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Honoring Memorial Day With Modern Coins

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Memorial Day dates back to 1868, with the first observance being recognized as taking place on May 30 of that year. Until 1970 the holiday remained on that date, as the following year it would be moved to coincide with the final Monday in May. With this long history of honoring those who died having served in the United States Armed Forces, there are many coins, including some newer arrivals, available for collectors who wish to honor our fallen servicemen and servicewomen.

The Greatest Generation refers to those born 1901-1927 and who made up the majority of the 16 million serving in World War II. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

As stated by the United States Mint, “the 2024 Greatest Generation Commemorative Coin Program honors the service and sacrifice of American soldiers and civilians during World War II.” More than 16 million Americans served in the United States Armed Forces over the course of World War II. According to statistics kept by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there may be fewer than 100,000 World War II veterans with us today. The silver dollar seen above was designed by two members of the Artistic Infusion Program, Beth Zaiken (obverse) and Benjamin Sowards (reverse). In addition to these dollars, clad half dollars and gold five dollar coins are also being sold with surcharges supporting the Friends of the National World War II Memorial.

The Purple Heart coins of 2022 further commemorate those lost and wounded in combat. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

The Purple Heart is perhaps the most recognizable of all United States military medals. With roots tracing back as far as 1782 with the Badge of Military Merit, it was in the 20th century that the medal as we know it would come to be. The Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed as the result of enemy action. The medal itself was designed in 1931 by Elizabeth Will and sculpted by a very familiar name to numismatists: John R. Sinnock. The 2022 National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Proof Half Dollar pays tribute to those wounded or killed in combat, profoundly summed up with the inscriptions of “ALL GAVE SOME” and “SOME GAVE ALL” on the obverse and reverse respectively. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor also received a colorized dollar in 2022.

For those wishing to add any of the aforementioned pieces to their collections, PCGS-graded Purple Heart coins are available for slight premiums with PCGS PR69DCAM dollars currently having a PCGS Price Guide value of $165, or $70 over the coin’s original issue price. As of the time this was written, all Greatest Generation coins were still available directly through the U.S. Mint, with a growing PCGS population.

History Modern Commemoratives

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