Obama Signs Bill to Mint Mark Twain Coinage

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed the Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act, which authorizes the issuance of $5 gold coins and $1 silver coins depicting images familiar to the beloved 19th century American writer.

The legislation authorizes 100,000 gold coins and 350,000 silver coins, which will be produced by the Mint for one year beginning in 2016. The minting and issuing of the coins, according to the legislation that authorizes it, will not result in any net cost to the U.S. government.

The coins will be a legal tender, but they are expected to be particularly popular among collectors with a $35 surcharge per coin for the $5 gold coin and a $10 surcharge per coin for the $1 silver coin.

Current gold and silver prices show a resurgence of gold above the $1,700 per troy ounce level as the metal tracks gains in wider markets, particularly gains in European equities. The spot price of gold gained 0.3 percent in early trade on Wednesday to $1,701.94 following its recent dip to $1,690.64 per troy ounce on Tuesday, the weakest prices since November 6. U.S. gold futures for February delivery also rallied, up $8.00 to $1,703.80 per troy ounce as gold looks for firm footing at current levels.

Proceeds from the surcharges on the Mark Twain Commemorative Coins will go toward four sites in the U.S., which are tied to Twain and his writings. Elmira College’s Center for Mark Twain Studies for Research and Education will receive a quarter of the proceeds. The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, and the Mark Twain Papers and Project at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley will also received funds from the sales of the coins.

Mark Twain is one of the best-known American writers in the world with more than 6,500 editions of his books in print and his writings translated into 75 languages. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the writer published under the pen name Mark Twain, a term from his time working on steamboats, meaning a depth of twelve feet.

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