In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday on May 26, Coin World is publishing a series of posts taking readers through coins related to major U.S. wars.
Previous Memorial Day posts:
- Celebrating the coins that celebrate the American Revolution and the birth of the United States
- Civil War coins honor battles, battlefields and men who led
The United States entered World War I in 1917 and participated until
its end in 1918. According to PBS, 116,516 U.S. soldiers died as
a result of battlefield injuries, disease or accidents; 204,002 were
wounded; and 4,500 were taken as prisoner or went missing.
Despite these high numbers — and despite there being U.S. commemorative coins honoring the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War — no U.S. coin recognizes U.S. service personnel who fought in World War I, according to the American Numismatic Association.
The ANA has publicly backed minting a World War I commemorative.
"I'm glad that the ANA has gotten behind this very worthwhile and noble cause. It's important that we honor our American veterans of the First World War," ANA numismatic educator Rod Gillis said in a July 2013 release. "Coins are commemorative documents that hold invaluable knowledge."
Gillis had several years earlier launched an effort to create such a commemorative coin. He found a political sponsor in U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.
The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act was first introduced to the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) as H.R. 4107, and is currently H.R. 2366 in the 113th Congress (2013 to 2014).
That latest version was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 13, 2013, and referred on the same day to the House Committee on Financial Services.
No action on the bill has occurred since, according to the Library of Congress.
If passed, the act would commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice agreement with Germany with a silver dollar coin in 2018 that would “honor the 4 million men and women from the United States who served during World War I,” according to the bill’s language.
The coins would have a design selected during a competition overseen by the Citizen Coinage Advisory Committee and the Committee of Fine Arts. The price for the Proof and Uncirculated versions of the coin would include a $10 surcharge that would go toward the World War I Centennial Commission.
"This Act is a great way for the ANA to show our appreciation and gratitude toward our veterans. It commemorates both the lives we lost during this gruesome war as well as those who bravely served," ANA President Walter A. Ostromecki Jr. said in the 2013 release. "We strongly encourage our members to take up action in contacting their congressmen and women.”