Two separate coin programs are nearing reality with the House and Senate passing legislation this week which directs the Treasury Secretary, and thereby the United States Mint, to strike commemoratives in 2024 to honor the bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth and the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
H.R.1057, the National World War II Memorial Commemorative Coin Act or the Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Act, and H.R.1842, the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act, passed in the House on July 26 and then in the Senate on July 27. President Biden is expected to sign both bills into law.
Update (Aug. 4): President Biden signed each bill into law on Aug. 3, 2022.
Born in March 1822, Harriet Tubman was a notable abolitionist who not only freed herself but guided about 70 people from slavery to freedom using a network of clandestine routes and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
"Harriet Tubman dedicated her life to fighting against the oppression of white supremacy, for the freedom and rights of African Americans, and for the women’s suffrage movement. This historic legislation recognizes the significant contributions and sacrifices that Tubman made for this country, as we continue to fight for justice and equality for all," said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks [D-NY-5]. "I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation with my colleague Rep. Katko to ensure the legacy of Harriet Tubman is commemorated and I look forward to this bill becoming law."
The National World War II Memorial was dedicated on May 29, 2004, and is located on the east end of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, opposite the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Washington Monument.
"At the heart of our nation’s capital, the National World War II Memorial stands as an enduring testament to the patriots of America’s Greatest Generation whose selfless courage secured the victory of Liberty in the 20th century," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) who introduced H.R.1057. "The Greatest Generation commemorative coin will serve as a sturdy token that honors those who fought and sacrificed while fortifying the sacred national shrine that salutes their legacies."
Each bill calls for up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, a maximum of 400,000 silver dollars, and up to 750,000 clad half dollars to be sold only in calendar year 2024. They will be produced in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated.
Designs for the commemorative coins minted under H.R.1842 must be emblematic of the legacy of Harriet Tubman as an abolitionist. At least one obverse (head side) design must carry the image of Tubman. The Treasury Secretary will select the final designs after consulting with the Commission of the Fine Arts (CFA), the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and The Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. in Auburn, New York.
Designs for the coins struck under H.R.1057 must be emblematic of the National World War II Memorial and the service and sacrifice of American soldiers and civilians during World War II. The Treasury Secretary will select the final designs after consulting with the CFA, the CCAC, and the Friends of the National World War II Memorial.
Common practice in legislation seeking commemorative coins is to include surcharges for each sale in amounts of $35 per $5 gold coin, $10 for each silver dollar, and $5 for every clad half-dollar. Provided the coins turn a profit, surcharge funds are typically earmarked for non-profit organizations to support their mission.
H.R.1057 requires collected surcharges to be paid to the Friends of the National World War II Memorial to support the National Park Service in maintaining and repairing the National World War II Memorial, and for educational and commemorative programs.
H.R.1842 directs collected surcharges to be paid equally between the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and The Harriet Tubman Home for the purpose of accomplishing and advancing their missions.