Legislation seeks two Muhammad Ali commemorative coins for 2020

Separate bill seeks congressional gold medal honoring the late boxer, philanthropist and humanitarian
By , Coin World
Published : 03/30/17
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Legislation introduced in the House and Senate would authorize gold $5 half eagles and silver dollars in 2020, while a separate bill seeks a congressional gold medal, all to honor the late heavyweight boxing champion, philanthropist and humanitarian Muhammad Ali.

H.R. 579, introduced Jan. 13 by Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration.

The PredictGov.com website gives the legislation a 3 percent chance of passage.

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The legislation calls for the U.S. Mint to produce and release up to 100,000 gold coins and 350,000 silver dollars. A $35 surcharge would be added to the purchase price of each gold coin and a $10 surcharge to the price of each silver dollar.

The legislation calls for the surcharges to be distributed, after the U.S. Mint recoups all of its production and associated costs, as follows:

➤ 80 percent to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville “to ensure growth and innovation in museum programming to research, promote, and educate on the legacy of Muhammad Ali.”

➤ 10 percent to the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville “to advance the work, study and practice of peacebuilding, social justice, and violence prevention through the development of innovative educational programs, training, service, and research.”

➤ 10 percent to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center (MAPC) and Movement Disorder Clinic “to continue serving as a resource for Parkinson’s disease patients and their families through the provision of diagnosis, treatments, research, and education.”

Similar legislation, S. 166, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, on Jan. 17.

Gold medal bill

Legislation was also introduced in the House seeking a congressional gold medal for Ali. H.R. 791 states, “The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a gold medal of appropriate design, to Muhammad Ali, in recognition of his contributions to the Nation.”

The designs are to bear “suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions to be determined by the Secretary [of the Treasury].”

If authorized, the gold medal would be given to his wife, Lonnie Ali.

As is typical with most legislation seeking a congressional gold medal, bronze duplicates could be produced and sold to the public by the United States Mint.

About Ali

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Ky., Ali changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 when he converted to Islam.

As Cassius Clay, Ali won the light heavyweight boxing gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, after which he turned professional and moved up to the heavyweight division.

Ali’s outspoken views against the Vietnam War and his refusal, because of religious convictions, to be inducted into the U.S. Army after being drafted in 1967 eventually resulted in his conviction for violating Selective Service laws.

Ali was sentenced to a five-year-prison term but remained free on bond while appealing his conviction. He was prevented from boxing professionally since he had been stripped of his boxing license and world championship title.

Ali’s conviction was subsequently overturned in 1971 by the U.S. Supreme Court, paving his return to the professional boxing ring.

Following his retirement from boxing in 1981, Ali devoted his time to philanthropy, which included supporting the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In 1996, Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Ali died June 3, 2016, at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. 


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Older Comments (3)
Ali certainly deserves a Congressional Gold Medal, but should not be honored on USA legal tender commemorative coins until Congress passes legislation providing official commemorative coins in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is a disgrace that the US Congress has not done so already (the King gold medal awarded to him & his widow is not enough & the Congressional Black Caucus should make a King commemorative coin program a reality. If we can honor the sport of baseball with such coins, then King certainly should have already been honored with coins honoring his vast legacy reaching around the world! )