United States Mint hosts Ceremonial Strike of new 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission
PHILADELPHIA, PA — On November 28, the United States Mint hosted a ceremonial strike of the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar honoring the 100th anniversary of American participation in World War I.
The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar was authorized by statute in 2014 with bipartisan Congressional support. Three of the sponsors of the legislation, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Missouri), and U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) personally attended the strike event. A fourth sponsor of the coin legislation, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), was unable to attend.
An exceptional group of distinguished guests joined the elected officials for the event. They included:
- - Colonel Gerald York, (U.S. Army-Retired) the grandson of famous World War I hero, Sergeant Alvin York
- -Mr. Rod Gillis, Education Director at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Spring, CO
- -Chief Dennis O’Connor, United States Mint Police
- -Mr. Michael Flynn, Vice President of Interpretation and Visitor Experience, Independence Seaport/Cruiser Olympia Museum. The USS Olympia is a World War I-era warship, and famously brought the remains of World War I's Unknown Soldier back from France, to Washington DC, in 1921.
- -Leroy Transfield, designer of the new Commemorative Coin.
- - Terry Hamby, Chair of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, a Congressional Commission created to mark American service and sacrifice in the war.
- - Donald Everhart, recently retired United States Mint Lead Sculptor.
Senator Blunt was pleased by the significance of the landmark occasion. "Missouri is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which is why I’m especially proud to see that history remembered on the World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin. Our nation is forever indebted to the millions of Americans who served our nation in WWI. I hope this tribute will encourage future generations to recognize their sacrifices and gain a better understanding of how the ‘war to end all wars’ has had lasting implications for the world we live in today.”
Congressman Cleaver, co-author of the 2014 WWI American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, and longtime supporter of the World War I commemoration efforts, said “[t]his is truly a remarkable bi-partisan effort, the creation of the WWI Commemorative Coin. Not only will we have a coin to hold and cherish, but it will also allow the WWI Centennial Commission to continue educating and reminding people of the great sacrifices made during WWI.”
Congressman Lamborn, himself a coin collector, stated "[t]he centennial coin is a powerful tribute to WWI veterans. Their service and valor are also finally being recognized with a national monument in Washington. I’m thankful this effort was made possible through a strong partnership with the Colorado Springs-based American Numismatic Association. It has been a joy to see this coin through the legislative process and now into reality.”
Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby expressed great support for the coin's mission. "World War I was the war that changed the world. Millions of families across our country were impacted by this war, and we all continue to be touched by it every day. This coin is a tangible way for those families, and for all people, to be a part of this special centennial period".
The obverse design of the new coin is titled “Soldier’s Charge” and depicts an almost stone-like soldier gripping a rifle. Barbed wire twines are featured in the lower right hand side of the design.
The wire design element continues onto the reverse of the WWI Centennial Silver Dollar in a design titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire. Barbed wire was part of the trench warfare of World War I, and poppies are the symbolic flower of veteran remembrance, a tradition that began during the war.
The Secretary of the Treasury selected the winning coin design following an open design competition in 2016 judged by a six-member jury comprised of three members each from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, and chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury’s designee.
The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar will be produced in limited quantities, and will be available for purchase from the Mint beginning in January 2018.
Surcharges from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I. The Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission, whose mission is public outreach and education about American involvement in the war. The Centennial Commission receives no taxpayer funding.
The Foundation supports the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, and expects to use these funds for the creation of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. The Memorial, which was authorized by Congress in 2014, will be located at Pershing Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 14th Street NW, a block from the White House.
The United States Mint at Philadelphia is the nation’s oldest and largest mint. It provides a wide array of coins and manufacturing services. The Philadelphia Mint produces coin and medal dies, circulating coins, numismatic products (including annual uncirculated coin sets), commemorative coins as authorized by Congress, and special medals.
The Philadelphia Mint employs the team of sculptor-engravers who are entrusted with creating designs and sculptural models for the production of all the Nation’s coins and medals.
In support of this coin program, the Mint has created special companion medal honoring each of the military branches active during the War. These medals will be available as part of five different World War I Silver Dollar and Medal Sets. Information on these coin and medal sets can be found here: https://www.usmint.gov/news/pres s-releases/united-states-mint-announces-designs-for-world-war-i-centennial-silver-medals