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Commems Collection Modern: 1996 Atlanta Olympics High Jump Dollar

 
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 Posted 11/21/2021  1:34 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The 1995-96 commemorative program for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games stands as the largest US coin program (in terms of distinct coins) in either the classic or modern era of commemoratives. The two-year program included four CuNi-clad half dollars, eight 0.900 fine silver dollars and four 0.900 fine gold half eagles ($5 coins) - half were issued in 1995, half in 1996. As each was available in Proof and Uncirculated versions, a "one of every coin" collector needs 32 distinct coins to have a complete set!

For discussion here, I present the 1996 Atlanta Olympics High Jump silver dollar.

The obverse design of the High Jump silver dollar was created by Calvin Massey, an independent professional artist. US Mint Sculptor-Engraver (and future Chief Engraver of the US Mint) John Mercanti modeled Massey's design in preparation for the creation of the coin's dies. Massey's initials are seen at the rim at approximately the 4:30 clock position; Mercanti's "JM" initials follow the "CM" of Massey.

The design features a female high jumper in mid-jump - shown at the moment she is clearing the bar. She is jumping with her back to the bar (i.e., the "back-first technique), a style developed and popularized by Dick Fosbury - it became famous internationally after he used it to win the Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Fosbury began developing his new jumping style while still in High School in 1963/64. It went on to become known as the "Fosbury Flop." Far from being a "flop," thee approach proved to be a very effective high jump technique and has been adopted by essentially all high jumpers around the world. At the Games in Mexico City, Fosbury used the technique to establish an Olympic record (at the time) with a jump of 7' 4-1/4". (Just FYI, the current World record (men's) for the high jump was set by Javier Sotomayor in 1993; he successfully completed a jump of 8' 1/4" (2.45 meters).

The four silver dollars of 1995 and the four silver dollars of 1996 each share, as a group, a common reverse design. The reverse design for each year includes the logo/emblem created by the Atlanta Committee for the Games of the XXVI Olympiad (ACOG). From Olympics.com, the emblem is described as follows:

"The base of the torch mark logo, made of the five Rings and the number 100, resembles a classical Greek column and recognizes the centennial of the Games. The torch mark's flames gradually evolve into a perfect star symbolizing each athlete's pursuit of excellence. The gold color in this logo represents gold medals. The green represents laurel branches worn by winners in ancient times, as well as Atlanta's reputation as the City of Trees."

Emblem of Atlanta Committee for the Games of the XXVI Olympiad (ACOG)


The reverse of the 1996 dollars feature ACOG's logo/emblem at left, with commemorative inscriptions to the right of the emblem and legally-required inscriptions around the rim. The coin's design captures the stylized design of the ACOG emblem and its flames into stars, depicting one partial star and three fully-formed stars. The design and modeling are the work of US Mint's Sculptor-Engraver Thomas D. Rogers, Sr.

The Proof version of the coin carried an issue price of $34.95 ($30.95 Pre-Issue); the regular prices of the Uncirculated coin was $31.95 ($27.95 Pre-Issue). The authorizing legislation for the coins specified a maximum of 1,000,000 coins for the issue, but actual sales fell far short of such a figure. The Proof version of the coin sold 127,173 units, with the Uncirculated version selling 16,485. The 143,658 total coin sold is just ~14.4% of the maximum allowed!

The coins were available individually, as well as part of 32-coin, 16-coin, 8-coin, 4-coin and 2-coin sets - lots of options for the collector!

1996 Atlanta Olympics High Jump Silver Dollar



For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, check out: Read More: Commems Collection.





Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 11/21/2021  2:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Graceful composition, really like it.
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 Posted 11/22/2021  05:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Outstanding summary of this coin and overview of the Atlanta Olympic series coin availability, thank you.

The reverse image appears to show a Denver mintmark, at least that is my interpretation of the solitary D at 6:00 position above the E in ONE.

If so, was the Atlanta Olympic series a single mint series, all coins from Denver? Or was each example struck at multiple mints necessitating a multiple of 32 coins for a complete set?
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 Posted 11/22/2021  09:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Was the Atlanta Olympic series a single mint series, all coins from Denver? Or was each example struck at multiple mints necessitating a multiple of 32 coins for a complete set?


Good question!

The authorizing legislation for the Atlanta coin program specifically stated "that not more than one facility of the United States Mint may be used to strike any particular combination of denomination and quality." It did not require, however, that just one facility be used. The mints at Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point were used to produce coins for the program - it was not a single-mint series.

The Mint struck the silver dollars for the Atlanta program at Philadelphia and Denver, with the Proof coins being struck in Philadelphia and the Uncirculated coins all being handled by the Denver facility - no overlap. For the CuNi clad 50-cent coins and the gold half eagles, the Mint struck Proof and Uncirculated versions at the same Mint facility; San Francisco for all the CuNi clad coins and West Point for all the gold.

The Mint did, fortunately, limit the number of mints used to one-per-type for the clad and gold coins, so multiple Mint facilities did not strike the same CuNi or gold coins in either Proof or Uncirculated (i.e., there are no "P" and "S" Uncirculated 1995 Baseball half dollars , just "S" strikes).

In the end, there were 16 different denomination/design combinations struck - 32 if Proof and Uncirculated versions are counted. To go beyond 32, you would need to collect the coins by their various packaging options.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 11/22/2021  11:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add carlp007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great information. The proof set is on my list, unless you tell me that there is something special about the UNC coins like you did with the 1992 UNC Baseball commemorative coin.
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 Posted 11/22/2021  12:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...unless you tell me that there is something special about the UNC coins...

@carlp007: I'm not aware of there being anything "special" about the UNC version of this issue, I just prefer the look of the Mint's Uncirculated modern commemorative coins over the Proof coins. (I find that the proof coins are more susceptible to unattractive toning and milkiness over time.) As I'm the one making the purchase, I go with my personal preference!

Of course, the lower mintage of nearly all the Uncirculated issues is a nice plus!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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