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New Commemorative Coin Proposals Celebrate 1st Infantry Centennial, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

Purple Heart Medal, 1st ID Unit Patch

By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
Two new commemorative coin bills have been introduced recently into the United States Congress:

Army 1st Infantry Division Centennial

The Duty First Act (H.R. 1582) was introduced by Representative Steve Russell (R-OK5) on March 16. The bill authorizes the Treasury Department (and, by extension, the Mint) to produce a three-coin commemorative program honoring the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division in 2017. If approved, a maximum of 20,000 90% pure $5 gold coins, 100,000 90% pure silver dollar coins and 200,000 clad half dollar coins would be issued beginning January of 2018.

Designs would be “emblematic of the 100 year anniversary of the 1st Infantry Division”. The Secretary of the Treasury would consult with the Society of the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Center of Military History as to the content of the designs, which would then be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). Unlike many recent commemorative coin acts, there would be no design contest for the 1st Infantry Division coin.

Typical surcharges of $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver coin and $5 per clad coin would be imposed, and (assuming the coin program covered its costs) would be paid out to the Society of the 1st Infantry Division for the renovation of the 1st infantry Division Memorial in Washington, DC.

The 1st Infantry Division is the oldest active division in the entire United States Army. It was first organized in 1917 during World War I and has seen service in every major American conflict since then. Nicknames include “The Big Red One” due to the red numeral one on its shoulder patch and the “Fighting First”.

National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

With much fanfare, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18) introduced a bill on March 22 to commemorate recipients of the Purple Heart Medal and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York (part of Maloney’s district).

The previous month, Maloney and other public figures announced the intended introduction of the bill at the Hall of Honor on February 22–the birthday of the man who inaugurated the Purple Heart in 1782, George Washington. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1683) authorizes the production of another three-coin set consisting of a gold $5 coin, a silver dollar coin and a clad half dollar coin. Mintages will be limited.

Surcharges will go to Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc. to help fund the work of the Hall of Honor to memorialize the sacrifice of our soldiers who have been wounded or killed in service to our country.

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Hubert Walker
Hubert Walker
Hubert Walker has served as the Assistant Editor of CoinWeek.com since 2015. Along with co-author Charles Morgan, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the monthly column "Market Whimsy" for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing.

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