Each year, the United States Mint releases two congressionally-authorized commemorative coin programs. In 2017, one of those programs features the centennial of the founding of Boys Town with the issue of three coins: a gold half eagle, a silver dollar, and a clad half dollar.
Founded on December 12, 1917 by an Irish-born Catholic priest, Father Edward Flanagan, non-profit organization, Boys Town provides care to children and families of all races in underserved areas of the U.S. The work of Boys Town became widely known as a result of the success of the 1938 movie, “Boys Town.” After World War II, President Harry Truman asked Father Flanagan to travel around the world visiting war orphans and advising foreign governments on how to care for displaced children.
Since then, Boys Town, which is located in Boys Town, Nebraska, has grown to become one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the country. It provides treatment for behavioral, emotional, and physical problems of children and families in 11 regions of the country. While it provides direct service to half a million children each year, its programs impact the lives of over 2 million children and families each year.
To honor of the 100th anniversary of this important organization, commemorative coins were authorized by Public Law 114-30, which was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2015. The legislation calls for the issuance of not more than 50,000 gold coins, 350,000 silver dollars, and 300,000 clad half dollars, which includes coins struck in both uncirculated and proof finishes. It also specifies that “only one facility of the United States Mint may be used to strike any particular quality of coins minted under this act” and that they can only be issued between January 1 and December 31, 2017.
Provided that all costs associated with the coins are first recouped, additional income earned from the sales of each coin will be distributed as aid to Boys Town. These funds will enable them to continue carrying out its wide range of services, which include a counseling hotline that assists more than 150,000 callers each year, a research hospital that is a national leader in the area of hearing care and research, and much more. The surcharges for each coin that make these donations possible are respectively $35 for the gold coin, $10 for the silver dollar, and $5 for the clad half dollar.
In 2015, a team of artists from the U.S. Mint traveled to Boys Town to gather ideas for the designs of these coins. Once those designs were prepared, they were reviewed by the Committee on Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee during the spring of 2015 and design advice was given. Finally, the Secretary of the Treasury selected the final designs that will appear on the coins.
Those designs were unveiled on August 23 at a ceremony held at Boys Town Music Hall in Boys Town, Nebraska. The ceremony included representatives from the U.S. Mint and Boys Town as well as local officials and members of congress.
The reverse, which was also designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Don Everhart, shows a hand holding an acorn that is growing into a small tree. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “FIVE DOLLARS,” and the message, “THE WORK WILL CONTINUE” all appear as inscriptions.
The reverse shows the same girl, but this time as she holds the hands of other children beneath a flourishing oak tree. The continuation of the message that began on the obverse, “…you write the history of tomorrow,” and the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “ONE DOLLAR,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” all appear on this side. It was designed and sculpted by the same artists as the obverse, Emily Damstra and Joseph Menna.
The reverse of this coin shows a current-day Boys Town home, where children are schooled and nurtured, and four young men and women with their graduation outfits on. It was designed by Costello and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill and has inscriptions for “HEALING FAMILIES,” “HALF DOLLAR,” “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
Speaking at the design unveiling ceremony, U.S. Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson said he hopes that “each time a person looks at any one of these unique designs it will spark an interest in learning about the history of the Boys Town acknowledging the extraordinary efforts made by the organization to give comfort and purpose to children in need, and recognizing the significant contributions of Father Flanagan.”
Boys Town National Executive Director, Father Steven Boes noted that this was such as exciting time for Boys Town “as we release the designs of these symbolic coins. These coins will help us commemorate and celebrate the outstanding work that has been done by our organization over the last 100 years.”
The U.S. Mint has just released the Boys Town centennial coins on March 9th. ModernCoinMart will carry each of these coins in a variety of graded and ungraded options. Check out the selection right now!
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst,” and in August 2021 the column received the NLG award for best column on modern U.S. coins. He has also received other awards for his writing. He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and and other publications. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|