US Coins

Curved 2020 Basketball commemorative coins final designs unveiled

The approved designs for the three-coin 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program were unveiled Sept. 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts, in conjunction with enshrinement ceremonies for the 2019 Hall of Fame class. 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the designated beneficiary of the net surcharges from sales of the coins.

The coins will be offered in the Mint’s third three-coin program featuring coins struck with a concave obverse and convex reverse; the first was the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame coin program, and the second, the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coin program.

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame coin program will be the nation’s first to offer colorized coins. The U.S. Mint has plans to colorize the .999 fine silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar, but not the .900 fine gold $5 coin.

Mint officials have not yet disclosed what color they intend to use to colorize the coins and whether it will be the same for both denominations. 

All three denominations will bear the same obverse design, selected from an open public design competition. The reverse motif, also common to all three coins, was mandated under provisions of the enabling act, Public Law 115-343.

Public Law 115-343 calls for production and release of up to 50,000 gold coins combined in Proof and Uncirculated versions, 400,000 silver dollars combined in both finished, and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars maximum.

The obverse, recommended for approval to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts, was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Justin Kunz.

The design will be sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.

Kunz’s design, according to the Mint, “portrays the fast pace, intensity, and hands-on action of a basketball game —the constant, competitive struggle for possession of the ball and the skill required to clear the hoop.

“The design features three players reaching for the ball in unison, reflecting how the sport of basketball has brought together diverse people around the world through a simple, universal, and unifying athletic experience.

“Their arms are slightly elongated to emphasize the full exertion of physical and mental energy required to excel in this sport. The rim and net are subtle background design elements complementing the three players.”

The common reverse, recommended by the Commission of Fine Arts, depicts a basketball as it descends through the net. The authorizing law required the depiction of a basketball, though its actual rendition was left to the Mint to determine.

The design is by Donna Weaver, an AIP artist and retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver.

Weaver’s design will be sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

The CCAC at its July 17 meeting had recommended another proposed reverse design, one showing just a basketball, with the dimpled texture prominently featured.

Net surcharges collected from coin sales — $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin, and $5 for each half–dollar coin — are authorized to be paid to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will enable increased operations and educational programming.

The net surcharges will be released after the Mint recovers its production and associated costs and other statutory requirements are met. 

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