Dinosaur design possible on National Park Service half dollar commemorative

CCAC reviews designs for three-coin 2016 commemorative coin program
Published : 06/19/15
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The U.S. may get its first dinosaur coin if Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew follows the June 16 advice of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

Expressing a desire to create a “kid coin” in next year’s three-coin set that will celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial, the panel enthusiastically endorsed the design showing a dinosaur skeleton for the reverse of the copper-nickel clad half dollar.

The coin’s obverse would feature a young boy with binoculars in hand looking for a far-away object. The design was originally submitted as a proposed obverse for the silver dollar.

CCAC members of the committee recommended both designs during the June 16 meeting in Washington that began with Mary Lannin, its new chair, expressing delight over the “plethora of designs” offered by Mint artists for the park coins.

Others on the panel, including former chair Gary Marks, voiced concerns that the panel’s instructions to the artists may have been too specific, producing numerous similar designs.

What seemed to bring the committee together at the end, however, was their hope that the so-called kid coin would help lure youngsters into coin collecting.

“I can get really excited about that one,” historian Herman Viola said.

“This is a happy coin,” Marks agreed.

The National Park Service coins will be issued in 2016. Congress has authorized the Mint to strike and issue up to 100,000 gold $5 coins, 500,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars.

For the $5 piece, which will be the most expensive coin in the set, the CCAC recommended jugate portraits of the two men said to be most responsible for the creation of the park system, President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir.

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