Jaime Hernandez: In the year 2000, the U.S. Mint produced its first and only ringed bi-metallic coin, which happens to be the 2000 Library of Congress Commemorative $10 coin. It is composed of a .900 fine outer gold ring and a quarter-ounce center of .9995 fine platinum.Noteworthy, the coin also boasts one of the lowest mintages of any modern coin.
Not just did the Mint produce these coins out of bi-metallic metals but it also produced the coins out of two very expensive metals. Gold was one of the metals used to produce the coins while platinum was the second metal that was also used. The gold content is located in the outer ring of the coin while the platinum metal is located in the inner ring of the coin.
It is unknown why the U.S. Mint chose the Library of Congress Commemorative as its first bi-metallic coin when it could have used any other U.S. coin. However, since the coin was produced for the year 2000, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Mint used this coin to demonstrate its advanced minting techniques in the new millennium year.
Despite the coins unique characteristics, it is also one of the lowest mintage commemorative coins in existence. The total mintage of 7,261 coins is a relatively low mintage compared to all other commemorative coins. As of 2009, the Library of Congress Mint State coins are among the lowest mintage commemorative coins, which also include the silver half dollars, silver dollars, gold $5 coins and the $10 gold coins.
The $10 Library of Congress coin was also produced in a proof format. Both mint state and proof coins will bear a “W” mint mark since they were both produced at the West Point Mint. Mint state coins will have a satin like appearance while proof coins will have a strong reflective mirror like appearance, also known as deep cameo.
The Library of Congress Commemorative coins were first approved by Congress in October 1998. The coins were produced in order to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the world’s largest library.
In the year 2000, the U.S. Mint offered the mint state coins at a pre issue price of $380 each. The regular price was then increased to $405 each. Since the coins were first produced they have increased in value dramatically.
In 2007 the coins were fetching as much as $3,000 each and many times much more. As of 2009 the coins are realizing over $1500 and sometimes close to $2,000. Not bad for customers who bought them directly from the mint at $380 or $405 each in the year 2000.
The inner platinum ring on the obverse of the coin depicts the hand of the Greek Goddess Minerva. Minerva’s hand is shown holding the torch representing learning. To the right of Minerva’s hand are the words “In God We Trust” and right below that, are the initials “JM” which are John Mercanti’s initials, he is the designer of the obverse of the coin. Behind Minerva’s hand is the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building along with the Library of Congress, which are located in Washington D.C.
On the gold outer ring of the coin, the ignited flame from the torch is shown. The word “Liberty”, the year “2000” and the words “Library of Congress” are also located on the gold outer ring of the coin.
On the reverse of the coin and in the inner platinum ring, it displays the Library of Congress seal. The seal is made up of a bald eagle which is encircled inside a laurel wreath. The bald eagle is shown holding a ribbon inside its beak and in front of the eagle, there is a shield. The right claw of the eagle is holding several branches with leaves, while the left claw of the eagle holds three arrows. Below the eagle are the words “E Pluribus Unum.” Located below the eagles left wing, is the “W” mint mark indicating the coin was produced at the West Point Mint. Towards the eagles right wing and below the wreath are the initials “TDR” which are Thomas D. Rogers initials, he is the designer of the reverse of the coin.
The Library of Congress bi-metallic coin is undoubtedly a beautiful coin. It is also an important coin since it represents the innovative capabilities of the U.S. Mint for the millennium year. As of 2009, it is also the first and only bi-metallic coin produced by the U.S. Mint. Factor in the extremely low mintage for a modern coin and you have yourself a tremendously exciting and desirable coin.