2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Designs Revealed

by Darrin Lee Unser on November 28, 2015 · 14 comments

Designs for next year’s Mark Twain Commemorative Coins were unveiled today, Nov. 28, at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. They were presented as part of Twain’s 180th Birthday Bash.

Designs for 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins

Designs for the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins

As directed by the Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 112-201, the United States Mint in 2016 will strike up to 100,000 $5 gold coins and as many as 350,000 silver dollars in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated. The coins’ obverses or heads side bear portraits of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the famed author who wrote under the pen name of Mark Twain. Reverses feature designs that are emblematic of his life and legacy.

Coin prices, release dates and possible set options will be revealed at a later date.

Silver Dollar Designs

The silver dollar obverse depicts Mark Twain holding a pipe with its smoke forming a silhouette of Twain’s most famous literary characters, Huckleberry Finn and Jim, on a raft. U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Artist Chris Costello created the design with Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso in charge of engraving. Inscriptions include LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and 2016.

Designs for 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Dollars

Designs for 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Dollars

The reverse offers a representation of some of Twain’s characters leaping from the pages of a book. They include the knight and horse from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the frog from The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Jim and Huck from Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $1 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. AIP artist Patricia-Lucas Morris was the designer with engraving by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.

$5 Gold Coin Designs

A different portrait of Twain, as designed by AIP artist Benjamin Sowards, appears on the obverse of the $5 gold coin. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart is in charge of engraving the design, which also includes the inscriptions of IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY and 2016.

Designs for 2016 $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins

Designs for 2016 $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins

The reverse depicts a steamboat as it navigates the waters of the Mississippi River. The design is the work of AIP artist Ronald D. Sanders with engraving by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna. The inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $5 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.


Sales prices of the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins will carry surcharges of $35 per gold coin and $10 per silver dollar. Provided the coins make a profit, the collected surcharges will be split evenly between these four entities:

  • Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut
  • University of California, Berkeley, California, for the benefit of the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library to support programs to study and promote the legacy of Mark Twain
  • Elmira College, New York, to be used for research and education purposes
  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri

Specifications for the coins are identical to other modern commemoratives. For the $5 coins, this includes a composition of 90% gold and 10% silver, a diameter of 0.850 inches and a weight of 8.359 grams. Silver dollars commemoratives have a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, a diameter of 1.5 inches and a weight of 26.73 grams.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher Williams November 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Nice looking coins.

I like them.

william flick November 28, 2015 at 4:04 pm

nice coins

Dale Reese November 28, 2015 at 5:42 pm

may have to order a couple silver ones

Seth Riesling November 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Great coin designs on both coins! Congrats to the artists at the U.S. Mint on these beautiful commemoratives. Hopefully the Mint will offer a 2016 Coin & Chronicles set for Mark Twain like they did in 2005 for John Marshall & in 2006 for Benjamin Franklin. A coin & booklet about his amazing life & talent & of course his many famous quotations included would make a popular set option IMHO. Mr Clemens would have loved all this hoopla honoring his achievements!


Joe November 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm

The mint hire new talent.

Tinto November 29, 2015 at 1:02 am

I was going to buy only the proof gold but the design of the dollar is so nice I’ll have to get one of each finish but got to see how the Mint puts the designs on the coins first …

Kyungwon November 29, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Appealing design. Awesome

Silgold November 30, 2015 at 12:52 am

Silver Disaster in 2016, beware silver under $7

Munzen November 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Wow! Nice designs!

Seth Riesling November 30, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Excellent designs on both coins, as i commented on earlier. But it would be nice if either of his two names was on at least one of the coins. I guess that is just what the designers call “artistic license.” Can’t wait to add both commemoratives to my collection! Kudos to the U.S. Mint on this coin program.


don danielson December 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

how much are the coins with the surcharge added?

Whistler December 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Will the mint lower the price on silver, quite a ripoff vs. spot now <$14……someone said $7 floor, we'll see, if it goes that low, MAYBE the mint wold lower prices…but I doubt it, we have the JONES for coin$……& THEY know it!

Seth Riesling December 3, 2015 at 12:14 am

don danielson –

The Mint usually doesn’t publish the price of its commemorative coins until the brochures & order forms are printed by an outside vendor & mailed by snail mail from Illinois. They will also publish the prices on their website probably in late December sometime for at least one of the two commemorative coin programs allowed by Federal law each year. The silver $ coins include a
$10 surcharge built into the issue price that goes to the charity named in the coin legislation as described in this article. They usually offer a 30-day pre-issue price that averages about $43.95 for the Uncirculated version & 46.95 for the Proof version. After the pre-issue price period they usually increase the price of each by $5. The gold coins are based on the average weekly spot price of gold on the London market plus a typical markup and a $35 surcharge and have been around $350 or so recently. The Proof gold coin is usually only $5 more than the Uncirculated version. You may want to call the Mint (800-872-6468) & ask to be placed on their mailing list or create an account for free on their website at http://www.usmint.gov. Good luck in your collecting pursuits!

Whistler –

You hit the silver nail on the head with your comments! The BIG question is when will the U.S. Mint lower its silver coin product prices!? Silver is at more than a 6-year low after basically going down most of this year. And they have the nerve to price the new 2015 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set (containing 8 silver coins) at the same price as the 2014 set at $139.95 in their new Holiday Catalog! Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to the U.S. Mint! May they get coal in their Holiday stockings! And may i get a 2015 Proof platinum American Eagle in mine. Just a small hint to Santa !

Happy collecting everyone. May you all get the coins you want/need for the Holiday Season (and at fair prices).


Christopher Williams January 2, 2016 at 12:54 pm

It’s no surprise that the new Mark Twain coins are already being listed on EBay at the Pre-Sale level.

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