The coin used for the coin toss preceding the Oct. 27 Doughboy
Classic football game at Fort Benning in Georgia was one of a handful
of test strikes for the 2012-W Infantry silver dollar.
The test piece used for the coin toss, as well as any additional
test strikes, is ultimately to be destroyed and not retained for
historical purposes, according to U.S. Mint officials. The test
strikes were struck with a finish not approved for commemorative coins.
The 2012 Infantry silver dollar program is authorized under the
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Commemorative Coin Act, Public
Law 110-357, signed into law Oct. 8, 2008.
Proof and Uncirculated 2012 Infantry silver dollars are to be
issued sometime in February, according to U.S. Mint officials.
The second annual football classic pitted the Fort Benning
Doughboys against the Columbus State University Cougars. The Doughboys
football team is composed of Fort Benning soldiers, many from the 3rd
Heavy Brigade Combat Team. Fort Benning is home to the U.S. Army Infantry.
The 2012 prototype commemorative silver dollar was parachuted into
Doughboy Stadium along with the game ball by members of the U.S.
Army’s Silver Wings parachute team.
Before the coin toss at midfield to open the football game,
soldiers in Vietnam War-era uniforms delivered the coin from the
sidelines to Marv Levy, a World War II veteran and former NFL head
coach of the Buffalo Bills, who was selected for the coin toss.
After the coin toss, promotional fliers describing the coins were
distributed to those seated in the stands. Fans could also sign up at
a tent manned by the National Infantry Foundation to receive updates
on the coin’s production and availability.
Although struck at the Philadelphia Mint where test production is
executed, the test piece for the coin toss bears the W Mint mark of
the West Point Mint where Proof and Uncirculated production will be
struck, according to U.S. Mint spokesperson Jana Prewitt.
The test pieces were struck Oct. 19 at the Philadelphia Mint with
what was first described as a “bullion finish” using a master die, not
a working production die. What has traditionally been considered a
bullion finish is the result of dies that have received no special
treatment before striking and blanks or planchets also having no pre-
or post-strike treatment.
Normally, test strikes have no definitive finish. However, in the
case of the 2012 Infantry silver dollar test strikes, since the U.S.
Mint wanted to use a test strike for an event, the die was
wire-brushed to add luster and make it more suitable for test strikes,
according to Prewitt.
Because the test pieces were produced with a finish not authorized
for the coin program, the test pieces will not be retained by the U.S. Mint.
“We normally produce enough test strikes (off the master die) to
establish a pattern of consistency for metal fill,” Prewitt said.
“Therefore, several test strike coins were produced. The coins will be
melted after an amount of time that they are no longer needed for
testing or reference. This is a normal part of the process.”
The enabling commemorative coin act calls for the production and
issuance of up to 350,000 2011-W Infantry silver dollars. The purchase
price of each coin will include a $10 surcharge that will be paid to
the National Infantry Foundation to establish an endowment to support
the maintenance of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.
The 2012 Infantry dollar’s designs are emblematic of the “courage,
pride, sacrifice, sense of duty and history of the United States Infantry.”
The obverse design features a modern Infantry soldier on rocky
ground charging forward and beckoning the troops to follow,
symbolizing the “Follow Me” motto of the Infantry. The reverse depicts
the crossed rifles insignia, the branch insignia of the Infantry.
The adopted designs, approved by Treasury Secretary Timothy F.
Geithner, were supported by the veterans foundation, and recommended
by the Commission of Fine Arts following their May 19 review of
The introductory and regular issue prices for the 90 percent
silver dollars have not yet been established. ■