This coin will be a great addition to any U.S. coin collection, not only because of its stunning design, but also because it honors one of the greatest organizations ever founded. The Lions Club International has helped people all around the world, and their various programs have changed people’s lives. From eye-sight improvement to hurricane relief, the impact this non-profit organization has had on their communities cannot be measured. Honor their centennial in 2017, with this official U.S. Mint issued Lions Club Commemorative!
Melvin Jones, founder of Lions Club International, was born in Fort Thomas, Arizona on January 13, 1879. His father, a U.S. Army Captain, was stationed in Fort Thomas during a particularly difficult time. Referred to as the "worst fort in the Army," Fort Thomas was the unfortunate target to devastating malaria effects from a nearby spring. After enduring these unbearable conditions, Jones and his family moved east when his father was transferred around 1886. He settled in Chicago, Illinois where he studied at several business colleges. Jones was ambitious, and in 1913 he had formed his own insurance agency.
Jones, determined to make something of himself, became an influential businessman. He became a Freemason and a member of the Garden City Lodge No. 141. He also became a member of the Business Circle – a luncheon group of businessmen solely devoted to the advancement of the financial interests of its members. Despite its influence, the limited focus of the Business Circle - like many similar groups and clubs at the time - didn’t fit with Jones’ personal code: "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else."
Jones had other plans. He asked himself: “What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence, and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?”
With the help of his wife – championship golfer Rose Amanda Freeman – he invited Business Club members from around the nation to consider his idea for a service-centered organization.
Many businessmen liked his idea and accepted the invitation. Membership convened in Chicago, Illinois on June 7th, 1917 where the name “Lions Clubs International” was chosen in a secret ballot. The largest service club organization in the world had just been born. After devoting many years to the service and improvement of others, Jones passed away on June 1st, 1961 at the age of 82. He left behind an impressive legacy based on selfless volunteer work that is still admired to this day.
In 2017, Lions Clubs International (LCI) – now known worldwide as a secular, non-political international service organization - will celebrate its centennial. The ambition of its founder, Melvin Jones, and 100 years of selfless volunteer work has made the Lions Club what it is today. The Lion’s Club 100th Anniversary is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their contributions across time – from the organization’s humble beginnings in 1917 to the worldwide service organization it has grown to be. Their selfless volunteer work with zero monetary benefit has improved the lives of millions of people across the globe.
Their projects include, but are not limited to:
Many collectors, LCI volunteers, and supporters might already be aware that the first U.S. commemorative for 2017 will be a limited mintage silver dollar commemorating the Centennial of the Lions Club International. This is made possible by the "Lions Club International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2139)" – coin legislation that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 5th, 2012. This came after Illinois Congressman, Peter Roskam, introduced a proposal for the idea to the relevant coin legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 3, 2011. Roskam's proposal was well received and was cosponsored by no less than 38 other members of Congress!
The 2017 Lions Clubs International Centennial Commemorative Silver Dollar will be available in both Proof and Uncirculated finishes. Combined, no more than 400,000 of these commemorative silver dollars will be minted and issued. Each of these 90% silver dollars - regardless of finish - have a diameter of 1.5 inches (38.1mm), a weight of 26.73g, and a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper.
The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed the proposed designs submitted for this commemorative coin in September and October of 2015. The proposed designs for the 2017 Lions Clubs International Silver Dollar were submitted by members of the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP). For those not familiar with the AIP, it is a program of the United States Mint that was established to enhance U.S. commemorative coins in terms of the “…values, aspirations, and shared heritage of our nation.”
Both the CFA and CCAC agreed that the obverse design should include a portrait of Melvin Jones and the organization’s logo in the background. Unfortunately, the two bodies could not reach agreement in terms of the reverse design. The CFA backed the reverse design preferred by the LCI – three lions - two adult lions and a cub - against a globe. The CCAC thought the design was too cluttered, and instead recommended that only two lions should be feature on the reverse – one adult male and one adult female lion.
Despite the CCAC’s objection, the CFA submitted the reverse design preferred by the LCI. However, the final decision on both obverse and reverse designs was up to the U.S. Treasury of Secretary. The approved designs were unveiled on June 28, 2016, during the 99th Annual Lions Clubs International Convention held in Fukuoka, Japan:
The approved obverse design of the 2017 Lions Clubs International Century of Service Silver Dollar, will feature a portrait of LCI founder, Melvin Jones. It will also include the LCI logo, two lion heads with “L” and “LIONS INTERNATIONAL” in capital letters. This marks the first time that a lion has been used in the design of a U.S. coin. This design also displays the following inscriptions: “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “2017,” and “MELVIN JONES FOUNDER.”
The reverse design approved by the U.S. Treasury of Secretary was the design preferred by the LCI and backed by the CFA. It features a family of lions consisting of a male and female adult lion, and a cub against a globe. It will be interesting to see how this “cluttered” design - according to the CCAC - will translate on the actual coin that will be released in 2017. Inscriptions on the approved reverse design of this .900 fine silver commemorative coin will include: “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF SERVICE,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” and “$1.”
With 2017 Lions Club International Centennial Commemorative release on January 18, 2017, you may already be wondering where you can purchase them. I recommend ModernCoinMart (MCM). If past U.S. commemorative coins carried by MCM are any clue, both Proof and Uncirculated versions of this coin will be available certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
Not only does MCM provide free domestic shipping on every purchase, but they also provide a pre-sale notification service. If you can signed up for this service, you likely already received your notification. If not, make sure to purchase your 2017 Silver Lions Club International Commemorative Dollar right now!
Author Name: Paul Maritz
Paul Maritz is a self-employed webmaster who generates income through the direct and indirect selling of advertising space through a network of websites. Paul is proficient in all areas of numismatics and enjoy participating on various forums, including MCM's Modern Coin Forum.