coin legislation: $35 for the gold coin, $10 for the silver coin, and $5 for the clad half dollar. As authorized by Public Law 117-162, these surcharges will go to the Friends of the National WWII Memorial, the 501(c)(3) organization that produces educational materials, displays, and events centered around the Memorial.
Other 2024 Commemoratives
The Greatest Generation Commemmorative Coin Program is the second of two commemorative programs set for issue in 2024. The U.S. Mint recently held a first strike ceremony for the Proof version of the 2024 Harriet Tubman Bicentennial commemorative silver dollar not quite a week earlier on November 28. Sales for the Harriet Tubman commemoratives open on January 4, 2024.
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Sources on the 2024 Greatest Generation Coin Design Event
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