The surcharges collected by some commemorative coin sponsors do not always wind up being used for their intended purposes. For example, the 1998 Black Revolutionary War Patriots commemorative coin program was enacted to generate funds for the "construction of a Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial" in Washington, DC, but it was never built.
The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Foundation was the silver dollar's sponsor and received from Congress the necessary authorization to construct the memorial in October 1986. Though good intentioned and possessing a vision for the memorial, it never captured the attention of enough corporations/individuals who would donate significant funds for its construction; it was also unsuccessful in securing the needed volume of smaller donations.
After a series of starts and stops, the Foundation grew disorganized, was subject to in-fighting and, ultimately, failed to raise the funds it needed to construct the memorial. The Foundation's Congressional authorization to develop the memorial on the Mall in Washington expired in 2005 after multiple extensions; the memorial was first authorized 18+ years earlier on October 27, 1986. The Foundation disbanded in 2005; the ~$1 million in surcharge funds received from coin sales was gone; if the coin had been a sell out, $5 million in surcharges would have been raised and might have made a difference, but sales fell significantly short of such a goal.
A different story can be told for the 1993 James Madison / Bill of Rights commemorative program. Surcharges from the coin program were to "be used to encourage teaching and graduate study of the Constitution of the United States, its roots, its formation, its principles, and its development." The Foundation received $9.2 million in surcharge funds from coin sales, and had already created a solid infrastructure to generate additional private donations to support its fellowships by the time the coin was issued. The successful Foundation continues to award annual fellowships and, each year, strives to award worthy recipients in all 50 states plus US territories.
In 1995, the Foundation recognized the American Numismatic Association ( ANA
) and its members' contributions to its funding initiatives (through the purchase of its coins) by awarding one of its fellowships in the name of the ANA
. Conrad Hall of Durham, NC was awarded the ANA
Fellowship. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke and was off to the University of North Carolina for his Masters. (Talk about switching sides on Tobacco Road!
The two organizations certainly offer contrasting views of how sponsors make use of the surcharges they receive!
If you'd like to learn more about the Foundation and its fellowship program, visit their web site at: James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation
.Coin images are courtesy of PCGS CoinFacts; http://www.PCGS.com.