Legislation proposing dome-shaped gold $5 half eagles, silver dollars and copper-nickel clad half dollars honoring the 60th Anniversary of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019 has been introduced in Congress.
The legislation, H.R. 4592, was introduced on Feb. 23 in the House of Representatives by Richard Neal, D-Mass.
It calls for an open competition to determine the design of the obverse, which will be common to all three denominations, with designs being emblematic of the game of basketball. It suggests that the Treasury secretary encourage three-dimensional models to be submitted as part of the design proposals. The legislation adds that the design competition may include proposals from artists, engravers and other employees of the United States Mint, other government employees, and members of the general public. The bill provides that the Treasury secretary will determine compensation for the winning design of not less than $5,000 and that he may take into account this compensation when determining the coins’ sale price.
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The reverse also calls for a common reverse design of a basketball, but does not provide for an open competition for this.
The legislation takes a cue from the successful 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program where the gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar had a common obverse and reverse design and concave/convex surfaces, and had a public design competition.
An ideal symbol
In a Feb. 24 statement on his Facebook page, Rep. Neal wrote, “These unique dome-shaped coins that would come at no expense to the taxpayer is the ideal symbol for the first and only museum that honors the sport on all levels around the world. What began as a simple game in a gym has transformed into a worldwide sensation that attracts millions of spectators every day.” He represents the First District of Massachusetts, which includes Springfield, site of the museum.
Surcharges of $35 per gold $5 half eagle, $10 for each silver dollar and $5 for each copper-nickel clad half dollar are to be directed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will enable the further operations of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
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The legislation calls for not more than 50,000 half eagles, not more than 400,000 dollars and as many as 750,000 half dollars.
The findings section of the legislation notes that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in 1959 and dedicated to the game’s creator Dr. James Naismith in Springfield. Naismith was a physical education instructor in Springfield and introduced a game called “basket ball” to his physical education class in Springfield on Dec. 21, 1891. Springfield is now considered “The Birthplace of Basketball.”