Commemorative coins have been struck since the beginning of coinage back in ancient Greek and Roman times. At a time before mass communications, they recorded and honored major events and passed along the news of the day. One of the most significant aspects of United States Gold Commemoratives is that they continue in the tradition of the ancient commemoratives in that with a very few exceptions, they all honor important people or historic events.
The first U.S. Commemorative Gold Coins were struck to celebrate the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in 1903. The last Pre-1933 Classic Gold Commemoratives were struck to celebrate America's Sesquicentennial in 1926. No more gold commemoratives were struck until the first Modern Gold Commemorative Coins were minted in 1984. A $10 coin was struck to honor the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Four more Gold Commemorative Coins were struck in the 1980s: the 1986 $5 Statue of Liberty Gold, The 1987 $5 Constitution Bicentennial Gold, the 1988 $5 Seoul Olympic Games Gold and the 1989 $5 Congress Bicentennial Gold.
The decade of the 1990s saw the U.S. Mint issue numerous $5 Gold Commemorative Coins: 1991 Mount Rushmore; 1992 Winter Olympics and 500th anniversary of Columbus; 1993 Bill of Rights; 1991–1995 50th Anniversary of World War II, 1994 World Cup Soccer; 1995 Civil War Battlefield; 1995–1996 Atlanta Olympic Games; 1996 Smithsonian Institution; 1997 Franklin D. Roosevelt and 1999 George Washington. The 2000 $10 Library of Congress Commemorative is the only one struck in both gold and platinum.
Other U.S. Mint Modern Gold Commemorative Coins include 2002 $5 Capitol Visitor Center; 2002 $5 Salt Lake Winter Olympics; 2003 $5 First Flight; 2006-S $5 Old San Francisco Mint Centennial; 2007 $5 Jamestown; 2008 $5 Bald Eagle; 2011 $5 Medal of Honor; 2011 $5 Army; 2012 $5 Star Spangled Banner; 2013 $5 Five Star Generals; 2015 $5 Baseball Hall of Fame and 2015 $5 U.S. Marshals.
The historic relevance of Modern U.S. Gold Commemorative Coins cannot be overestimated. A virtual pageant of historic events, institutions and people are honored and collected not only by U.S. citizens but by collectors around the world. The oft repeated "collecting coins is like holding history in your hands" is no more true than it is with Modern Commemorative Gold Coins from the U.S. Mint.