2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins approved

Act authorizes three coins, two with special attributes
Published : 08/15/12
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Commemorative coins honoring the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., will be issued in 2014.

President Barack Obama signed legislation into law on Aug. 3 authorizing the United States Mint to strike Proof and Uncirculated versions of three coins for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

The law permits the production of a maximum of 50,000 gold $5 half eagles, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars.

The price of each coin will carry a surcharge, at $35 per $5 coin, $10 for the dollar and $5 for the half dollar.

The surcharges will be used to support the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s educational outreach programs, including “the ongoing efforts to reach America’s youth with meaningful lessons, such as the BASE (‘Be A Superior Example’) program, which promotes healthy living and choosing to live and play free of performance-enhancing substances,” according to a news release from the Hall of Fame.

Design direction

The 2014 gold $5 half eagle and silver dollar are to be struck using a technique that would produce coins resembling a baseball with a concave obverse and a convex reverse.

Included in the law is a provision called the “sense of Congress” directing the Mint to use a special design technique “to the extent possible without significantly adding to the purchase price of the coins.”

“It is the sense of Congress that coins minted under this Act should be produced in a fashion similar to the 2009 International Year of Astronomy coins issued by the Monnaie de Paris, the French Mint, so that the reverse of the coin is convex to more closely resemble a baseball and the obverse concave, providing a more-dramatic display of the obverse design. …”

The law also requires the common obverse design for all three denominations to be emblematic of the game and to be selected through a competition. The winner of the competition would be compensated with at least $5,000, with the amount to be determined by the Treasury secretary.

The reverse of the coins is to depict a baseball similar to those used by Major League Baseball.

The designs will be selected by the Treasury secretary after consultation with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Commission of Fine Arts; and review by the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee.

The law allows the Treasury secretary to accept design proposals from artists, engravers of the United States Mint and members of the public.

Hall of Fame anniversary

The authorizing act, H.R. 2527, was introduced July 14, 2011, by Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-N.Y. The Baseball Hall of Fame resides in Cooperstown, N.Y., a location within Hanna’s 24th District of New York. Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

The year 2014 will mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on June 12, 1939.

Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner comprised the inaugural class of inductees. Since 1939, just one percent of all Major League Baseball players have earned induction into the Hall of Fame.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum houses the world’s largest collection of baseball artifacts, including more than 38,000 three-dimensional artifacts, 3,000,000 documents, 500,000 photographs and 12,000 hours of recorded media.

Since its opening in 1939, more than 14 million baseball fans have visited. ■

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