By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235), commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was reintroduced to the United States House of Representatives by Richard Neal (D-MA1) on February 27, 2017. Mr. Neal had introduced a previous version of the act (H.R. 4592) during the 114th Congress on February 23, 2016.
At the time of writing, there is no corresponding Senate bill. As for last year’s bill (S.2598), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) served as the sponsor. She may likely repeat her sponsorship in the 115th Congress.
Founded in 1959, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is named for Canadian physical education teacher James Naismith, who invented basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts on December 21, 1891. The Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that honors and supports professional and amateur players, both male and female, from around the world.
Details of the coin program are as follows:
- No more than 50,000 gold coins (with a face value of $5) can be minted. Each 0.850-inch diameter gold coin must consist of 8.359 grams of 90% pure gold.
- No more than 400,000 silver dollar coins can be minted. Each 1.5-inch diameter silver coin must consist of 26.73 grams of at least 90% pure silver.
- A maximum of 750,000 clad half dollars can be minted. Each 1.205-inch diameter clad coin must weigh 11.34 grams.
The coins will come in Uncirculated and Proof versions, which will be minted only for the duration of the year starting January 1, 2019. All issues will be legal tender under section 5103 of title 31, United States Code, and considered numismatic items by law under sections 5134 and 5136.
But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the program is that all three coins will be dome shaped according to the current wording of the bill. This follows the extraordinary success of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin series.
Much like with the Baseball Hall of Fame curved coin, the Secretary of the Treasury will be holding a design competition to choose the common obverse for the commemorative program. All designs are to be “emblematic of the game of basketball”, and the general public is invited to compete.
The process of choosing the winner is yet to be determined by the Treasury Secretary. However, the Council of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) are usually involved in the selection of finalists and semi-finalists.
A prize of at least $5,000 will be awarded to the winning designer.
The reverse, common to all coins in the series, will feature a basketball. LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, the face value of the coin and the year 2019 will be inscribed on the finished coin regardless of design.
The following table lists the surcharges associated with each coin in the program:
All surcharges go to the Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will allow the organization to continue its work in the future.
Bulk and pre-orders for the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame commemorative coins will be permitted.
The widget below will update as the bill progresses through the House and Senate on its way to possible enactment.
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