New legislation that would authorize a commemorative coin to honor World War I American veterans is being endorsed by a major player in the numismatic arena. According to a media release issued March 7, 2012, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) has called upon its 28,000 members to support the proposed legislation entitled the World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act.
According to the release, the effort for a World War I commemorative coin was launched by ANA Numismatic Educator Rod Gillis over two years ago. Rep. Doug Lamborn [R-CO5] has since joined the cause, introducing the WWI commemorative bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, February 29.
"It was really surprising to me that World War I veterans were never honored with their own coin," ANA Numismatic Educator Rod Gillis said. "This legislation will help give these veterans proper recognition."
Under the legislation numbered H.R. 4107, up to 350,000 silver dollars would be issued in calendar year 2017 to mark the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War I. The U.S. formally declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917.
Typical of other modern commemoratives, the World War I coins would be struck to both proof and uncirculated condition from 90% silver and 10% copper with standard specifications to include a weight of 26.73 grams, a diameter of 1.5 inches and the inscriptions of ‘Liberty’, ‘In God We Trust’, ‘United States of America’, and ‘E Pluribus Unum’. The designs would be "emblematic of the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I."
However, the terms of the Act do entail a departure from the typical design process for commemorative coin. Instead of U.S. Mint artists creating designs for review and selection, a public design competition would be held with the winner selected by an expert jury chaired by the U.S. Treasury Secretary and 3 members from the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).
Surcharges of $10 on the sale of each World War I silver dollar would be collected by the U.S. Mint and forwarded to the World War I Memorial Foundation (www.wwimemorial.org). The foundation was created after Frank Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran, visited the District of Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall in March 2008 and found it neglected and in disrepair. He called for a restoration and re-dedication of the monument as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial.
"The new memorial will honor all World War I veterans and make Frank Buckles’ dream a reality," said Gillis, who is currently working to secure a sponsor for the bill in the U.S. Senate.
Buckles passed away on February 27, 2011.
The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act currently has five co-sponsors in the House. For it to become law, it must pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by the President of the United States.
The ANA is asking its members to contact their Congressional representative (www.house.gov/representatives) to voice support for the bill.