In digging through boxes recently, an Olympic medal commemorating the Atlanta Centennial games turned up. This was a medal, not a coin, and was minted by the Liberty Mint.
But, it’s interesting to look back at the Olympic coins minted by the US Mint. They started in 1983 with a commemorative silver dollar – the first 90% silver dollar since 1935 – recognizing the XXIII Olympiad to be held in Los Angeles in 1984. For the next year, the year of the Olympics, the Mint produced another silver dollar along with a ten dollar gold coin – the first gold commemorative since the 1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence’s gold quarter eagle.
Then, again in 1988, the US Mint produced two commemorative Olympic coins, a silver dollar and a gold five-dollar coin. For the next games held in 1992, the Mint delivered three commemorative coins, a clad half dollar, a silver dollar and a gold five-dollar coin. Skipping the Atlanta games for a minute, in 2002 for the Salt Lake City games, the Mint provided two commemorative coins, a silver dollar and a gold five-dollar coin.
But, for the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games, the US Mint outdid themselves with a total of sixteen coins – eight in 1995 and eight in 1996. In each year, the Mint produced two cupro-nickel clad half dollar coins, four silver dollar coins and two gold five-dollar coins.
|1995||Clad half dollar||Basketball – three players vying for the ball||The Atlanta Olympic logo located in the Atlantic ocean on a world map|
|1995||Clad half dollar||Baseball – a player ready to take a pitch, a catcher and an umpire at home plate||Same as above|
|1995||Silver dollar||Gymnastics – a female gymnast on a floor exercise and a male gymnast on the rings||The Atlanta Olympic logo above two clasped hands|
|1995||Silver dollar||Paralymics – a blind runner with his running partner||Same as above|
|1995||Silver dollar||Track & Field – two runners nearing the finish line||Same as above|
|1995||Silver dollar||Cycling – three cyclists, one in the lead and two drafting||Same as above|
|1995||Gold five-dollar||Torch Runner with the Atlanta skyline and the Atlanta Olympic logo in the background||An eagle holding a banner with the years 1896-1996 recognizing the centennial games|
|1995||Gold five-dollar||Stadium – the main venue for the games including the opening and closing ceremonies||Same as above|
|1996||Clad half dollar||Swimming – a competing swimmer taking a breath||The Atlanta Olympic logo|
|1996||Clad half dollar||Soccer – two women soccer players in competition for the ball||Same as above|
|1996||Silver dollar||Tennis – a female player preparing to return a ball||The Atlanta Olympic logo to the left and “Atlanta 1996 Centennial Olympic Games” on the right|
|1996||Silver dollar||Paralympics – a wheelchair athlete triumphant in his competition||Same as above|
|1996||Silver dollar||Rowing – a four man rowing team||Same as above|
|1996||Silver dollar||High Jump – an athlete clearing the bar in the high jump||Same as above|
|1996||Gold five-dollar||Flag bearer – an athlete carrying the American flag with other athletes waving behind him||The Atlanta Olympic logo with olive branches on either side|
|1996||Gold five-dollar||Cauldron – an athlete with torch held high lighting the Olympic cauldron||Same as above|
Now, with the US Mint busy with all of those coins, it’s no wonder the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games went to another mint for their medals. Let’s look at this medal found in a box:
The burgundy felt box:
The obverse of the medal:
The reverse of the medal:
Of particular interest (“one troy ounce .999 fine silver”):
The certificate of authenticity:
Contents of the certificate:
This summer will be fifteen years since the Atlanta Centennial Games held everyone in thrall. Perhaps the excitement has diminished somewhat, however, be careful when you’re going through your memorabilia. It may be just a medal –not a coin and not from the US Mint, but it could still be worthwhile.
It’s becoming even more worthwhile as silver continues its upward climb.