Numismatics can catch their curve-ball coins starting today.
The U.S. Mint has struck its first curved coin to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Congress passed a law in 2012 that called on “the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Baseball may (or may not!) have originated in Cooperstown, New York. But the metals celebrating the Hall of Fame find inspiration across the Atlantic. The French Mint’s 2009 coins marking the Year of Astronomy, specifically referenced in the enabling legislation, inspire the unusual convex-concave design.
The coin features a raised baseball on its convex side. The obverse side shows a glove. The winner of a competition authorized by Congress designed the concave side of the coin. Baseball Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton, and Dave Winfield adjudicated the competition.
Cassie McFarland’s “Hand Full of Gold” design beat out 177 other entries. The depiction from the 28-year-old artist from San Luis Obispo, California features a stylized baseball glove complimented by two shafts of wheat on the side of the glove, which unite with the glove’s stitching to form a circle. The overall portrait depicts unity and the importance of our national pastime to American culture.
The San Francisco Mint produced the coins. The commemorative items will be sold at a premium of $35, $10, and $5 respectively. Proceeds benefit the Cooperstown-based National Baseball Hall of Fame’s nonprofit operations.
Cost-conscious collectors can save $5 if they buy during the first month. The actual prices for these collector coins run significantly higher in the private market. Proof half-dollar coins will start at $23.95 while the silver dollar proof coins will sell for $56.95. The market prices the gold coins at $441.90 but this price varies on the weekly gold price on the London Gold Market Fixing Limited.
The coins work not only as collectibles but as legal tender, too. The legislation called for not more than 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar coins. Given that their value in coin shops will greatly exceed their value in cheese shops, it’s doubtful that many will spend the coins as they do quarters.
Like the Hall of Famers that they commemorate, the coins will be valuable because they are rare–and come along only once every so often.