The United States Mint released three commemorative coins in 2017 that honor Boys Town, a non-profit child welfare organization headquartered in Nebraska. While the mission of Boys Town today is to help provide care for at-risk youth of all genders, the iconic youth organization was founded in 1917 as a refuge for wayward boys. Boys Town was established by Father Edward Flanagan, who welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion, to stay at his Omaha boarding home. Before long, 100 boys were staying at the home, and Father Flanagan bought Overlook Farm just outside Omaha in 1921, where he relocated his facility to expand the mission.
The home became known as Boys Town Village, and the boys elected a mayor, a council, and commissioners. In 1936, Nebraska granted Boys Town official village status, catching the attention of Hollywood movie producers, who told the story of Father Flanagan’s mission in the 1938 Spencer Tracy film Boys Town. The now-famous priest was assigned by President Harry Truman to travel the world following World War II advising governments and private institutions on how to care for war orphans and other young children displaced by the war.
Years after Father Flanagan’s death in 1948, Boys Town continued prospering under the watchful eyes of Catholic priests who have carried on the mission. Today, Boys Town has expanded its supportive services to include services to boys and girls throughout the United States. The centennial of the beloved organization inspired members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation to propose a bill in Congress honoring the 100th anniversary of Boys Town. Congress authorized the production of three commemorative coins, including a copper-nickel clad half dollar, a silver dollar, and a $5 gold coin. The Boys Town half dollar was offered to the public on March 9, 2017 in uncirculated and Proof finishes.
The obverse features two brothers in period clothing holding hands as they walk toward Father Flanagan’s boys home, past a 1940s-era pylon with its “BOYS TOWN” signage. The tall pylon, with its base situated within a landscaped planter, separates the two segments of the dual dating feature, 1917-2017. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is inscribed below the dual date, with the word LIBERTY separated on the right side of the pylon from the rest of the phrase, which is situated to the left of the central edifice. The coin’s mintmark is situated in the lower right of the obverse field.
The phrase “Saving Children” runs across the bottom of the obverse, under the pylon and the foot of the older brother. On the left of the coin, under the older brother’s left foot, are the letters “CTC”, which represent the initials of U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Chris T. Costello. Toward the upper-right of the phrase “Saving Children” are the initials “RG” for United States Mint sculptor Renata Gordon.
The reverse of the Boys Town half dollar depicts a neighborhood of Boys Town homes. Rising triumphantly behind and above the homes is a diverse group of four young men and women who are wearing graduation regalia, symbolizing their successful completion of high school and the Boys Town program. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arches over the students along the reverse rim. The back corner of the mortarboard worn by the front-most individual obscures part of the “D” in “UNITED.” The phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM” arches in a second line of text under the reverse rim above the three graduates on the right.
Toward the bottom of the reverse is the phrase “Healing Families,” which is flanked on the left by designer Costello’s initials, CTC, and on the right by “PH,” the initials of United States Mint sculptor Phebe Hemphill. The denomination, “HALF DOLLAR” is inscribed along the bottom center of the reverse along the rim.
The edge of the 2017 Boys Town Centennial clad half dollar coin is reeded.
Designer(s): Chris Costello is an Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist and designer currently working with the U.S. Mint. Renata Gordon is part of the United States Mint’s sculpting-engraving department. She has produced several designs for the First Spouse and America the Beautiful Quarters programs (View Designer’s Profile). Designer Phebe Hemphill joined the U.S. Mint in 2006, and since that time has become one of the nation’s most prolific coin designers (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2017|
|Mint Mark:||Uncirculated: D (Denver); Proof: S (San Francisco)|
|Alloy:||91.67% Copper, 8.33% Nickel|
|OBV Designer||Chris Costello | Renata Gordon|
|REV Designer||Chris Costello | Phebe Hemphill|
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