US Coins

Bills in Congress seek $200 limit, first responder coins

The United States Mint strikes no coins with a denomination higher than $100. Legislation introduced in Congress would prohibit denominations greater than $200.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint

Two separate pieces of new numismatic legislation are before Congress — one in the Senate seeks to limit the face value of U.S. coin denominations, while a House measure seeks commemorative coins recognizing first responders and other health care workers for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cancel the Coin Act legislation, S. 185, was introduced Feb. 2 by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and subsequently referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. It seeks to amend Title 31, Sect. 5112 of the United States Code, to prohibit the Treasury secretary from issuing U.S. coins with face values exceeding $200.

Currently, the highest denomination placed on U.S. coins is the $100 inscribed on the American Eagle 1-ounce .9995 fine platinum coins and the American Liberty .9999 fine gold coins.

The 2021-W First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof $100 Coin – Freedom of Religion was released Feb. 4. The 2021-W American Liberty 1-ounce gold $100 coin is tentatively set for a summer release.

Commemorative coins

On Feb. 8, Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., introduced H.R. 905, which was sent to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration.

H.R. 905 seeks a three-coin commemorative coin program authorizing the Treasury secretary “to mint coins in commemoration of the health care professionals, first responders, scientists, researchers, all essential workers, and individuals who provided care and services during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Text for H.R. 905 was not yet published on Congress.gov as of Feb. 18 and Bergman’s staff declined to provide Coin World with the text until it is published online by the Government Printing Office.

Publication of the text is delayed due to the need for a technical amendment of an undisclosed detail, to be introduced and passed to augment H.R. 905. H.R. 905 text is not yet forwarded to the House Committee on Financial Services.

A spokesman for Bergman’s office did confirm for Coin World that H.R. 905 seeks a three-coin program.

Current three-coin commemorative programs offer a gold $5 coin with a combined maximum mintage and release in Proof and Uncirculated versions of 50,000 coins; a silver dollar, with maximum Proof and Uncirculated release of 400,000 coins; and a copper-nickel clad half dollar, with a maximum Proof and Uncirculated output of 750,000 coins.

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