The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 23, June 9, 2019, Article 23


This June 5, 2019 article from Roll Call outlines the process for getting commemorative coin legislation through the U.S. Congress. -Editor

commemorative coin legislation Coin bills are one of the last remaining ways for an individual member of Congress to bring home the bacon. It is a surprisingly competitive affair, as multiple lawmakers race to be the first to get their bills approved. Still, it is a practice not free of controversy — some in and out of Congress have derided such bills as a backdoor earmark. Crucially, the legislation doesn't require taxpayer money.

Keegan, 59, a former medical insurance auditor, is an unpaid legislative director for the independent fundraising arm of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, an institution in New Windsor, N.Y., that is owned and operated by the state. The fundraising organization figures it will take home at least $1 million from the sale of the coins to benefit the museum. The sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, represents the district where the Hall of Honor is located.

In March, when he introduced the bill, Maloney called it one of his top legislative priorities this Congress.

That was "not only because it will honor our Purple Heart Recipients and the Hall of Honor, but also because it will generate revenue to support the Hall of Honor's work," he said, referring to the award given to those in the military who are either killed or wounded in combat.

It is the fourth time since 2014 that Maloney has tried to get this bill passed.

"This is our year," he promised.

Michael White, a spokesman for the U.S. Mint, which makes the coins, said that the Hall of Honor's expected take was typical. A silver dollar released in 2018 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I stands to net $1.5 million in surcharge revenue — the portion of the money the sponsoring group receives from the sales. A coin for breast cancer research will likely net $1.2 million.

Although each of these coins made millions more in overall revenue, most of the money goes to paying back the Mint for design, production, marketing and administrative costs. Therefore, the federal government doesn't lose any money on the coins.

The organization that benefits from the sale of the coin is required, by law, to raise enough money to match, dollar-for-dollar, the surcharge revenue. If the organization doesn't match, the proceeds from the sale go back to the Treasury.

Since 1998, when matching requirements were first instituted on coin bills, organizations on average earned $3.3 million in surcharges. The biggest money-maker in that time period was a 2014 coin commemorating the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which made $7.9 million.

And in that time, one coin, for the Girl Scouts of America, did not get its surcharge money ($1.2 million), because the group was unable to cover the costs of production. In 2009 a coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth raised $5 million, but the group that would have gotten the money dissolved. In both cases, the amount reverted back to the Treasury.

By law, only two commemorative coins can be issued each year. Under House leadership guidelines, the first three bills that get at least 290 co-sponsors and have the support of the Financial Services chairperson are set up for likely floor action. That means the fighting among dozens of seemingly worthy causes can be fierce.

To read the complete article, see:
A nice chunk of change: Commemorative coins benefit all involved (

Here's a Coin World article by Chris Bulfinch and Bill Gibbs on the latest commemorative coin legislation benefiting the National Law Enforcement Museum, plus congressional gold medals for Willie O'Ree and Maya Angelou. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Legislation calls for commemorative coins, congressional gold medals (

Guth E-Sylum ad01 German Coins

Wayne Homren, Editor

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