President John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday was in May this year, but
legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that seeks
a 2020 commemorative silver dollar honoring the president slain in
Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Kennedy has been featured on the half dollar since 1964 and on a
Presidential dollar issued in 2015 — and hundreds of medals and world
coins — but he may now make an appearance on a U.S. commemorative coin
if the President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act becomes law.
Two measures, H.R. 3274 in the House of Representatives and S. 1568
in the Senate, seek a 2020 silver dollar celebrating the centennial of
Kennedy’s birth on May 29, 1917.
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In a “Dear Colleague” letter dated July 18, Rep. Kevin McCarthy,
R-Calif., and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., co-sponsors of the
House bill, said: “As members of the John F. Kennedy Centennial
Commission, we write to urge you to cosponsor H.R. 3274, the President
John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act. In honor of President
Kennedy’s service and dedication to our country, this bill would
direct the U.S. Mint to issue a special limited commemorative silver
dollar coin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of
President Kennedy.” Rep. Kennedy is the grand-nephew of President Kennedy.
They added in the letter, “On this centennial anniversary of
President Kennedy’s birthday, we are reminded of a man whose legacy
has inspired countless American citizens to push our country towards
progress, justice, and unity. Through his commitment to public service
and his iconic leadership, John F. Kennedy has left an unforgettable
imprint in the hearts and minds of numerous generations of Americans.”
The Senate version of the legislation was introduced by Sens. Edward
J. Markey, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz.
Connecting coins, the arts, and American
Another column in the August 7 monthly issue of Coin World
continues with the art theme, as the artists who’ve designed our
most gorgeous pieces of paper currency are profiled.
Both bills call for the U.S. Mint to issue a maximum of 500,000
silver dollars honoring Kennedy. As with other recent bills seeking
commemorative silver dollars, the bills call for the coins to be made
of at least 90 percent silver, a change to older legislation that
required such coins to be made of the traditional 90 percent silver
and 10 percent copper. Congress granted the Mint some flexibility in
silver coinage alloys in 2015.
The designs of the silver dollar would be selected by the secretary
of the Treasury in consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts and
representatives of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and after
their review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
The purchase price of each coin would bear a $10 surcharge to be
paid to support the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
The Kennedy half dollar has been issued annually since 1964, though
production has been shunted to collector sales since 2002. The coins
do not circulate widely. Similarly, the 2015 Presidential dollar was
struck for collector sales only (as were all Presidential dollars
after the last issue struck for 2011).