Congress considers Mother's Day commem coin legislation

Published : 05/20/11
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Legislation calling for commemorative silver dollars to honor in 2014 the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Mother’s Day is once again making its way through Congress.

H.R. 1736 was introduced May 5 by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., along with co-sponsors Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

The legislation would authorize the issuance of not more than 400,000 silver dollars with designs emblematic of the 100th anniversary of President Wilson’s proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Each coin would bear a designation of value, the year 2014, along with the standard coinage inscriptions liberty, in god we trust, united states of america and e pluribus unum. The designs will be selected by the Treasury secretary after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts, and their review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

The silver dollars that would be issued under the legislation would be of the standard specifications: weight of 26.73 grams, diameter of 1.5 inches and composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

If the legislation is approved by Congress and signed into law by the president, production of both Uncirculated and Proof coins could begin Jan. 1, 2014. The legislation would also authorize the Treasury secretary to “initiate sales of such coins before such date.”

The price of the coins for prepaid orders would include a “reasonable discount,” according to the legislation. No coins could be struck after Dec. 31, 2014.

The price of each coin would include a $10 surcharge with the total surcharges split between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and the National Osteoporosis Foundation, for the purposes of furthering research by both organizations.

Also introduced May 5 is a companion bill in the Senate, S. 889, introduced by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., along with four co-sponsors: Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.; Thad Cochran R-Miss.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, R-R.I.

The Senate legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Similar legislation passed the House in 2008 but died in the Senate at the end of the 110th Congress.

In 2010 House approved similar legislation but a companion bill in the Senate was never approved.

In May 1908, Anna Jarvis of Grafton, W.Va., honored her recently departed mother’s life by passing out white carnations.

Just two years later in 1910, the state of West Virginia recognized Grafton’s efforts and established an official Mother’s Day. The first state to do so, West Virginia set a precedent that many states soon followed. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother’s Day. ■

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