Remembrance Medallions

This year, 2011, marks the ten year anniversary of the tragedies caused by terrorism on September 11, 2001. Anniversaries provide opportunities to remember, and many different symbols can be purchased to help our efforts to not forget.

In looking around the US Mint web site, they recently published a caution about 10-year anniversary coins. For the ten year anniversary, a private mint offers a “commemorative anniversary dollar” that is a “Liberian government authorized legal tender coin.”

The cautionary article provides a reminder history lesson that Congress has the exclusive power to mint US coinage, and they delegate that power to the US Mint. In other words, the US Mint is the only authorized mint for US coinage.

The private mint is not illegally claiming their commemorative coin is a US coin, but the US Mint is concerned that people eager to take part in the tenth anniversary may mistakenly believe the coin is an official US Mint product.

Basically, it’s a legal marketing ploy by the private mint that skips along the boundary of ethics with their semantics.

On the other hand, the design of the private mint’s commemorative “dollar” is interesting.  If you like and can afford the “coin,” then buy it and enjoy it. But, don’t buy it for an expected increase in numismatic value.

Most collectors of American coinage are purists and want only US Mint coins and collectibles.

This private mint collectible might, a long shot, increase in value, but another difficulty would be finding a like-minded collector who would pay a premium.

Here’s an example of a remembrance medallion made just after the 9-11 attacks.

A small red box with a sticker on the front showing the flag and “Made in USA” holds the medallion.

9-11-2001 Official Freedom Medallion outer box with flag on cover
Opened, a piece of blue velvet flocked cardboard holds the medallion in its protective plastic over a square of foam padding.

9-11-2001 Official Freedom Medallion box opened showing contents

The obverse of the medallion shows the twin towers still standing with a flag proudly waving behind them. Below the towers on the blue water, the date “09-11-01” shows in red. Around the outer edge, the inscription states, “We salute our brave Americans” and “A date we dare not forget.”

9-11-2001 Official Freedom Medallion obverse image

On the opposite side of the remembrance medallion, the inscription shows a large “911” and along the outer ring, “Official Freedom Medallion” is across the top and “United States of America” is around the bottom.

9-11-2001 Official Freedom Medallion reverse image

Under the large “911,” a quote pulled from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address is noted. After being sworn into office, he stated in this portion of his inaugural address,

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

“This much we pledge–and more.”

The small medallion could not quite contain all of this particular point of his address, but his main message about the defense of liberty clearly shows on the reverse inscription.

This remembrance token is a beautiful and colorful symbol to help us remember 9-11-2001.

But, purchased as part of a coin collection, the medallion shown above added very little, if any, value to the price of all of the coins. Since it is not a coin and since it is not silver, its numismatic value was negligible.

Collect remembrance medallions for their beauty and their purpose, not for any numismatic value. Though doubtful, it may increase in value over time as a medal, but it won’t have value in the numismatic market.