Approved designs for the 2016 Mark Twain gold $5 half eagle and silver dollar were unveiled Nov. 28 during ceremonies at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo.
The venue is one of four beneficiaries designated by the enabling act to evenly divide net surcharges from sales of each of the commemorative coins.
The final designs were approved May 8 by Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin.
The obverse of the gold half eagle was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Benjamin Sowards and sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II. It features a portrait of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain.
The reverse, designed by U.S. Mint AIP Artist Ronald D. Sanders and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Joseph F. Menna, depicts a steamboat on the Mississippi River.
A portrait of Mark Twain holding a pipe, with its smoke forming a silhouette of Huckleberry Finn and Jim on a raft in the background, graces the adopted obverse design for the silver dollar created by AIP Artist Chris Costello and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Michael Gaudioso.
The approved reverse design by AIP Artist Patricia Lucas-Morris and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Renata Gordon features an assortment of characters leaping to life from Mark Twain’s best-known writings:
The knight and horse from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; the frog from The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County; and Jim and Huck from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The adopted obverse for the gold $5 coin was recommended by both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts.
The CCAC recommended the adopted half eagle reverse, while the CFA had recommended a proposed obverse design showing a steamboat from its bow side.