2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Designs Revealed


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.

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Christopher Williams

Nice looking coins.

I like them.

william flick

nice coins

Dale Reese

may have to order a couple silver ones

Seth Riesling

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!



The mint hire new talent.


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 …


Appealing design. Awesome


Silver Disaster in 2016, beware silver under $7


Wow! Nice designs!

Seth Riesling

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

how much are the coins with the surcharge added?


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

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… Read more »

Christopher Williams

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