The 2011 September 11 National Medal honors the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania that killed nearly 3,000 people. The one-ounce silver 9/11 medals were struck in 2011 and issued to help financially support the establishment and maintenance of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center in New York City. The medals were authorized by The National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-221). Under the law, the Secretary of the Treasury was permitted to strike and sell up to two million, one-ounce .999-fine silver 2011 September 11 National Medals.
The 9/11 National Medals went on sale June 20, 2011 at an introductory price of $56.95 USD, a figure in part reflecting the per-ounce silver bullion price of $35.88 on that same day. The introductory price was held until August 18, 2011, when the medal began selling for its regular price of $66.95. The 9/11 National Medal was struck in Proof at both the Philadelphia Mint and the West Point, New York facility. Therefore, one version of the 9/11 National Medal has a “P” mintmark and the other has a “W”.
The medals measure 1.598 inches in diameter, close in size to the American Silver Eagle. The notable physical difference between the medal and the Silver Eagle is that the former has a smooth edge and the latter boasts a reeded edge. The authorizing law under which the 9/11 National Medals were struck states that the medals could not be produced after December 31, 2012. As of that date, only 177,293 medals out of a potential two million were sold, with 109,365 from West Point and 67,928 bearing the “P” mintmark. These sales brought in a total of $1,772,930 in surcharges for the museum.
The obverse of the 9/11 National Medal was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. Some two dozen design candidates were chosen, but ultimately Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner chose an obverse featuring Lady Liberty raising the Lamp of Remembrance.
Behind Liberty and the memorial lamp are two vertical beams of light symbolizing the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, where most of the individuals were who died during the 9/11 attacks. Twin light beams have been used in various 9/11 memorials since the first weeks after the attacks and are now internationally recognizable as a tribute to 9/11 victims. Running along the upper obverse rim is the phrase ALWAYS REMEMBER. Below Liberty’s outstretched arms on the lower right side of the obverse is the 2001-2011 dual date signifying the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Weaver also designed the reverse of the coin, which depicts an eagle with outstretched wings flying on the leftmost side of the design. The eagle’s head is reverently turned downward, and it appears to be admiring the two inscriptions seen on the bottom center of the reverse: HONOR and HOPE. The eagle represents the strength of the survivors and their families as well as the nation.
Spilling across the top three-quarters of the reverse design is a waterfall pattern reminiscent of the one-acre memorial waterfalls built into what were the footprints of the former Twin Tower buildings of the World Trade Center. The waterfalls symbolize peace, serenity, and the continuity of life. Joseph Menna engraved Donna Weaver’s design.
Designer(s): Donna Weaver served as a sculptor-engraver at the Mint between 2000 and her retirement in 2006. 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). United States Mint Engraver Joseph Menna has more than three dozen coin and medal designs to his credit since joining the Mint in 2005 (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:
|P (Philadelphia) & W (West Point)
|.999 Fine Silver
|1.598 in. (40.6 mm)
|Donna Weaver | Phebe Hemphill
|Donna Weaver | Joseph Menna
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