In 2002, the Winter Olympics were scheduled to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Congress of the United States authorized both a Silver Dollar and a Five Dollar Gold coin to commemorate these Olympics. A surcharge was added to the price of the coins to support the costs of the Olympic Games as well as supporting the Olympic Athletes.
The obverse of the silver Dollar coin was designed by John Mercanti. It features the crystal snowflake emblem that was chosen as the insignia of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. It was displayed on the obverse with the “rhythm of the land.” The upper periphery had the word “LIBERTY,” and below the snowflake was “SALT LAKE 2002.” To the left of the emblem was “XIX OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES” and the bottom periphery was adorned with the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
Donna Weaver designed the reverse of this silver dollar, and it displayed the skyline of Salt Lake City with the Rocky Mountains dominating the design. The “rhythm of the land” design is above the mountains with “XIX WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES” beneath it. Below the skyline is “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and the denomination “FIVE DOLLARS.” The very lower periphery has “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” on it.
The Philadelphia Mint struck both versions of this Silver Dollar – in Uncirculated and in Proof. The coins were sold as individual items, in a two-coin set and in a 4-coin set with both versions of the Five Dollar Gold coins.
(The 2002-P Salt Lake City Olympic Silver Dollar, Uncirculated, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
The authorized mintage of both the Uncirculated and Proof versions of the Olympic Silver Dollar was set at 400,000 coins, combined. Of that number only 40,257 of the Uncirculated coins were sold while 166,864 of the Proof coins were sold.
(The 2002-P Salt Lake City Olympic Silver Dollar, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
The Five Dollar Gold Coin was also authorized to help support these 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Donna Weaver, who, at the time, was a medallic artist at the US Mint, designed both sides of the $5 Gold coin.
The obverse is very stylistic once again with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games Crystal emblem displayed against the popular “rhythm of the land” design. It is truly a geometric design with sharp acute angles dominating. It is unlike other commemorative gold and silver coins that previously had been designed. The upper periphery has the word “LIBERTY” while the lower has the date “2002.” Emblazoned across the design is “SALT LAKE” and “IN GOD WE TRUST” is to the left of the design.
Weaver’s reverse design has a stylistic Olympic Flame burning within a cauldron. Again, the design is very geometric and more symbolic than realistic. The upper periphery has “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” the denomination “FIVE DOLLARS” is immediately below the cauldron, while to the left of the flame is “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
This coin was struck in both an Uncirculated version and a Proof version – both at the West Point Mint. Some 80,000 of these gold coins were authorized but sales under-performed all expectations. Only 10,585 of the Uncirculated coins were sold, while 32,877 of the Proof versions were sold. These numbers were disappointing as most official sovereign Olympic coins generally have an international collector following.
(A 2002-W Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, $5.00 Gold Coin, Uncirculated, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)
(A 2002-W Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, $5.00 Gold Coin, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)