Legislation Introduced for Civil-rights Coin


A bill was introduced in the House and then Senate calling for a new commemorative coin honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

For coin enthusiasts, the $1 coin is spec-ed out to be 90% silver and minted in both uncirculated and proof qualities. The year of minting wouldn’t begin until 2014. That is, of course, if the legislation passes…

Rep. John Lewis, Georgia, and Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio, introduced the House bill in bi-partisan fashion, calling it: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act, [H.R.2040]. An identical bill was later introduced in the Senate, [S.1437].

According to Rep. Pryce (get ready for a long quote):

“It is fitting and appropriate that the U.S. Congress celebrate the distance we have come in the continuing journey toward equal justice in America. It took many years of struggle on the part of a disciplined and organized movement to create the climate for action that enabled the President to introduce and the Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Only 40 years ago, it was against the law for black people and white people to sit together on city buses, for them to share the same hotels. It was against the law for black people to sit down and be served in restaurants where they bought their food. There were separate restrooms and water fountains, separate entrances for black and white people. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 helped change America. It helped liberate, not just African Americans, but all Americans from a system that denied our true democratic destiny.”

The proposed specifications of the coin as provided in the bill include:

(a) Denominations- The Secretary of the Treasury (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the `Secretary’) shall mint and issue not more than 350,000 $1 coins each of which shall–

(1) weigh 26.73 grams;(2) have a diameter of 1.500 inches; and(3) contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.(b) Legal Tender- The coins minted under this Act shall be legal tender, as provided in section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.(c) Numismatic Items- For purposes of section 5136 of title 31, United States Code, all coins minted under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.

The design requirements and process for the coin within the bills follow the traditions of other commemorative coins.

The U.S Mint, as authorized by Congress, is able to produce two coins a year commemorating the nation’s history. The House and Senate bills are currently in their respective committees. The waiting is on for whether the new proposed Civil Rights Commemorative Coin becomes law and and will be one of the two coins minted in 2014.

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