US Coins

Swish! Design competition for U.S. basketball coins

A public competition for designing the three-coin 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program was opened by the U.S. Mint March 19.

The 2020 coins will celebrate the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60th Anniversary.

NGC and PCGS slabsInside Coin World: Collectors who buy the holder, not the coin: The April monthly issue of “Coin World” features exclusive features and columns, including a look at collectors who advise others to “buy the holder, not the coin.”

To enter this competition, artists must submit an application via and upload three to five separate and distinct representative work samples.

Applications will be received through noon Eastern Time April 15. Artists will be notified in May if they have been selected to formally submit proposed designs. Design submissions will be accepted through June. The winner will be announced by the end of calendar year 2019.

Public Law 115-343, signed into law Dec. 21, 2018, by President Trump, calls for the production and release of up to 50,000 gold $5 gold eagles combined in Proof and Uncirculated finishes, 400,000 Proof and Uncirculated silver dollars and 750,000 Proof and Uncirculated copper-nickel clad half dollars.

The enabling legislation was introduced in the House on Feb. 27, 2017, by Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Massachusetts.

The gold $5 coin has a diameter of 0.85 inches (21.6 millimeters). The silver $1 coin has a diameter of 1.5 inches (38.1 millimeters). The clad half-dollar coin has a diameter of 1.205 inches (30.6 millimeters).

The enabling legislation mandates that the coins will bear a common obverse design and a common reverse design.

The obverse with be concave, similar to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Coins issued in 2014 and the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coins. The coins in both the 2014 and 2019 programs have a concave obverse and convex reverse.

The common reverse, according to Public Law 115-343, will depict a basketball. That reverse design is not subject to the design competition, only the obverse. The reverse will likely be designed by a member of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff or Artistic Infusion Program, with the approved design sculpted by a Mint sculptor-engraver.

Dedicated to the creator of the game, Dr. James Naismith, and located in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the game was first played on Dec. 21, 1891, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is recognized on a global scale as the institution that records and shares the history of basketball, including its greatest players, coaches and contributors

The design for the common obverse of these commemorative coins will be selected by the secretary of the Treasury based on the winning design from this public design competition.

The obverse design is required to be emblematic of the game of basketball. The winning artist will receive $5,000 and have his or her initials included on the coins. Further competition details and entry can be accessed here.

The public competition is being conducted in two phases. Phase One, which will be open from March 19 through noon April 15, 2019, calls for artists who are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents age 18 and older to submit a digital portfolio consisting of three to five examples of their existing work, but each with no information attached that would identify the artist. These applications will be reviewed by an expert panel. Up to 25 applicants will be selected to participate in Phase Two.

During Phase Two, artists will be paid a stipend of $1,000 to submit a two-dimensional digital design for the common obverse of the coin, which will be reviewed by Subject Matter Experts from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The final winner will be announced later this year.

Artist’s initials will appear on the final coins or medals, along with the initials of the United States Mint sculptor-engraver who sculpts the selected design. Artist information will also be included in historical documents, certificates of authenticity, and promotional materials.

The purchase price of each 2020 Basketball $5 coin will carry a $35 surcharge, a $10 surcharge will be included in the price of each dollar, and a $5 surcharge will be included in the price of each half dollar.

The legislation allows for bulk sales at a discount as well as the acceptance of prepaid orders before the official issue date.

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