Q. David Bowers
Not known at press time.
World War II Commemorative Authorized
After due discussion, Congress gave its final approval to the 1993 World War II Commemorative Coin Act on September 29, 1992; President George Herbert Walker Bush signed the act into law on October 14.
On November 11, 1992, the U.S. Mint launched its second coin-design competition within a year, this time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II. The designs were to be symbolic of the participation of the United States in World War II, and were specified to carry the dates 1991-1995, encompassing the four-year anniversary for the entire period from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor until the surrender of the Axis powers. The designs were to be pencil, pen and ink, or charcoal drawings within an eight-inch circle mounted on an illustration board 10x10 inches.
Each artist was limited to one obverse and one reverse design for each of the three issues, the clad half dollar, silver dollar, and $5 gold half eagle. Designs were due at the Mint by January 15, 1993. An award of $2,500 will be given for each of the six winning designs.
Required inscriptions for the obverse are: LIBERTY, 1991-1995, IN GOD WE TRUST. 'Reverse inscriptions-required are: E PLURIBUS UNUM, ONE DOLLAR, (in numerals or words), and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In addition to the usual legends and inscriptions, the phrase "June 6, 1944," date of the Allied invasion of France, and "Battle of Normandy" or "D-Day Invasion" may be used on the silver dollar. Designs will be reviewed by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, AMVETS (American Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam), the Disabled American Veterans, and the Battle Of Normandy Foundation.
A press release from the Mint told about instructions given to artists concerning the use of designs submitted:
You may not retain a copyright of or other property interest in them. You should keep a copy of your design submission(s) for your files; however, if your design(s) is/are selected, you may not release the design(s) without the US; Mint's approval, The Mint reserves the right to make modifications, changes, additions, or deletions to the designs.
The authorizing legislation, H.R. 1623, specified that the coins must only be minted in 1993. Normally, on coins with two dates, the second has generally been the date of issue, because basic coin laws, U.S. Code, Title 31 Subtitle IV, specify that all United States coinage carry it. Coins can be struck in advance of the year of issue, but not after the end of it. However, dating laws have been widely ignored by the Mint over the years. Notwithstanding legal preferences, the dual date 1991-1995 will apply for these coins. Public Law 102-414 authorized the U.S. Mint to produce and issue the silver dollars in 90% silver, 10% copper composition.
Surcharges on the 1993 World War commemorative coins were scheduled to be $8 for the silver dollar, $2 for the clad half dollar, and $35 for the $5 gold half eagle. Seventy percent of the surcharges are to go to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. The first $3 million in surcharges shall be used to "create, endow, and dedicate, onthe 50th anniversary of D-Day, a United States D-Day and Battle of Normandy Memorial in Normandy, France, adjacent to the largest World War II museum in the world in Caen, France," per a story in the October 13, 1992 issue of Numismatic News.
An article in Coin World, July 27, 1992, reported this:
During a House Banking Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage hearing in July of 1991, the subcommitteemembers agreed that the coins should be issued during 1995; however, when the bill was marked up in the subcommittee in mid-June, the year of issuance was left as 1993 .... The logic presented was that the funds to be generated by the surcharges would be needed to construct the Normandy memorial, which sponsors want completed before the 50th anniversary of the war's end in 1995. No action has thus far been scheduled in the Senate on the House-approved version of the World War II commemorative bill.
In The Commemorative Trail, Spring/Summer 1992, an article titled "A World War II Commem-Is It Time?" by Randall Jack Moore, suggested that the 1993 date might not be the best choice for a 50th anniversary. He rightly observed that World War II began in the Orient in 1931, when the Japanese invaded Manchukuo (Manchuria); in Europe in 1938, when Hitler's Germany began to gobble up its neighbors; or in 1936, if you count the Americans fighting Nazis in Spain, during the Spanish Civil War. What date to use? Because World War II came to an end during 1945, many would argue that 1995 would be the appropriate year for the proposed commemorative. Further:
What is being commemorated? The war itself? U.S. participation? The series of battles of 1943? The bomb that blew gigantic holes in New Mexico, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? Is it victory alone? If it is victory alone, perhaps the coin should feature an American eagle, with spread wings, rising on an atomic mushroom cloud, with a circular legend: "WE DID IT ONCE - WE CAN DO IT AGAIN -BEWARE OF AMERICA." Clearly, such a coin would be a national disgrace ....
Moore suggested that the theme of such a coin ought to be Triumph of Good over Evil, Right over Wrong, or Freedom over Enslavement, and of the Invincibility of the Spirit of Mankind. The last line of the article read: "Whatever the design of the proposed WW II commemorative, perhaps a legend on the coin might simply read: 'IN HONOR OF ALL WHO FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM.' "
Somewhat less patriotically, a California coin dealer suggested that a more appropriate motif might be a congressman holding aloft a commemorative coin set and a bag of money, standing over an exhausted, poor coin collector who pays for it all.
Commemorating: The 50th anniversary of U.S. participation in World War II.
Obverse motif: Not known at press time.
Reverse motif: Not known at press time.
Authorization date: October 14, 1992.
Date on coins: 1991-1995.
Date when coins were actually minted: Not known at press time.
Mints used: Not known at press time. Maximum quantity authorized: 1,000,000.
Total quantity minted: Not known at press time.
Quantity melted: Not known at press time.
Not number distributed: Not known at press time.
Issued by: U.S. Mint (Customer Service Center, United States Mint, 10001 Aerospace Road, Lanham, MD 20706)
Standard original packaging: Not known at press time
Official sale prices: Not known at press time;
Designer of obverse: Not known at-press time. Designer of reverse: Not known at press-time
Interesting fact: Although proponents of-the hill for the coins were eager to get it passed by Congress, exactly what the coins should commemorate was not clearly defined.