What is a commemorative coin? Generally speaking a commemorative coin is a coin which is not in general circulation and is issued to mark special events or occasions.
Recent commemorative coins include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympic Games. Generally speaking commemorative coins are generally sold at prices markedly above their face value. One of the reasons for this is that sometimes a small portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting the charity or events which is directly related to the issue of the coin.
One such example of this is that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the San Francisco old Mint commemorative coin, was set aside to fund a museum in the old San Francisco Mint building which is still open to the public to this day.
One of the most controversial commemorative coins issued recently in the United States of America include the so-called ‘justice coin’. The justice coin depicts the capture of Osama Bin Laden and is currently courting controversy in the United States. One side of the coin features a picture of the two Towers, flight 93 and the Pentagon building. Many people have remarked that this coin is simply bad taste; while proponents say it is a great way to mark a momentous occasion for the United States.
The minters of the justice coin however say that a large percentage of the proceeds is going towards the charity which helps war veterans; although they are not willing to divulge the exact percentage.
Commemorative coins are usually only issued for one year in which the occasion they are depicting has taken place, although there are exceptions to this rule with some of the more popular commemorative coins still on sale today, long after the initial issue date.
Sometimes coins which started a commemoration have sometimes gone into full circulation and have become regular currency coins. One high-profile example of this in the United States the US Lincoln Cent as well as the Washington quarter. Both of these coins when issued were supposed to be one time offer lasting for one year but they became so popular that they ended up in general circulation. The public liked them so much that the Mint kept producing them and the rest is history.
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