Legislation seeking commemorative coins to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has been introduced in the United States Senate.
The bill, numbered S. 2036, was sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as a companion to similar legislation (H.R. 2527) which passed on October 26 in the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 463 to 3.
Both bills are named the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act. If either passes in both chambers and is signed into law by the President, the Secretary of the Treasury (and thus the United States Mint) would be required to strike up to 50,000 $5 gold commemorative coins, 400,000 $1 silver commemorative coins and 750,000 commemorative half dollars to honor the diamond jubilee of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"For nearly 75 years, Americans have been visiting our very own Cooperstown to honor the legends of America’s pastime," Senator Gillibrand said after introducing the National Baseball Hall of Fame Act in the US Senate.
"The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act will build on the recognition Cooperstown deserves, honor its history, and help draw more Americans to visit this truly magical place in upstate New York."
Two unique provisions are included as part of the proposed legislation. The first would require a design competition for the obverse of the coins which are to be emblematic of the game of baseball. The winner of the competition would receive compensation for their design in an amount of no less than $5,000.
Second, the $5 gold commemorative coins and the silver dollars (insofar as it would not significantly add to their cost) would feature a convex reverse to more closely resemble a Major League baseball and a concave obverse to provide a more dramatic display of the selected design. Similar styled coins were produced by the French Mint in 2009 to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.
Surcharges are to be collected on the sale of each commemorative in the amount of $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar and $5 per half-dollar coin. These surcharges are to be forwarded by the U.S. Treasury to the Secretary to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to help finance its operations.
"As we near our 75th anniversary in 2014 the Hall of Fame is thankful to Senator Gillibrand for introducing this bill, it will surely bring awareness and potential visitors to central New York in future years. The support of all citizens to celebrate baseball’s history will bolster the American spirit for years to come," said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
"The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act unites every fan of the game in celebrating the timelessness of America’s pastime. The legislation provides all baseball fans around the globe with the opportunity to celebrate Cooperstown and the important role this institution has played in preserving the history of our national pastime."
The bi-partisan Senate version of the legislation currently has the co-sponsorship of four Senators, including Senator Saxbu Chandliss (R-GA), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).
S. 2036 has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.