Ron Guth: In 1996, the United States hosted the summer games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta, Georgia. This was an especially important event for America because it was also the 100th anniversary of the Olympic games. To commemorate the occasion, the U.S. Mint created specially designed Half Dollars, Silver Dollars, and $5 gold pieces for issuance in 1995 and 1996. This was the most ambitious commemorative coin program to date -- 16 different coins were produced and sold to collectors at a premium.
Two different 1995-dated $5 gold pieces were struck in both Mint State and Proof at the West Point Mint. The first version featured a runner holding the Olympic torch aloft, with the Atlanta skyline in the left field. The second version displayed the Olympic stadium and the logo for the Centennial Games. Both types shared a common reverse with a stylized eagle holding a banner in its beak.
Sales of both types were weak and far less than anticipated. The mintage of the Mint State Stadium $5 gold piece set a new record low (for the time) of less than 11,000 coins; the Torch Runner's mintage was not much higher. Both Mint State versions remain scarce and desirable today. Fortunately for collectors, virtually the enitre mintage was preserved...in high grade.
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