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Commems Collection Modern: 1987 US Constitution Bicentennial

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 Posted 01/21/2022  3:12 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Within the modern US commemorative series, there are several coin programs that I have always been partial toward - the 1987 US Constitution Bicentennial program is one. It's not from love of the program's coin designs, though I do like the obverse of the gold coin, it reflects more my admiration and respect for the Constitution as a framework for Government. For me, the coins are exactly the type of commemorative pieces I like to see!

The program consists of two coins, a Silver Dollar and a Gold Half Eagle. When introduced, the Constitution Bicentennial bill also included provisions for the striking of gold, silver and bronze medals for the benefit of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. The bill was amended to remove the authorization for the medals and was passed without the medal program's provisions.

Unlike most US commemorative coins, the coins did not have a private sponsor - funds raised through the sale of the coins was to be directed toward reducing the national debt.

Silver Dollar

Per the Public Law that authorized the two coins, the design of the Silver Dollar was to be "emblematic of the bicentennial of the United States Constitution." Such non-specific direction from Congress gave the coin's designer the freedom to explore a range of designs. The designer did, however, have to consult with the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution and the Commission of Fine Arts re: the design.

The obverse design of the Silver Dollar features a quill pen presented over pages of parchment paper (alluding to the US Constitution) with "We the People" (the famous opening phrase of the US Constitution) written below it. The coin's reverse design presents a large group of people of varied time periods and backgrounds that is meant to represent the wide diversity to be found among the peoples of the US. The designs were created by freelance artist and sculptor Patrica Lewis Verani of Londonberry, NH.

The 0.900 fine Silver Dollar had an issue price of $26.00 ($22.50 Pre-Issue) and a final mintage of 3,198,745 (2,747,116 Proof coins and 451,629 Uncirculated). With such large mintage totals, examples of either finish are easy to come by and at a price that is typically driven more by intrinsic value vs. numismatic premium. The coin's authorizing legislation allowed up to 10 million Silver Dollars to be struck. So, though sales of ~3.2 million coins are nothing to complain about, it did represent less than one-third of what could have been struck/sold.

Each coin carried a $7.00 surcharge; as noted above, all surcharge funds raised through the sale of the coins were to be paid to the Treasury to help reduce the national debt. Approximately $22.39 million in surcharge funds were collected from Silver Dollar sales.


1987 US Constitution Bicentennial Silver Dollar



Gold Half Eagle

On its obverse, the gold coin presents a stylized, left-facing bald eagle that is clutching a quill pen in its right talon; the quill extends in a northeast direction across the face of the coin. In the background are seen 13 rays of sun light - the "13" being representative of the original 13 states that ratified the US Constitution.

The reverse design also features a quill. The feather is presented at the design's center with "We the People" inscribed over/in front of it. The "Sept 17 1787" date to the left of the quill (viewer's perspective) refers to the date the delegates at the Constitutional Convention signed the document. Thirteen stars are symbolically included in the design (same symbolism as on obverse).

The coin's designs are the work of independent artist/sculptor Marcel Jovine.

The 0.900 fine Gold Half Eagle had an issue price of $225.00 ($200.00 Pre-Issue) and a final mintage of 865,884 (651,659 Proof and 214,225 Uncirculated). As with the Silver Dollar, the large mintage total means that coins in either finish are fairly easy to come by in the marketplace and at a price that is typically driven more by intrinsic value vs. numismatic premium. The coin's authorizing legislation allowed up to 1 million God Half Eagles to be struck. So, it sold ~86.5% of its authorized maximum - an excellent sales performance.

Each coin carried a $35.00 surcharge; as with the Silver Dollar, all surcharge funds collected via the sale of the coins were to be paid to the Treasury to help reduce the national debt. Approximately $30.3 million in surcharge funds were collected from sales of the Gold Half Eagles.


1987 US Constitution Bicentennial Gold Half Eagle




To learn more about the coins of the US Constitution Bicentennial, check out:

- 1987 US Constitution Bicentennial PNC
- US Commemorative Coins Authorized to Reduce the National Debt
- 1987 US Constitution Bicentennial - Silver Dollar - Coins with Quill Pens Thread
- 1987 US Constitution Bicentennial - Gold Half Eagle - Coins with Quill Pens Thread


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 Posted 01/21/2022  3:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ijn1944 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I like the '87 gold half eagle.
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 Posted 01/21/2022  9:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add carlp007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks commems. I really like the eagle on the gold obverse. I have the proof silver dollar in my collection. One of my first commemorative coins.
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 Posted 01/21/2022  9:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add livingwater to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I inherited a 1987 set from my stepdad. Also inherited a 1984 Olympic set with first gold coin US minted since 1933. I won't sell them, pass them on to my daughter.

Edited by livingwater
01/21/2022 9:48 pm
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 Posted 01/22/2022  06:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very informative thread - thanks commems.

I really enjoy the deisgn of the gold $5 coin. I'm starting to consider researching that modern denomination to discover if there is a compelling reason to collect them.
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 01/22/2022  07:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I'm starting to consider researching that modern denomination to discover if there is a compelling reason to collect them.

IMO, the Half Eagle series features some of the true design gems of the modern commemorative era. The 1986 Statue of Liberty, the 1987 Constitution, the 1988 Olympics, the 1999 Washington, the 2011 Medal of Honor, the 2015 US Marshals and the 2019 American Legion Half Eagles all feature standout designs to my eye (though the design execution on some is stronger on one side than it is on the other)!

If you decide to pursue the series, "Good Luck!" and "Enjoy!"


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 Posted 01/22/2022  07:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Thanks for stopping by and engaging - always appreciated!


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 Posted 01/22/2022  9:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadDog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I really enjoy the deisgn of the gold $5 coin. I'm starting to consider researching that modern denomination to discover if there is a compelling reason to collect them.


IMHO it's a nice series to collect. You can collect uncirculated or proof versions or both if you want. Early coins (1980s) mintages are higher than the recent coins, which generally have low (some less than 3000) mintages. The 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness coin, although IMO not one of the better designs, has, I believe, the unique distinction of being the only 18k gold US coin. As is the case with dollar and half dollar modern commemoratives, the designs for the half eagles can be hit or miss. My personal favorite is the 2016 Mark Twain.
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 Posted 01/23/2022  06:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness coin, although IMO not one of the better designs, has, I believe, the unique distinction of being the only 18k gold US coin


I was not aware of that - appreciate you sharing that information BadDog.

A Google search along the lines of 'listing of US $5 commemorative coins' reveals several pages of sellers of these coins - but not a simple chronological summary of the series with basic information such as date, mintage, paragraph summary of the topic and photographs.

Can anyone suggest an appropriate reference? I'd use commems but he's busy on other topics.

Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 01/23/2022  07:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Can anyone suggest an appropriate reference? I'd use commems but he's busy on other topics.

What is this "Busy on other topics" of which you speak?

Here's a reliable list, from PCGS Coin Facts:

- Modern Gold Commemoratives


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 Posted 01/23/2022  08:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@commems - Thank you for the PCGS hyperlink, thats what I was looking for to begin browsing the series.

My dog-eared and well hand notated A Guide Book of United States Commemorative Coins ends at the 2007 issues.

Interesting that there are only three members of the $10 gold commemorative series. That would be a pretty quick short set to complete.


Quote:
What is this "Busy on other topics" of which you speak?


I thought perhaps that you might be compiling all of your commems collection topics into the first draft of the forthcoming book.
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
Edited by nickelsearcher
01/23/2022 08:25 am
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 Posted 01/23/2022  12:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add BadDog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Interesting that there are only three members of the $10 gold commemorative series.

There are only 3 different designs for the commemorative gold Eagles (1984 Olympics, 2000 Library of Congress and 2003 First Flight), but if you collect the proof coins and care about mint marks, then the Olympic coins were minted at all 4 mints P,D,S and W (BTW, I believe this is unique for US Mint coins as well. A proof version of the coin minted at all active US Mint facilities at the time). The Library of Congress coin is also, I believe, unique in that it is the only US Mint bi-metallic coin (platinum and gold) issued to date.


Quote:
Here's a reliable list, from PCGS Coin Facts:

PCGS information is typically pretty good, but you might want to take a look at the Mint's websites: Commemorative Coin Programs and Historical Commemorative Coin Sales Figures
Edited by BadDog
01/23/2022 12:47 pm
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 Posted 01/24/2022  09:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add livingwater to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The 2018 Breast Cancer gold coin is more than 18K. 18K is 75% gold, the coin is 85% gold.
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 Posted 01/24/2022  09:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The 2018 Breast Cancer gold coin is more than 18K. 18K is 75% gold, the coin is 85% gold.

This is correct.

The coin's authorizing legislation specified "pink gold" with a gold content of at least 75%. The production coin's composition met this criteria as it was 85% gold, 14.8% copper and 0.2% zinc.


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 Posted 01/24/2022  10:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I inherited a 1987 set from my stepdad. Also inherited a 1984 Olympic set with first gold coin US minted since 1933. I won't sell them, pass them on to my daughter.
Excellent!
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