2016 Mark Twain Gold Coin Photos, Proof Features 3 Frosting Levels

by Mike Unser on January 29, 2016 · 7 comments

This article presents photos of 2016-W $5 Mark Twain Gold Coins, the first issues commemorating the popular author and humorist Samuel Clemens whose pen name was Mark Twain. It also provides illustrations of unique laser frosting treatments that enhance their designs.

Released two weeks ago, Mark Twain Gold Coins are produced and sold by the United States Mint in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated. Proof pieces tend to outsell their uncirculated counterparts by about 2-to-1, but the proof Mark Twain coin may enjoy higher than typical sales because of its unique reverse.

2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin Photos

Photos of 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins

Regular proof coins have frosted designs that contrast attractively against mirror-like backgrounds, just like the obverse or heads side of the proof Mark Twain gold coin. The reverse or tails side of this same coin, however, features two additional frosting intensities for a combination of four interacting effects.

To start, take a look below at a photo of an obverse. It’s alongside a U.S. Mint-provided graphic illustrating its design treatments. They show the regular mirror-like polished field and standard frosting application on the raised elements. These are depicted by the graphic in colors of yellow and orange.

2016 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin - Obverse, Polishing and Laser Frosting

The obverse or heads side of the proof Mark Twain Gold Coin features the same elements as traditional proof coins. They include the mirror-like polish for the coin’s field (depicted by the illustration in yellow) and standard laser frosting for the raised design and lettering (depicted by the illustration in orange).

Now, here’s a photo of a reverse with another color-coded graphic that illustrates its polishing and multiple degrees of frosting:

2016 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin - Reverse, Polishing and Laser Frosting

The reverse or tails side of the proof Mark Twain Gold Coin has areas that stand apart from regular proof coins, and are very noticeable with the coin in hand. Treatments shown in the illustration include: Yellow = Mirror-like Proof Polish; Purple = Light-Plus Laser Frosting; Orange = Standard Laser Frosting; and Blue = Heavy Laser Frosting.

Like the obverse, it features a traditional mirror-like polish for the flat surface. Parts of the design and letterings also carry standard frosting. Here’s where it gets interesting visually… other areas of the coin feature additional frosting layers of "light-plus" and "heavy." Altogether, the reverse has standard proof polishing for the mirrored fields and three different intensities of frosting — light-plus, standard and heavy. The graphic shows the four treatments in colors of yellow, purple, orange and blue.

Also worth looking at are how the wavy waters remain prominent in the lower third of the design despite having to compete with inscriptions of ‘$5’ and ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’. The Mint’s development team smartly executed these inscriptions in a polish finish like the surface of the coin, making them more subdued against the light-plus frosting of the water.

Both automated and manual techniques can create a mirror-like proof polish. The frosting applications are all automated, created by a software-controlled machine that passes over a coin die and hits the designs with varying degrees of laser intensities.

Before getting to individual photos of proof and uncirculated 2016 Mark Twain Gold Coins, here are two photos that show them side-by-side:

2016-W $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins and Cases

The proof (left) and uncirculated (right) coins in their presentation cases

2016-W $5 Proof and Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins and Cases

Both coins in their cases with their packaging and U.S. Mint certificate of authenticates

Here are larger photos of an obverse side of a proof $5 Mark Twain gold coin, the first within its capsule and the others with the coin held in hand.

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin in Capsule, Obverse

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-a 2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-b
2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-c 2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-d

And now the same for the reverse side of a $5 proof:

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin in Capsule

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse 2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse-a
2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse-b 2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse-d

Here are photos of an obverse side of an uncirculated $5 Mark Twain gold coin:

2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse

2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-b 2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse-c

Lastly, here are photos of a reverse side of an uncirculated $5 gold coin:

2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse

2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse-a 2016-W $5 Uncirculated Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse-b

On Monday, Feb. 1, the U.S. Mint will begin selling Mark Twain Silver Dollars. The proof silver dollar also features multiple degrees of laser frosting.

The Mint’s product page for commemorative coins is right here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

chris January 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Great Pics ! Just a couple of points of interest. The riverboats were hot beds of activity in their heyday. There is not a single soul apparent in the depictions on these coins – no cap’n or mates, no gamblers or gunmen, and ladies or tramps. Another issue is the stars and stripes appears to be of the 50-state variety – there were many “territories” at the time which had not yet achieved full statehood. Perhaps it is all relative and relevant ?

Seth Riesling January 30, 2016 at 8:17 am

Mike Unser –

Thanks so much for sharing your great quality photos of your MT gold coins & for the color-coded graphics of the different levels of frosting on the Proof coin! I only ordered the Proof coin & haven’t received it yet, but your Uncirculated version looks good too so I am tempted to order it too in spite of the very high mintage of 100,000 gold coins across all options. With this beautiful & historic design, I am actually amazed that the Mint only sold less than 11,000 coins in the first 11 days of sales! I wonder if their new policy of not sending out mail order forms had anything to do with low sales as many older collectors were used to using those mail order forms & some elderly collectors still do not use the Internet/computers. The MInt sent out a colourful brochure on the MT commemorative coins by itself without order form for the first time since 1982 when the “modern” commemorative coin programs began. Of course, if people read the brochure fully they should know they can order by phone also 7 days a week!

-NumisDudeTX

vadim January 30, 2016 at 11:57 am

NumisDudeTX

I think the reason gold coins haven’t sold much is because the silver Twains have been delayed. I’m waiting for Feb 1 to place my order for all, because for me saving a little on shipping is a big deal.

RonnieBGood January 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm

V-
Good thing you waited to buy the Gold coins. You will save 4.95 in shipping but they raised the Gold coin prices by $50 on Jan 27th for a Net loss of about $45…
🙂

vadim January 31, 2016 at 3:52 am

RonnieBG

Unfortunatly that’s true. I would have to wait some more. I think these coins won’t sellout anytime soon.

FLKeith February 1, 2016 at 4:45 am

Gold MT went up $12.15, not $50.

The gold proof has essentially been on back order since the day after release, hence the unspectacular sales numbers.

Whistler February 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Of late even the sellout items (Hall ofFame, etc…) have no legs, the collector market is dwindling a bit….based on demand, etc. these will be on sale till 12/31/2016…..better I wait for the re-issues (which should be SILVER not gold…mint can rip you off more on price v. spot on AG tho, no chart even if it dumps to $10/11 an oz. mint will charge you $50!

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