2020 Mayflower Commemorative Coins Proposed

by Mike Unser on July 10, 2015 · 14 comments

New Coin LegislationLegislation was introduced this week to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth, Massachusetts with 2020-dated commemorative coins from the United States Mint.

Bills S.1715 and H.R.2980, named the Mayflower Commemorative Coin Act, seek up to 50,000 $5 gold coins and no more than 100,000 silver dollars with designs emblematic of the historic arrival of the Pilgrims. The colonists, passengers of the famed ship Mayflower, established their settlement at Plymouth in 1620. It became the second successful English colony after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

Under the proposed legislation and with one exception, specifications for the Mayflower coins would match that of other modern commemoratives with finishes in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated. For years, commemorative coin legislation has called for silver coins that "contain 90% silver and 10% copper." Interestingly, H.R.2980 states that they shall "contain at least 90 percent silver." This language gives the U.S. Mint leeway to strike silver commemoratives in higher fineness such as .999.

Final designs would get selected by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) and reviews by the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).

The Act calls for surcharges on sales of the commemorative at amounts of $35 for each $5 gold coin and $10 for every silver dollar. Collected funds would go to GSMD for educational purposes. The non-profit’s mission is to tell the story of the Pilgrim’s journey on the Mayflower in 1620 and raise public awareness and understanding of the importance of the Pilgrim’s lives and their legacies.

Bill H.R.2980 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bill Foster, D-IL., on Wednesday, July 8, and awaits action in the Committee on Financial Services.

The companion Senate bill, S.1715, was introduced on the same day by Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND. It moved to Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ernesto July 10, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Well at least they’re not calling for clad half dollars!!!

Richard July 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm

If it gets through I’d suggest getting a couple of 1920 or ’21 Pilgrim half dollars, could be increased demand for them (and they’d making a nice matching set with 2020 issues).

jim July 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm

I’m not sure there’s a real need to further educate the public on what sailing on the Mayflower was like or what pilgrim life was like 400 yrs ago. Aren’t we past that by now? Couldn’t the surcharge money be spent on something more useful and relevant to today’s problems than those of 400 yrs ago? Or gee, how about not add the surcharge to the cost at all?

Joe July 10, 2015 at 5:47 pm

I learned about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims when I was in elementary school. No need for a surcharge.

TheCurseOfTheRodainTrilogy July 10, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Jim, you should watch Monumental with Kirk Cameron.

jim July 11, 2015 at 1:22 am

I don’t know Kirk Cameron so I’m afraid that won’t happen.

SalivateMetal July 13, 2015 at 10:04 am

The Pilgrims were the foundation from which this nation was founded. I think it would be a great program and cause. The Pilgrim’s story is MUCH more than just a perilous trip across the ocean. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

RonnieBGood July 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

I appreciate that those involved in writing the laws to produce these coins (including the CCAC) have listened to the voice of collectors and have reduced the mintages. The recent “over” mintage of Commemorative Coins including the “Clad” versions have flooded the market have been damaging to the hobby.

Thank you for the wisdom to listen to your customers.

jim July 15, 2015 at 1:15 am

I think it depends on what the purpose of a commemorative coin is: to educate the public and allow the public to participate in remembering, or to provide coins for collectors, or to generate funding via surcharges for favorite charities or organizations. If the first or last then flooding is a desired method.

At least the laws state that the commemorative coins can’t be sold after the end of the year stamped on the coin. Now if they would only stop selling all other coins at the end of their mintage year other flooding would stop as well.

It’s a shame that Congress can’t listen to the general public and join together to make bi-partisan laws. Instead it seems they relish being labeled a do-nothing congress with a low approval rating.

Joe July 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

A commemorative coin with the Mayflower in full sail arriving to the new land would be nice.

RonnieBGood July 15, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Jim,
It would be nice to think that education and fundraising are important factors but it appears as though there has been little thought to these with many of the recent US coin issues (beyond increasing quarterly & yearly revenues for the Mint).

RonnieBGood July 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Truthfully most of collectors that I have talked with do not like the required donation that goes along with a commemorative coin purchase (they would prefer the option donate). From what I gather, very few collectors that have ever purchased a coin just to donate to the associated cause.

RonnieBGood July 15, 2015 at 11:18 pm

There was a time when I purchased all of the commem coin issues from the US Mint. I now am selective with my purchases (as are many other collectors).

As a collector I appreciate the efforts that are being made to improve the collectability of Mayflower commemorative coin issue.

jim July 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

RBG –
I agree with all your comments.
As for surcharges, I expect supporters of a particular cause buy the coins to support the cause but I doubt many if any are serious coin collectors.

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