2016 Coin Review
Last year was certainly one for the record books… And we’re just talking about coins! One of the biggest numismatic events of the year was the end of the Presidential dollar series. The program mandated that presidents must have been deceased for at least two years before their coin’s design was due. So although four new dollar designs had been issued each year for the last decade, just three were released in 2016. Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan were honored.
Of course, the excitement over the final Presidential dollars doesn’t mean we should overlook the other “golden” coin. The 2016 Native American dollar. It pays tribute to Native American “Code Talkers”. During World War I and World War II, they used their tribal languages to conduct secret military communications between Allied forces.
Celebrating the big 3-0
Another coinage event was marked in 2016 with special 30th anniversary Uncirculated and Proof Silver American Eagles featuring one-year-only edge lettering. The bullion versions of the coin that aren’t available directly to the public from the mint continued with the traditional reeded edge.
Commemorative Coins of 2016
As the Presidential dollar series was wrapping up, some of the minds here at Littleton thought “it’s a shame that the remaining presidents won’t have their own dollar…” So we had our team of talented artists colorize some of the existing coins with golden-hued images of Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. Yes – we have full-color versions, too!
Speaking of anniversaries, it was also the 100th anniversary of America’s National Park Service. Of course, an event like that wouldn’t go unnoticed. The Park Service’s 2016 centennial was marked with three official commemoratives. Uncirculated and Proof versions of half dollars, 90% silver dollars and $5 gold pieces were issued. All bear designs honoring the history, heritage and culture that’s now been preserved for generations.
Of course, that also means that each of the five quarters issued last year – honoring Shawnee National Forest, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) – have the distinction of being (very indirect) 100th anniversary commemoratives!
Another great commemorative from last year celebrates the life and legacy of one of America’s greatest authors. Born in 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens adopted the pen name Mark Twain from his days as a river pilot. He went on to publish 28 books, including The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Just like the pages of his books, the obverse and reverse designs of the Mark Twain commemorative silver dollar are almost magical.
Gold coins round out the year
Another exciting occasion for collectors everywhere was the debut of three gold commemorative coins. All three designs honored the centennial of some of America’s best-loved silver classics – the Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and Liberty Walking half dollar.
As always, the mint delivered with its standard fare (cents, nickels, dimes and half dollars). My favorite way to collect these pieces is in the annual Mint & Proof Sets.
What were your favorite U.S. coin issues from 2016? And keep an eye out – next month, I’ll cover some fun world coins that debuted last year, too!