Proposed commemorative coins with designs emblematic of the fight against breast cancer are one step closer to becoming a reality. A few more steps and the United States Mint will produce the nation’s first pink coin.
On Wednesday, July 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 2722. If the bill passes in the U.S. Senate and gets signed into law by the President, the U.S. Mint will produce and sell up to 50,000 $5 pink gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 clad half-dollars in 2018.
We just talked about H.R. 2722 last month. Changes since then include amended language that calls for $5 gold coins made of "pink gold" containing not less than 75% gold. That’s a big difference from the specifications of standard U.S. commemorative gold coins, which are produced in 90% gold and 10% alloy.
18K pink gold is most often seen in specialized jewelry. The typical color is created with a mixture of 75% gold, 20% copper and 5% silver. Different copper levels change color intensities. For example, a stronger red color, or 18K rose gold, is achieved by increasing the copper content to 22.25% and reducing the silver content to 2.75%.
Some coin collectors may already be familiar one pink gold issue, as the Royal Canadian Mint used pink gold plating on its commemorative 2012 Farewell to the Penny Silver Coin. Before it, the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2006 25-cent Breast Cancer circulation coin featured a pink ribbon treatment.
In another variation from modern U.S. commemoratives, H.R. 2722 calls for silver dollars to have a composition of not less than 90% silver. That would give the U.S. Mint leeway to strike them in a higher fineness such as .999 fine silver. Traditional commemorative silver dollars have been minted in 90% silver and 10% copper.
Under the terms of H.R. 2722, a surcharge of $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar and $5 per clad half-dollar would be added to each coin sale. The bill as introduced split the funds evenly between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (ww5.komen.org) and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.bcrfcure.org) for furthering research funded by the groups. The amended bill, however, removed the distribution of funds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure due to a fight over abortion.