Earlier today, Feb. 1, the United States Mint started taking orders for 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Dollars. Available in proof and uncirculated qualities, these collector coins feature imagery emblematic of Samuel Clemens, the famous American author who wrote under the pen name of Mark Twain.
Of particular interest; the proof silver dollar features extra frosting intensities to enhance the coin’s designs.
Ordering went smooth in the early going. Congress authorized a combined 350,000 coins so there was no need to storm the Mint’s online store to make a purchase out of fear of them selling out quickly. However, it is a good idea to buy them within 30 days to take advantage of cheaper prices. Introductory pricing is $44.95 for the uncirculated coin and $45.95 for the proof. Their introductory pricing period ends on March 2, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. when both coins switch $5 higher to their regular prices.
These silver dollars were originally scheduled to launch about two weeks back alongside the $5 Mark Twain Gold Coins but a printing error on certificates of authenticities caused a delay in their release.
Twain Silver Dollar Designs
U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Artist Chris Costello created the obverse (heads side) portrait of Mark Twain with engraving by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso. Smoke rising from Twain’s pipe leads to a silhouette of two of Twain’s most famous literary characters, Huckleberry Finn and Jim, on a raft. LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and 2016 complete the obverse design.
The reverse depicts characters from Twain’s works leaping from the pages of a book. Inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $1 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. AIP artist Patricia-Lucas Morris designed the reverse image with engraving by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.
Each coin is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper with a diameter of 1.5 inches and a weight of 26.73 grams. Both are produced at the U.S. Mint facility in Philadelphia and bear its "P" mintmark.
Unique Laser Frostings for Proof Silver Dollar
Different frosting techniques appear on the proof Mark Twain Silver Dollar. Imagery released by the U.S. Mint lists the four treatments as proof polish and the three laser frosting intensities of light-plus, standard and heavy. Proof polish and standard frosting are common to traditional proof coins. The light-plus and heavy frosting treatments offer unique combinations to the silver dollar.
As shown above, the yellow is mirror-like proof polish, purple is light-plus laser frosting, orange is standard laser frosting and blue is heavy laser frosting. The $5 Mark Twain Gold Proof Coin has similar treatments.
Ordering and Surcharges
Those interested in ordering Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Dollars (and gold editions) may do so directly from the U.S. Mint’s website via its commemorative coin page or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
Surcharges of $35 per gold coin and $10 for each silver dollar have been added to coin prices with proceeds to be split evenly between the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn.; the University of California, Berkeley; Elmira College in New York; and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo.