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Best, Most Timeless Modern United States Commemorative Coins to Buy and Hold Forever

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Beginning in 1982 and continuing to this day, the Modern United States Mint Commemorative Program honors and celebrates the greatest American events, institutions, and people.

While the United States Mint has been known for its abuse of the program for spamming unnecessary coin releases to maximize profit especially in the 1990s, there are some coins from this commemorative series that truly stand the test of time and rise to a level of such significance.

Below are some of the coins from the Modern Commemorative Coin Program that belong in your keepsakes, as these will be admired for generations to come.

While this list includes the silver commemorative dollars listed below, look out for a list of the best modern gold commemoratives in the future:

  • (1991-1995) WWII 50th Anniversary Silver Dollar

  • Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar

  • Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar

  • American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar

  • Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Silver Dollar

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar

(1991-1995) World War II 50th Anniversary Silver Dollar

Released in 1993, this coin was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

This was the only time the United States of America invaded Europe, and it was a pivotal turning point in the Allied liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany control during World War II.

The front shows an American soldier in the trenches advancing on the Normandy beach, and the reverse of the coin shows General Eisenhower's legendary D-Day message to the troops prior the battle, which reads,“I HAVE FULL CONFIDENCE IN YOUR COURAGE, DEVOTION TO DUTY AND SKILL IN BATTLE. WE WILL ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN FULL VICTORY!".

Needless to say, the United States' contribution to the Allied victory changed the world forever and cemented the United States’ status as a world superpower.

Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar

Issued in 2009, this silver dollar commemorates the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president.

Lincoln is one of America’s greatest leaders who led the United States through the Civil War, one of the greatest crises in our country’s history. He held onto the doctrine from the Declaration of Independence from our nation’s founding that “all men are created equal”and abolished slavery in the US.

The reverse of the coin quotes the Gettysburg Address, which Lincoln gave shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The speech was a testament to what was at stake, a moving tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice:

“…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar

The flag raising at Iwo Jima is probably the most enduring image of World War II during the final stages of the Pacific War.

With this commemorative coin, the United States honors the proud culture of service of the Marines who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

The reverse of the coin illustrates how the Marine Corps is one of the world’s greatest international armed forces that fought in every United States’ armed conflict and war from the Nation’s birth to the present day.

American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar

Issued in 2001, the American Buffalo Commemorative coin, inspired by the buffalo nickel in circulation during the early 20th century, features two American icons: a profile of a Native American and an American Buffalo.

The buffalo nickel was created in the Mint’s effort to beautify American coinage, and it’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular coins in the commemorative series.

The American Buffalo was available for three weeks at the United States Mint until it sold out with a mintage of 500,000 coins.

Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Silver Dollar

In 1969, the world held its breath as Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. took mankind’s first steps on the Moon. This was the culmination of engineering, science, and political achievement, and it solidified America's dominance in space for decades to come.

It was such a mind boggling feat that over half a century later the United States is still the only country to attempt to land humans on a celestial body outside of our planet.

It’s even more surreal to think that this was accomplished only 66 years after the first successful airplane flight by the Wright brothers.

On the reverse of the coin, there is a footprint on the lunar surface, which was literally a step forward for mankind and the crowning achievement of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who contributed to the effort.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar

The Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. once described the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a “second emancipation.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, sex, color, or national origin. In addition to African Americans, the Civil Rights Act served as the foundation and inspiration for other groups in America seeking access and equality.

Through the sacrifice and struggles of those who participated in the Civil Rights movement, legal segregation was dismantled, coming closer to achieving the ideals set forth in the preambles of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

It is hard to believe that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was only less than 60 years ago; the struggle for equality is enduring and far from over.

The future of civil rights, like its past, will be determined by lobbying, community activism and organizing, and politics of current and future generations.

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