By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
On December 4, 2017, Junior Senator Edward “Ed” Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill (S. 2189) that authorizes the production of commemorative coins celebrating the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts by the Pilgrims in 1620. Elizabeth Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, is the bill’s cosponsor. Representative William Keating (D-MA9) introduced similar legislation in the House (H.R. 4539) the same day.
Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program
The Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury and the United States Mint to commemorate 400 years since the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock by striking $5 gold, $1 silver and half dollar clad coins. It also celebrates the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the settlement of Plymouth Colony itself, and the native Wampanoag that provided critical help to the colonists in those first hard and lean years.
As far as mintage limits go, a maximum of 100,000 $5 .9000 fine gold pieces, 500,000 $1 .9000 fine silver coins and 750,000 clad half dollars will be minted. Each $5 gold coin will weigh 8.359 grams and have a diameter of 0.85 inches. Each $1 coin will consist of 26.73 grams of silver and have a diameter of 1.5 inches. And each clad half dollar commemorative will weigh 11.34 grams and have a diameter of 1.205 inches.
Coins will be issued in both Proof and Uncirculated finishes.
According to the bill’s text, surcharges from the sale of the coins will “assist the financing of a suitable national observance in 2020 and 2021 of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing and historic events…”. Thirty percent of the proceeds will go to Plymouth 400, Inc. to distribute to local historical and tribal organizations as the corporation sees fit.
Another 30% will go to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants to support their library and other facilities.
Twenty percent will go to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to fund educational programs. The tribe is one of only two federally recognized Native American tribes in Massachusetts; the other is the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head, who will receive 5% of the surcharges.
Five percent each will also go to Plimoth Plantation Inc., Provincetown 400, and the Pilgrim Society
The surcharges follow the typical pattern of contemporary commemorative coin programs. They are, of course, added to the Mint’s final retail price of each coin, which itself is determined by factors such as the spot prices of precious metals and the recouping of costs relevant to the production of this series.
Surcharges for each coin in the series are below:
- $5 Gold Uncirculated: $35
- $1 Silver Uncirculated: $10
- Half Dollar Clad Uncirculated: $5
The Plymouth 400th Anniversary coins will feature designs “emblematic” of the Mayflower landing, the signing of the compact, the founding of the colony and the contributions of the Wampanoag tribes to its success and survival. The year “2020” will be incorporated into each design.
Per its legal mandate, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) will review potential designs for the program and deliver its recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury. The secretary will also consult with all of the groups and organizations mentioned above, as well the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, the Plymouth Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
The widgets below will update as the bill progresses through Congress:
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NGC-Certified Pilgrim 300th Anniversary Commemorative Half Dollars Currently Available on eBay