The United States Mint this week announced the final designs, price and release date for the 2011 September 11 National Medals. The medals which commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will go on sale Monday, June 20, for an introductory price of $56.95.
The Mint will begin selling the September 11 National Medals at 12:00 noon ET through its website (http://www.usmint.gov/) and call center number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). There will be no household order limits in place, and buyers may choose from medals produced at the United States Mint facility in West Point or Philadelphia.
Each medal, struck in proof quality, shares identical obverse and reverse designs. However, medal collectors are apt to purchase at least one from both United States Mint facilities since there will be a denoting Philadelphia "P" or West Point "W" mint mark on the medal itself.
9/11 National Medal Designs and Specifications
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner approved the final obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) medal designs after more than two dozen candidates had been reviewed.
The obverse, designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, features Lady Liberty raising the Lamp of Remembrance. Two beacons of light are seen in the background as they stretch skyward.
"Lady Liberty, the lamp and the light symbolize not only the immeasurable loss on that fateful day, but also the resiliency and triumph of those who persevered," describes the Mint.
Surrounding the designs are the inscriptions ALWAYS REMEMBER and 2001 – 2011.
The reverse, also designed by Weaver, features an eagle with outstretched wings in the foreground. Water flows in the background. Inscriptions underneath the designs include HONOR and HOPE.
The eagle symbolizes "the strength of the survivors, the families and the Nation" while the flowing water is "emblematic of peace, serenity, healing and the continuity of life," according to the Mint.
The reverse was sculpted by Joseph Menna.
The 9/11 medal is composed of .999 fine silver to a weight of one ounce. Its weight and 1.598 inch diameter make the size almost equal to that of the popular American Silver Eagle. Aside from the designs, there is another difference between the two. The American Silver Eagle has a reeded edge. The edge of the September 11 National Medal is smooth.
The two medals will be struck to special proof quality that collectors prefer. The United States Mint traditionally produces only coins in proof quality.
Proofs have a "two-tone surface consisting of a lightly frosted image against a shiny, mirror-like background. This effect is accomplished by a unique method of sandblasting and polishing different areas of the dies that are used," the Mint informs.
The price for each of the two 9/11 medals includes a $10 surcharge that will be forwarded to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (http://www.911memorial.org/). The not-for-profit organization is responsible for overseeing the design and funding of the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site.
Mintage Limits and Medal Price
A maximum mintage of 2 million September 11 National Medals was authorized in Public Law 111-221, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2010. (The Act became law in August 2010.)
"To the extent possible, approximately one-half of the medals will be struck at the United States Mint at West Point and one-half at the United States Mint at Philadelphia, with customers able to purchase one or both options," the United States Mint said.
The introductory $56.95 medal price will last two months from its initial June 20 release date. Should the 9/11 medal inventory hold out past 5:00 p.m. ET on August 18, 2011, the regular price of $66.95 goes into effect.
The Mint offers another incentive for ordering early, in addition to the cheaper price. The bureau indicates that during the introductory price period it will include an attractive 8" x 10" document "suitable for framing." The document will showcase the medal’s designs, offer descriptions of the designs, and bear the signature of the Acting Director of the United States Mint.
Shipping and Ordering Period
While buyers may place orders beginning on the medals’ June 20 release date, the Mint indicates that it will only begin shipping them in early September. On top of the price, the United States Mint will add a $4.95 fee to domestic orders for shipping and handling. The complimentary 8" x 10" document will ship separately.
It is presumed that the United States Mint will offer the 9/11 medals for an extended period of time unless they sell out. Public Law 111-221 mandates that they may not be produced after December 31, 2012. The Mint would not likely keep them available beyond the month based on its sales ending practices of previous commemorative products which did not sell out.