The 2017 Boys Town commemorative $5 gold coin is one of three special United States Mint issues that honor the 100th anniversary of the famous Nebraska-based organization that provides care for at-risk youth. The non-profit organization was founded in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan, who established Boys Town in Omaha as a home for wayward boys. By 1921, his mission had grown large enough to necessitate a move to a larger facility at Overlook Farm just outside Omaha, where Father Flanagan established a full-fledged village for the youth who stayed at Boys Town.
The state of Nebraska officially declared Boys Town as a village in 1936, and the news helped bring attention of Father Flanagan’s cause to Hollywood, which led to the production of the 1938 film entitled Boys Town, which stars Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. Father Flanagan, who was tapped by President Harry Truman to travel abroad and advise leaders on how to properly care for thousands of war orphans and young children displaced by World War II, passed away in 1948. However, his legacy carried on through the succession of other priests who took up Father Flanagan’s cause and expanded the size and scope of the Boys Town mission.
The organization, which now helps both boys and girls, reaches more than two million people each year.
U.S. representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE1) proposed a bill honoring the centennial of Boys Town. The bill was passed into law in July 2015 and provides for the production of 50,000 $5 gold coins, 350,000 silver dollars, and 300,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars. The coins, released to the public on March 9, 2017, were offered in uncirculated and proof finishes.
A bust depiction of Father Flanagan is seen at three-quarters angle on the obverse. Flanagan, seen during the first years after he established Boys Town, is seen wearing glasses and a cassock, a clerical garment traditionally worn by Catholic priests. Also seen around Father Flanagan’s neck is a Roman collar, another item that is traditionally worn by priests.
Above Father Flanagan’s head is the inscription “BOYS TOWN CENTENNIAL”, and to the left is his name, inscribed as “FR. EDWARD FLANAGAN” in two horizontal lines of text. Behind Father Flanagan’s head is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”, with each word appearing in its own narrow line of text. The inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “2017” appear in two lines under Father Flanagan’s head and are superimposed over the priest’s cassock. Artist Donna Weaver designed the obverse, and her initials “DW” appear upon Father Flanagan’s right shoulder over the “L” of “LIBERTY”. To the right of “LIBERTY” are the initials for sculptor-engraver Don Everhart, whose work is credited on the coin with the inscription “DE.”
An outstretched hand and the lower portion of its forearm are the central design feature on the reverse of the $5 gold coin. Inside the outstretched hand is an acorn that has germinated into a very small oak sapling, which appears to be growing. Above the young seedling is the phrase “THE WORK WILL CONTINUE” in three lines of text.
The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” rides along the rim on the upper half of the reverse. On the bottom left of the coin, to the left of the hand, the denomination of the coin is expressed as “FIVE DOLLARS”. Along the bottom right quarter of the reverse rim is the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. Weaver’s initials, “DW”, appear near the tip of the ring finger near the center-left of the reverse. Under the knuckle of the index finger in the lower center of the coin are the initials “JL” for sculptor-engraver Jim Licaretz. A “W” mintmark, signifying the West Point Mint, is seen under the wrist on the center-right of the reverse.
The edge of the 2017 Boys Town Centennial gold $5 coin is reeded.
Designer(s): Donna Weaver sculpted toys for Kenner and Hasbro before joining the Mint as a sculptor-engraver in 2000. She retired in 2006 but has continued to produce designs for coins and medals. Don Everhart joined the United States Mint sculpting and engraving department in 2004, after a long and successful career as a sculptor and designer of medals (View Designer’s Profile). Engraver Jim Licaretz is a former president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association and has seen a number of his designs appear on U.S. coins and medals (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2017|
|Mint Mark:||W (West Point)|
|Alloy:||90% Gold, 10% Copper|
|OBV Designer||Donna Weaver | Don Everhart|
|REV Designer||Donna Weaver | Jim Licaretz|
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