Three numismatic products associated with the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program will be limited editions.
Two of the products involve the nation’s first colorized coins. A third coin will have a special finish.
U.S. Mint officials revealed details of the program following a Feb. 25 first-strike ceremony at the Philadelphia Mint for the Proof 2020-P Basketball silver dollar.
One limited product will be a colorized Proof 2020-S copper-nickel clad half dollar, with the colorization on the obverse only. The colorized coin will be limited to 75,000 pieces.
The Mint also plans to issue 75,000 colorized Proof 2020-P Basketball silver dollars. Only the reverse of the silver dollar will be colorized.
U.S. Mint officials released no statement about which elements of each coin design will be colorized or what color or colors will be used.
However, Mint Director David J. Ryder had one example of each of the two colorized coin versions available for display to those attending the ceremony, but Mint officials did not allow any images to be taken of the colorized coins.
Enlarged images of the colorized coins are to be unveiled April 4 during a ceremony in conjunction with the NCAA Final 4 in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Two attendees at the Feb. 25 first-strike ceremony at the Philadelphia Mint indicated to Coin World that the basketball on the reverse of the colorized Proof silver dollar is pebbled and is a brownish orange in color. The basketball rim is also reportedly colorized as well.
For the Basketball coins’ colorization, the coins are struck at a designated Mint production facility and will be shipped to an outside vendor to complete the process. This is the first program in which the U.S. Mint is transporting struck but unfinished U.S. coins outside a Mint facility for additional processing.
The Mint plans to offer noncolorized, plain versions as well as colorized versions.
Developing a colorization plan contributed to a delay in releasing the coins. Typically, the year’s first commemorative coins go on sale in January, as with the 2019 Apollo 11 coin program.
Enhanced Uncirculated half
Another announced limited-edition product is intended for children. The Mint will offer a maximum 75,000-edition 2020 Kid’s Basketball set, featuring an Enhanced Uncirculated 2020-S half dollar, in special packaging. The coin is being struck at the San Francisco Mint.
Typically, U.S. commemorative coins are offered only in Proof and Uncirculated versions.
The limited-edition, colorized coins will not be available when the U.S. Mint opens sales at noon Eastern Time April 4 for the Basketball Hall of Fame commemoratives. The Kids sets will be available for purchase April 4 online from the Mint’s website only.
Because of packaging issues, the Kid’s Basketball sets will not be available for in-person sales at the April 4 Atlanta event nor at the Mint’s sales centers at Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C., nor contracted sales outlets at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints.
The April 4 date coincides with the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.
About the program
The limited-edition coin productions will be included in the maximum congressionally authorized mintages, in Proof and Uncirculated versions combined, of 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars. The program also includes a maximum of 50,000 Proof and Uncirculated gold $5 coins.
The gold $5 coins — none of which will have added colors — are being struck with the W Mint mark at the West Point Mint.
The Proof and Uncirculated silver dollars will be struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark.
The Proof copper-nickel clad half dollar is being struck at the San Francisco Mint with the S Mint mark and the regular Uncirculated half dollar is being struck at the Denver Mint with the D Mint mark.
All three denominations bear the same designs in common for their concave obverse and convex reverse. That follows the model established with the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program, which also offered three different coins with the same designs. The 2019 Apollo 11 coin program also featured concave/convex coins with matching designs, and included silver dollars of two sizes.
The obverse of the Basketball coins, according to the Mint’s narrative, “features three players reaching for the ball in unison, reflecting how the sport of basketball has brought together diverse people around the world through a simple, universal, and unifying athletic experience. Their arms are slightly elongated to emphasize the full exertion of physical and mental energy required to excel in this sport. The rim and net are subtle background design elements complementing the three players.”
The reverse depicts a basketball about to pass through the net.
The obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Justin Kunz as winner of the Mint’s public design competition and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso.
The reverse was designed by AIP artist Donna Weaver, who retired from the U.S. Mint engraving staff in 2006. U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill sculpted the Basketball reverse.
The approved reverse was one of 23 designs submitted by the AIP artists and Mint’s engraving staff for consideration by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed the designs.
Ceremonial first strike
At the U.S. Mint-hosted ceremonial first-strike event Feb. 25, invited guests were permitted to strike a Proof 2020-P Basketball silver dollar. Invited luminaries who struck coins include National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Julius Erving and Women’s National Basketball Association great Sheryl Swoopes. Other guests included John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; Donald R. Senecal, chief financial officer for the Hall of Fame; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who sponsored the authorizing legislation; and Thomas J. Uram, chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and president of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists.
During his remarks, U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder said that “every day, across the Nation, the United States Mint connects Americans through coins, and it is our great privilege to connect America to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Basketball players have been depicted on U.S. commemorative coins previously. A 1995 copper-nickel clad half dollar celebrating the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta celebrates the sport. Many other sports-themed commemorative coins have also been issued, most related to a commemorative coin program.
FROM DECEMBER 2019:
The Mint informed Coin World Feb. 20 it had just approved a contract with an undisclosed outside vendor to execute the colorization.
The Mint will open sales for versions of the Proof and Uncirculated dollars and half dollars without colorization on April 4, along with the gold $5 coins to be minted only in noncolorized versions.
The April 4 offering will include a limited-edition Basketball Hall of Fame Kids set. The number of sets to be offered and what the set will contain is not yet disclosed.
The Philadelphia Mint was scheduled Feb. 25 to host a ceremonial first strike event for the Proof 2020-P Basketball silver dollar. No colorization is involved in this striking event.
Mint officials have not disclosed whether colorization will be reserved for Proof versions of the dollars and half dollars or will also be applied to the Uncirculated version.
The dollars and half dollars that will be colorized will be struck with their concave obverse and convex reverse at various Mint facilities and then shipped in batches to the outside vendor for the color application.
The number of coins that will be designated for colorization will comprise part of the maximum 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 half dollars legislatively authorized.
All three coin denominations are being struck with a concave obverse and convex reverse, in the same manner as the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame coins and 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coins.
The silver dollars are being struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and will carry a P Mint mark.
The Uncirculated copper-nickel clad half dollar is being struck at the Denver Mint, with a D Mint mark, and the Proof half dollar at the San Francisco Mint, with an S Mint mark.
The .900 fine gold coins are being struck at the West Point Mint and will bear the W Mint mark.
Production on all three denominations has commenced at each of the respective facilities.
The authorizing legislation, Public Law 115-343, calls for production and release, in Proof and Uncirculated versions combined, of no more than 50,000 $5 coins, 400,000 dollar coins and 750,000 half dollars.
Each gold coin’s purchase price will include a $35 surcharge, each silver dollar a $10 surcharge, and every clad half dollar a $5 surcharge.
Net surcharges, after the U.S. Mint recoups all of its production and associated costs, are to be paid to “the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will enable increased operations and educational programming of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”
The Basketball obverse, recommended for approval to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts, was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Justin Kunz.
The design will be sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso.
Kunz’s design, according to the Mint, “portrays the fast pace, intensity, and hands-on action of a basketball game — the constant, competitive struggle for possession of the ball and the skill required to clear the hoop.
“The design features three players reaching for the ball in unison, reflecting how the sport of basketball has brought together diverse people around the world through a simple, universal, and unifying athletic experience.
“Their arms are slightly elongated to emphasize the full exertion of physical and mental energy required to excel in this sport. The rim and net are subtle background design elements complementing the three players.”
The common reverse, recommended by the Commission of Fine Arts, depicts a basketball as it descends through the net. The authorizing law required the depiction of a basketball, though its actual rendition was left to the Mint to determine.
The design is by Donna Weaver, an AIP artist and retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver.
Weaver’s design will be sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.