The FIFA World Cup soccer tournament was held in the US for the first time in 1994; Brazil defeated Italy in the final match on penalty kicks 3 to 2 to win the trophy. To mark the US' hosting of the tournament, a set of US commemorative coins was sponsored by World Cup USA 1994, Inc. â€" the tournament's organizing committee â€" and issued by the US Mint. The set included a $5.00 gold coin, a silver dollar and a clad half-dollar; the coins were available in proof and uncirculated finishes.
The three coins shared a common reverse, the sponsoring organization's logo between a pair of laurel branches. The obverse of the gold half-eagle depicts the World Cup's Championship Trophy, the design of the silver dollar features two soccer players battling for control of the ball, and the half-dollar portrays a single soccer player advancing the ball up field. Dean McMullen was responsible for the common reverse design as well as the obverse of the silver dollar, William J. Krawczewicz designed the obverse of the gold $5.00 coin and Richard T. LaRoche designed the obverse of the half-dollar. 1994 World Cup Gold Half-Eagle â€" Obverse1994 World Cup Silver Dollar â€" Obverse1994 World Cup Clad Half-Dollar â€" Obverse1994 World Cup Coins â€" Common Reverse
Regular issue prices for each coin were as follows:
- Gold $5.00: $220 (Proof) and $205 (Uncirculated)
- Silver $1.00: $31 (Proof) and $28 (Uncirculated)
- Clad $0.50: $10.50 (Proof) and $9.50 (Uncirculated)
An interesting side note of the World Cup commemorative coinage program, while the World Cup 1994 group received approximately $9.3 million in collected surcharges based on sales of the commemorative coins, the US Mint lost approximately $4.1 million based on lower than expected sales. The US Mint's financial loss generated by the 1994 World Cup coin program was one of the catalysts for reform in how surcharges are distributed for modern US commemorative coins; under today's rules, all US Mint costs for the coin program would have been recovered before any surcharges were distributed to the sponsor.
World Cup USA 1994 heavily promoted the games and was responsible for issuing and authorizing a wide range of souvenirs to mark the event. Among the many items available were a pair of philatelic-numismatic covers (PNCs) - now often simply called "coin covers" â€" that included the three US stamps issued for the World Cup and an uncirculated half-dollar. The first cover was a "First Day Cover" issued on the date the stamps were first released by the USPS (26 May 1994); it was postmarked at the site of the first match - East Rutherford, NJ. The second was an "Event Cover" that was issued/postmarked on the day the Championship Game took place (17 July 1994). 1994 World Cup PNC First Day Cover â€" Front1994 World Cup PNC First Day Cover â€" Back1994 World Cup PNC Championship Game Event Cover â€" Front1994 World Cup PNC Championship Game Event Cover â€" Back
Part II of my post on the 1994 World Cup coins will focus on the special packaging options avaialble for the coins.Read More: Commems Collection