Today, the U.S. Mint opened sales for the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. The new coin honors the 100th anniversary of U.S. participation in World War I.
A ceremonial "first purchase" of the coin was made at U.S. Mint Headquarters by retired Army Col. Gerald York, grandson of famous World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York. He made the first purchase at the Mint's lobby gift shop in Washington, D.C.
On hand for the event was Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint David Motl, who expressed his support for the coin's mission, saying, "This new coin gives us all a symbol that we can hold in our hands, a way for us to directly participate in the World War I centennial period."
Terry Hamby, chairman of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, agreed. "These veterans should be remembered," he said. "During World War I, nearly 5 million American men and women placed their lives on hold. Many deployed to places that most had never visited, to fight for the freedom of people they never met. They did not do this for personal gain. They did it solely to bring peace to the world.”
The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar was authorized by statute in 2014 with bipartisan congressional support. Sponsors of the legislation included Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., and Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.
Speaking for the co-sponsors, Lamborn said, "The World War I centennial coin honors the sacrifice of more than 4 million Americans who served in uniform, and more than 100,000 who gave their lives. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the armistice marking the end of World War I, this coin serves as an appropriate tribute to veterans who made America and the world a safer place to live.”
The obverse design of the collectible silver dollar is titled “Soldier’s Charge” and depicts an almost stone-like soldier gripping a rifle. Barbed wire twines are featured in the lower right-hand side of the design. The wire design element continues onto the reverse side in a design titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire. Barbed wire was part of the trench warfare of World War I, and poppies are the symbolic flower of veteran remembrance, a tradition that began during the war.
The designer of the collectible coin was Leroy Transfield of Oren, Utah, and the sculptor was Donald Eberhart. The secretary of the Treasury selected the winning coin design following an open design competition in 2016. It was judged by a six-member jury comprised of three members each from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, and chaired by the Treasury secretary’s designee.
Surcharges from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission in commemorating the war's centenary.
The mission of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is public outreach and education about American involvement in the war. The commission was authorized by Congress to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial will be located at Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street NW, a block from the White House. The commission receives no taxpayer funding.
The World War I Centennial Silver Dollar will be produced in limited quantities, and will be available for purchase online through Dec. 28, 2018.
The U.S. Mint has also created special companion medals honoring each of the military branches that served in World War I. They will be available from the Mint as part of five different World War I silver dollar and medal sets. Information on these sets is online here.
The lobby gift shop at the Mint Headquarters, 801 9th St. NW, Washington, is open to the public. The sales counter conducts business from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on federal holidays.