Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame coins unveiled

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which is named after Canadian-born physician and inventor of the sport James Naismith, the U.S. Mint is slated to issue a set of dome-shaped commemorative coins.

Earlier this month, during the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Springfield Symphony Hall, U.S. Mint officials unveiled the designs for the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Coin Program. The designs will be featured on three dome-shaped coins—a $5 gold, $1 silver and half-dollar clad piece.

A design competition was launched this March, inviting artists to submit obverse designs to the U.S. Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (the coins’ common reverse design will depict a basketball).

The winning obverse design – by Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Justin Kunz – portrays the fast pace, intensity, and hands-on action of a basketball game, with 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. Inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “2020.”

The common reverse design, this by AIP artist Donna Weaver, depicts a basketball about to pass through the net, with the inscriptions of “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Additional inscriptions include “FIVE DOLLARS” on the gold coin, “ONE DOLLAR” on the silver dollar and “HALF DOLLAR” on the clad coin.

The legislation authorizes the mint to strike and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins; 400,000 $1 silver coins; and 750,000 half–dollar clad coins.

Surcharges collected from coin sales – $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin and $5 for each half-dollar coin – are authorized to be paid to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to fund an endowment that will enable increased operations and educational programming.

Located in Springfield, Mass., the Basketball Hall of Fame was officially opened – and inducted its first class – in 1959.

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