US Coins

U.S. Mint issuing gold and silver for Mayflower 400th

To recognize the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the landing by Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and the settlement of Plymouth Colony, the U.S. Mint plans to issue a gold $10 coin and silver medal, under special congressional authority granted to the Treasury secretary.

The U.S. Mint has released few details about the initiative, including whether the gold coin and silver medal will be limited editions with set mintages, or offered separately or as part of a set.


State Historical Museum of IowaInside Coin World: How museums can use numismatic items to enhance exhibits: Features and columns exclusive to the April 29 issue of “Coin World” discuss the gold $3 coin, bronze 2-cent coin and museum exhibits featuring coins and medals.


The Citizens Coin Advisory Committee was scheduled to review proposed designs for the gold coin and silver medal among other agenda items during a two-day meeting April 16 and 17.

Mint officials have not disclosed whose idea it was to pursue the initiative.

Based on an April 9 response from U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White, the $10 coin will be composed of .9167 fine gold, the same fineness as American Eagle gold coins. Diameter and weight are yet to be disclosed.

Although the coin is celebrating an anniversary of a significant historical event, Mint officials are not categorizing the coin as a “commemorative.”

“This is not a commemorative coin program, and has nothing to do with any proposed legislation,” White said of the special authority granted under provisions of the United States Code. 

He added, “The Mint is producing this special gold coin in accordance with the authority at 31 U.S.C. §5112(i)(4)(C) whereby ‘The Secretary may continue to mint and issue coins in accordance with the specifications [for 22-karat American Eagle Gold Coins] at the same time the Secretary in [sic] minting and issuing other bullion gold coins under this subsection in accordance with such program procedures and coin specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.’?”

Authority for the issuance of the silver medal is “pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §5111(a)(2), ‘The Secretary of the Treasury may prepare national medal dies and strike national and other medals if it does not interfere with regular minting operations but may not prepare private medal dies.’?”

The Mint has not yet disclosed the diameter and fineness of precious metal for the proposed silver medal nor planned finish. However, earlier medals issued by the Mint may provide clues.

For the 2018 World War I 100th Anniversary silver medals, the diameter was 38.1 millimeters, and the composition was 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, with a Proof finish.

The U.S. Mint’s Presidential silver medal program are struck on the same .999 fine silver planchets used to strike American Eagle 1-ounce coins. Their diameter is 40.6 millimeters, or 1.598 inches. The Presidential medals have a Matte Finish.

Although the planned 2020 gold coin is not part of a congressionally authorized program, legislation was introduced in a past Congress seeking such a program.

Companion legislation was introduced in 2017 by Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. William R. Keating, D-Mass., seeking a three-coin commemorative coin program to recognize the 400th anniversary.

The legislation, which sought the traditional gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar, did not gain sufficient traction for passage.

The tercentennial of the Mayflower voyage was honored on traditional commemorative coinage a century ago. To recognize the 300th anniversary, the U.S. Mint produced Pilgrim Tercentenary silver half dollars dated 1920 and 1921 featuring artist Cyrus E. Dallin’s portrait of Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford on the obverse and a rendering of the Mayflower at sea.

Those coins were legislated under Public Law 66-203

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