US Coast Guard Commemorative Coins Proposed

by Mike Unser on August 13, 2013 · 9 comments

New legislation brought forward in the House of Representatives seeks clad, silver and gold coins in commemoration of the U.S. Coast Guard.

US Coast Guard Bicentennial Bronze Medal

The U.S Mint has never struck a coin honoring the U.S. Coast Guard but it has minted bicentennial bronze medals. The obverse features the inspiring painting “To the Rescue” by Anton Otto Fischer, depicting a 19th – century Coast Guard rescue boat battling stormy seas to aid a disabled vessel. Inscriptions include “GUARDIANS OF THE SEA” and “200 YEARS OF SERVICE.” The reverse is the official Coast Guard seal – the shield of the Coat of Arms of the United States, the motto “SEMPER PARATUS” or “always ready,” and “UNITED STATES COAST GUARD 1790” superimposed upon two crossed anchors.

Introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney on August 1, 2013, the United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2932) would authorize the U.S. Mint to produce and sell uncirculated and proof quality commemorative coins in 2017. Each would be emblematic of the traditions, history, and heritage of the Coast Guard. For the coins to become a reality, H.R. 2932 would need to pass in both the House and Senate and get signed by the President.

Created by Congress in 1790, the Coast Guard (www.uscg.mil) is one of five military branches in the United States and the only military organization within the Department of Homeland Security. It has an estimated 42,300 men and women on active duty, who in 2012 responded to 19,790 search and rescue cases, saved 3,560 lives and more than $77 million in property.

Outlined within the legislation are limits of:

  • 100,000 $5 coins,
  • 500,000 silver dollars and
  • 750,000 clad half dollars

As is typical for coin legislation, specific designs for the commemorative coins are not demanded but H.R. 2932 does state that they must:

"Contain motifs that specifically honor the American Coast Guardsman of both today and yesterday, in wartime and in peace, such designs to be consistent with the traditions and heritage of the United States Coast Guard, the mission and goals of the National Coast Guard Museum, and the missions and goals of the National Coast Guard Museum Foundation."

These designs would be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and selected by the U.S. Treasury Secretary after consulting with the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Coast Guard Museum Foundation and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

1945 US Stamp Honoring the Coast Guard

1945 US Stamp Honoring the Coast Guard

The National Coast Guard Museum Foundation would directly benefit from sales of the commemorative coins. The legislation includes surcharge amounts of $35 for every $5 coin, $10 per coin for each silver dollar and $5 for every half dollar. Collected funds would go to the foundation to help finance the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of the National Coast Guard Museum (www.coastguardmuseum.org).

H.R. 2932 has 26 cosponsors. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken August 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I look forward to these. The Coast Guard is often forgotten when thinking of the armed forces but they perform an out standing service to our country many times unnoticed.

On another note, why can’t the mint produce the half dollar pieces in coin silver rather than clad? .

jim August 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

It’s Congress that specifies in the law the composition of the coins and their value that the mint should produce. Obviously the mint can make silver half dollars but it’s bound by the law, so write to your congressman if you want to change the law.

Ken August 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

That’s a very good idea Jim. While I’m at it, I’ve got a few others things I’d like to unload on him…….

thePhelps August 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

jim – I wrote both my Senators the last time. They both replied, one via email several months after the fact and the other via snail mail. The email reply told me he wasn’t on the committee but would forward my message – the snail mail reply gave me a brief message explaining that no money from tax payers goes to these programs. (my complaint was about surcharges at the time), and then he added in the history of the commemorative coin laws since the 90’s…

Needless to say – it felt like I was spitting into the wind.

jim August 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm

tP –
I wrote to my two senators and neither acknowledged my letter. I also wrote to the Treasury Secretary to complain about a few things basically complaining about the incompetence of Dep Dir Peterson, the 2 coin SF fiasco, and the general bad feeling people have about the mint. I did mention the desire for a full year product schedule and you see the response to that comment. However he also did not respond. So you have better senators than I do apparently.

thePhelps August 14, 2013 at 6:26 am

jim – I think the net result of my responses added to your lack of response is about the same. Unless it is an election year, they really don’t want to hear from us.

Brian V. August 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I don’t want anybody to mis-understand this post. I come from a family with many members who served in WWII & Vietnam. I am truly honored to say that. The recent splurge in military commems has become a little overdone in my opinion. However, the Coast Guard is one of the most under appreciated branches of service. I had an Uncle who had to get my Grandmother to sign a waiver to join the Coast Guard underage in WWII. He had her thinking he would be rescuing local fishing boats off of the Long Island, NY coastal waters. It turns out he was chasing and being chased by U-Boats in the Mediterranean Sea. Then was assigned to troop ships for D-Day invasion, and eventually bringing home troops as the war was winding down. He was in harm’s way for the bulk of the war and joined at 16 years old. This is a coin I will gladly pay premiums for to own more than one. I can’t think of a better gift to send to my cousins, his kids, to let them know how proud their Dad has made me. Reading some of his censored letters to my Mom were chilling reminders of what “The Greatest Generation” put on the line during WWII. Probably the last war which brought our great nation together for a singular purpose. These folks are all hitting late 80’s and early 90’s in age, and need to be remembered for their sacrifices, including the families at home who all had to suffer rationing, factory work hours, and losses of loved ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice. I am humbled when I think of these Great Patriots !!!

thePhelps August 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Brian – I think many of us would purchase this coin – and I have no problem with this particular surcharge. (the surcharge I mentioned above was for the football hall of fame – I think they should look to the billionaires or the millionaires that they honor for funding).

I also agree we have celebrated most every aspect of the military and it is getting a little overdone – but this appears to be a solid coin – and many of us would like to see the mint return to silver for the half dollar as well.

Herbert Cohen August 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm

As a WW2 Coast GuardI Combat Vet
will be looking forward to the coins

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