US Olympic commemorative coins are popular among collectors all over the world. Perhaps you are one such collector, hoping to start your own commemorative coin collection. Or maybe you have an Olympic commemorative coin in your possession and want to determine its worth before putting it up for sale. Whatever your question is, you'll find the answer to it in this article.

History

In 1983, the United States Mint issued its first Olympic commemorative coin. Its release came ahead of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were held in Los Angeles California. These coins were part of what is commonly known as the "Modern Commemorative Coin Program". Under this program, the US Mint released a total of 27 different Olympic commemorative coins.

The first coin issued was the Los Angeles XXIII Olympiad silver dollar. Following its release, a further 23 coins were minted to commemorate the Summer and Winter Olympic games. The final coins were released in 2002 ahead of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Three of the Olympic commemorative coins celebrate sporting events beyond the traditional Olympic games. The Paralympic Games were recognized with silver dollars in 1995 and 1996. In 1995 the Special Olympic World games were recognized with a commemorative silver dollar.

Paralympic Games Silver Dollar
Paralympic Games silver dollar

Iconography

In preparing its 27 US Olympic commemorative coins, the United States Mint worked with 18 designers. In total, these designers put forth 44 different designs. The designs which were printed depicted Olympic athletes, events, and facilities. The Los Angeles Olympiad XXIII silver dollar bore the image of a discus thrower. An interesting note is that both the silver and bronze medal in the 1984 men's discus throw went to American competitors.

Value

The US Olympic commemorative coins can be quite valuable and their value has risen over recent years. The value of an Olympic coin mainly depends on whether its silver or gold.

Silver Coins

Silver dollars commemorating the Summer or Winter games are widely available. Because of this, they aren't very valuable. In most cases, these silver dollars go for around $25. The Special Olympics silver dollar, however, is a little more valuable. Most sellers ask for around $35.

Special Olympics Silver Dollar

Gold Coins

Prices are much higher for the gold coins released by the US Mint to commemorate the Summer and Winter Olympic games. The $5 commemorative coins generally go for around $300-500. The $10 commemorative coins sell for around $800.

1984 US Olympic Gold Coin

Conclusion

Numismatists in the United States often have a hard time building their collection. This is because the US is a comparatively new country. For example it's easier to collect old roman coins than old American coins. But this is what makes US Olympic commemorative coins so beloved among American collectors. Although they are not thousands of years old, they can still be worth several hundreds of dollars.

It's also worth noting that ancient coins have pretty much reached their maximum worth for the time being. They are unlikely to see a significant increase in value in the near feature. US Olympic commemorative coins, however, are increasing in value with each passing decade. They are great coins to own, whether you are American or not.