The 150th Anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor took place in 2011. This medal is awarded to military personnel who demonstrate valor against an enemy force in battle. It is awarded for conspicuous bravery against the enemy. The idea behind celebrating the anniversary was to draw attention to the recipients and to honor our military. First awarded in 1863 during the Civil War, the Medal of Honor currently has 3,525 recipients and 618 medals have been awarded posthumously. There are severe penalties for the wearing or, sale of or any unauthorized use of a Medal of Honor or stating that one was an awardee of a Medal of honor when one was not. Federal penalties are up to $100,000 and one year in jail. Congress authorized a commemorative Silver Dollar as well as a commemorative $5 Gold coin to honor these brave heroes.
Jim Licaretz designed as well as sculpted the obverse of this coin. The obverse depicts the three different Medals of Honor for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, all of which are worn around the neck of the recipient. The upper periphery has “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and the word “LIBERTY” below it. The lower periphery has “MEDAL OF HONOR 1861 – 2011.”
The reverse of this commemorative Silver Dollar depicts an infantry soldier carrying a wounded fellow soldier to safety, while facing enemy fire. The self-sacrifice and courage of the infantry soldier is intended to represent that many of these recipients put their lives in jeopardy to save their fellow soldiers. To the right of the soldiers is the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” Around the periphery is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and the denomination “ONE DOLLAR.” The reverse was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by the US Mint’s Phebe Hemphill.
(2011-S Medal of Honor Silver Dollar, Uncirculated, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
The Uncirculated version of the Medal of Honor Silver Dollar was struck at the San Francisco Mint. There was a Proof version that bore the same design that was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The Congress authorized a maximum of 500,000 silver dollars in total, spread across both types.
(2011-P Medal of Honor Silver Dollar, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
The surcharges were intended to financially support the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to educate the public on the importance of this medal to our country and our history.
Congress also authorized that a companion $5 Gold Commemorative coin also be struck. The purpose of this coin, exactly like the Silver Dollar, was to raise awareness and education about the award and its distinguished list of awardees. The public learned that this award is the highest award that can be awarded to any member of the armed forces.
The obverse of the $5 Gold Commemorative coin was designed by the US Mint’s engraver, Joe Menna. It depicts the Navy version of the Medal of Honor in the center. To the left of the medal is “1861” and to the right is “2011.” Above the ribbon and the hanger is the word “LIBERTY.” The left side periphery features the phrase, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” while the right periphery has “MEDAL OF HONOR.”
The reverse was designed by the extremely talented Artistic Infusion Program designer, Joel Iskowitz. A beautiful rendition of the Roman and Greek Goddess Minerva, the Goddess of War, adorns the central vignette. She has an American flag in her left hand and a shield in her right. Behind her are Civil War era cannons and various munitions and weapons of war. To the left of Minerva is the denomination “$5” with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” on the upper periphery and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on the lower periphery.
(A 2011-P Medal of Honor $5 Gold Commemorative, Uncirculated, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
The United States Congress authorized a maximum of 100,00 of these gold coins to be struck between the Uncirculated and Proof versions. The Uncirculated versions were struck at the Philadelphia Mint while the Proof versions were struck at the West Point minting facility.
(A 2011-W Medal of Honor $5 Gold Commemorative, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)