Gold, Silver and Clad Coins Proposed to Commemorative James Monroe


Coin Legislation on Capital BuildingOne of the United States former Presidents will get three commemorative coins if a congressman gets his way.

On December 16, 2009, US Rep. Robert J. Wittman of Virginia introduced legislation that would authorized the US Mint to strike commemorative coins in honor of the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe.

The James Monroe Commemorative Coin Act calls for the coins to appear in 2016 to mark the bicentennial of his election to the Presidency.

If the bill is passed by Congress and signed by the President into law, three coins would be created for the event:

  • $50 gold coins containing one troy ounce of gold with a weight of 33.931 grams, a diameter of 32.7 millimeters, and a maximum mintage of 20,000
  • $1 silver coins containing 90% silver and 10% copper, with no more than 275,000 struck — each with a diameter of 1.5 inches and a weight of 26.73 grams
  • Half dollar clad coins with a maximum mintage of 500,000. Each coin would weigh 11.34 grams and have a diameter of 1.205 inches

The legislation would also require specific design constraints to be placed on the coin including an obverse (heads side) design bearing a profile image of James Monroe based on Rembrandt Peale’s 1830 portrait. The reverse design would feature the Monroe birthplace as it was drawn by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The typical inscriptions are to be included as well.

In the text of the bill, which is numbered H.R. 4329, Wittman outlines several reason for why he believes the Monroe commemoratives should be struck. Monroe is the only President (aside from George Washington) to have actively served in the regular military during the Revolutionary War. It was during the war that Monroe crossed the Delaware in advance of Washington and also where he was seriously wounded at the Battle of Trenton.

H.R. 4329 continues to extol the positive attributes of Monroe by referring to his political accomplishments, which include being the minister of France during the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, and his belief in what would come to be called the "Monroe Doctrine" in which the US asserted hemispheric independence from Europe.

A surcharge would be added to the sale of all Monroe commemoratives in the amount of $35 for the gold coins, $10 for the silver coins and $5 for the clad coins. Once collected, this surcharge would be forwarded to the James Monroe Memorial Foundation and used to continue that organizations goals.

Upon its introduction to the House chamber, the bill was immediately forwarded to the House Committee on Financial Services where it will be considered before a possible vote.

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