Coins - 1991 Prestige
In 1991, Mount Rushmore celebrated its 50th or golden anniversary. The US Mint acknowledged the
50th anniversary with commemorative silver dollar and clad half dollar coins in the 1991
The size and outer format of the packaging remained the same as the recent years with only minor
changes in the colors used for the outer box, inner book and Certificate of
The 1991 Prestige Set contained seven proof coins including five standard coinage,
a commemorative silver dollar and a commemorative clad half dollar. The coins equal $2.41
in face value. The US Mint initially sold the 1991 Prestige Set for $59 which would be $94.27
in 2010 money using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.
The smoke gray outer box forms the backdrop for the silver print of the heraldic
eagle emblem and the inscription "UNITED STATES 1991 PRESTIGE SET."
The two-piece box measures 5 1/4 inches by 7 3/8 inches by 1 5/8 inches when closed.
Inside the two-piece outer box, the book holding the seven proof coins fits securely along with the
Smoke gray velvet, not quite as soft as previous years, covers the padded exterior of
the coin book with metal brackets protecting the corners of the book. The metallic symbol
for the heraldic eagle centers the front cover of the coin book.
Inside the front cover, off-white padded fabric highlights the silver print of the heraldic eagle
and the inscription "UNITED STATES MINT 1991 PRESTIGE SET."
A red, white and blue ribbon attaches to form a triangle across the lower left. This ribbon can be used to
secure the Certificate
of Authenticity inside the set.
On the right, plastic in two shades of soft gray holds the seven coins securely. The coins'
obverse and reverse designs can be seen behind clear acrylic. At the top, the silver commemorative silver
dollar takes the position of prominence with the commemorative clad half dollar taking the lower right
Turning the book over to view the reverse, the inside back cover contains padding to
protect the coins' plastic and acrylic holder.
Begun in 1927 and completed in 1941, 1991 marked the 50th anniversary of the Mount Rushmore monument to
freedom and democracy with the visages of four presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore
Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Sculptor Gutson Borglum worked on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial while leaving his work on the Stone
Mountain carving to be finished by others. The total cost of Mount Rushmore came in just under $1M at
$989,992. In today's dollars that would be more than $15M.
Throughout the work, as faces were finished, officials held ceremonial dedications at the site. George
Washington's dedication occurred in 1934, Thomas Jefferson in 1936, Abraham Lincoln in 1937 and Theodore Roosevelt
Initially, Thomas Jefferson was to reside on George Washington's right, but after work began the area was too
unstable. The work was blasted away and new plans moved Jefferson to Washington's left.
During the 14 years of demolition and carving, roughly two million tons of rock was blasted to form
the monument of the four presidents. Much of the rock can still be seen in the scree below the carved
The obverse of the commemorative silver dollar shows the mountain portraits of the four presidents with
"LIBERTY" above and "GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL" below. The year of the coin, 1991, is
embedded in the mountainside.
The lower rim of the coin holds laurel wreathing the bottom of the engraving. A banner in the middle of the
laurel says, "IN GOD WE TRUST."
The dollar reverse shows the heraldic eagle emblem over an outline of the contiguous United States. A star
highlights the location of the monument in South Dakota with "SHRINE OF DEMOCRACY" inscribed just below.
"UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" moves across the top of the coin with "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "ONE
DOLLAR" at the bottom rim of the coin.
The commemorative clad half dollar provides a different perspective on the monument. The
monument's national park includes over 1200 acres, and in round numbers, the park attracts two
million visitors annually.
The obverse shows "LIBERTY" above the presidential portraits and "MOUNT RUSHMORE" along with "IN GOD WE TRUST"
and "1991" below.
Fifty stars equidistantly surround the reverse of the commemorative clad half dollar with "UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "HALF DOLLAR" and "GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY" inscribed within the circle of
The American Buffalo dignifies the middle of the coin with his proud bearing and symbolizes the
heritage of this great land.
One historical reference comments that Mount Rushmore represents the first 150 years of the history of the
United States of America. In reality with the icons of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, the monument epitomizes
the struggles for freedom and self-government they endured. Their ceaseless fight for liberty provided us
the immeasurable independence we enjoy today.