US Coins

Baseball Hall of Fame bill moves

Legislation seeking 2015 commemorative coins honoring the National Baseball Hall of Fame was approved by voice vote during a House Financial Services Committee July 20 mark-up session and is expected to be on the House of Representatives’ suspension calendar for approval in early September when Congress returns from its August recess.

The committee approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute for the original bill, H.R. 2527. The amendment, offered by Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., contains several changes and clarifications.

It notes that, to the extent possible and without adding significantly to the purchase price of the coins, the U.S. Mint should produce the silver dollar and gold $5 coins so that the coins would resemble a baseball. A Sense of Congress section cites 2009 coins produced by the Monnaie de Paris honoring the International Year of Astronomy as an example of what it envisions.

The approved amended version reduces the maximum mintage of gold $5 half eagles from 500,000 to 50,000, but leaves intact the mintage of 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars. All three denominations may be struck in both Proof and Uncirculated versions.

The surcharges would be $35 per $5 coin, $10 for the dollar and $5 for the half dollar. The surcharges raised would be transmitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame once all statutory requirements have been met.

The amended version clarifies that all the coins will contain a common obverse design emblematic of the game of baseball and that the common reverse is to depict a baseball similar to those used by major league baseball teams.

The amended version retains sections directing the Treasury secretary to conduct a competition to select the obverse design and the winning design would have to be accompanied by a plaster model. The winner of the competition would be compensated with at least $5,000, with the amount determined by the Treasury secretary.

The Treasury secretary would make the final design selection after consultation with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Commission of Fine Arts, and a review of the designs by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The obverse design competition would be judged by a six-person jury consisting of three members each from the CFA and CCAC, with the panels selecting their members.

Two other bills seeking commemorative coinage for 2015 are before Congress: honoring the Marine Corps Aviation Centennial (celebrating a 2012 anniversary) and 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service (celebrating a 2014 anniversary). ¦

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