coinsbygary's Blog

07 Dec 2020

The Lesser-Known Kennedy

Coins-United States | coinsbygary

Often when we think of the Kennedy's our first thoughts go to John and Bobby, who were assassinated. We might also think of Teddy, who saw his political aspirations for higher office end at Chappaquiddick. When I look back at history, I can't help but think what the political landscape might look like today if things were different. In my estimation, there was a strong possibility all three Kennedy brothers would have been President of the United States.

Then there was Eunice working in the background, who changed the world for untold millions of persons often neglected. I will never know what the world would look like had all three Kennedy brothers become President of the United States. However, I can't imagine the world today without Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Eunice forever changed the world for so many people for the better. Fittingly, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was one of only a few people who lived to see her image on a United States coin.

The 1995 Special Olympics Games Commemorative Dollar has the same metallic composition and dimensions as a standard US silver dollar. The proof coin's mintage struck in Philadelphia is 351,764, and the uncirculated coin struck at West Point has a mintage of 89,301. The obverse of this coin, designed by T. James Ferrell and based on the art of Jamie Wyeth, portrays a left-facing profile of the founder of the Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Around the upper perimeter of the obverse is the inscription, Special Olympics World Games. The reverse, designed by Thomas D. Rogers, features a Special Olympics medal and a rose. A quote by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, "As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us," fills out the reverse. Further distinguishing this coin from other commemoratives is that this coin is the first US coin to honor a living woman.

Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver was born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy on July 10, 1921, in Brookline, Massachusetts. The fifth of nine siblings, including three brothers named John, Bobby, and Teddy, Eunice hails from one of the most prominent political families in United States history. On May 23, 1953, Eunice married Sargent Shriver, who became the founder and first director of the Peace Corps. Their marriage together lasted 56 years until Eunice's death on August 11, 2009.

Born into a prominent family, it would not be a stretch to say that Eunice was born into a life of privilege. Nevertheless, Eunice chose to use her status as a Kennedy to serve others. As a person with a warm and caring heart, it's impossible to enumerate all of her philanthropic activities in the space of a single article. With that said, I intend to focus on those activities and honors for which Eunice is best known.

Perhaps more than anything, Eunice cared most about children's health and disability issues. As a result, she was the key founder of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. However, Eunice is best known for her work with Anne Burke in establishing the Special Olympics for the intellectually disabled.

The Special Olympics is an athletic competition designed to convey joy, honor, courage, and dignity to its participants. From the first games in 1968, the Special Olympics have grown into a movement that currently has four million athletes training in 170 countries.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. The most widely known of those awards is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to her by President Ronald Reagan on March 26, 1984, for her work with the intellectually disabled. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States.

The rose featured on the reverse of the Special Olympics World Games commemorative coin is of particular significance. A single red rose signifies courage and respect, hope, joy, love, and beauty. The Special Olympics logo on the Special Olympics medal indicates growth, confidence, and joy among persons with intellectual disabilities. The spherical shape of the logo represents global outreach.

I have always been curious about the high mintage of the proof Special Olympics World Games commemorative coin. Why is the mintage of this coin so high when you compare it to other commemorative coins? During my research for this article, I learned that a single corporate benefactor purchased 250,000 of these coins. Subsequently, those coins were given to Special Olympics athletes in 1998.

In summary, I have heard from a few collectors that this coin is not aesthetically pleasing. On the surface, I can see their point. However, suppose you only look just below the surface. In that case, you will discover an extraordinary beauty in the selfless, warm, and caring heart of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Gary.


Cool Kennedy not all of the are Halfs.


Level 5

A nice tribute to someone who gave back to society.


Level 6

Truly a great woman! Nice tribute to her and her causes. Thanks for an informative blog!

They were an incredible family struck by loss, but Eunice did enough for the whole family by herself.


Level 7

We never forgot her and her work. My cousin and Polio. That's how we knew of her. She was a fantastic woman.. I also remember watching Bobby given his speech. I swingErs will be next and it was a great possibility. But his life was also taken. If Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King were not killed this would be a better world. Both men of peace. And we will always . You did justice to this wonderful woman. Like I always say next to every great man stands a great woman. Thank my friend.


Level 5

I can see her being not very well known, considering the fact her brother was president of the United States. Interesting topic, thanks for sharing!

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Wow....I didn't know of this coin either. I feel compelled to purchase one now since my son is disabled and participates in the Special Olympics at his school....thanks for sharing


Level 5

You'll find that this coin is very affordable. This coin is running in the $20-$30 range on e-bay.


Level 5

Wonderful blog, and an interesting coin. Ive never heard of this! Thanks for telling us all about it! Cheers, NM


Level 5

It is a wonderful coin honoring a wonderful woman, just not a pretty one. OK, I'm going to hear from the crowd now but face it, she wasn't a beauty. However, beauty is only skin deep, she was a wonderful and active woman, who did more for others than anyone else I can think of. Nice coin and blog.


Level 5

Very nice tribute to someone that deserves to be honored. That was a lot of coins purchased for special Olympics participants. A like the coin.


Level 6

This lady had a great passion for the Special Olympics and what it represents. As for the mintage I have a not political correct theory. Take a look at most commemorative coins that have a female theme. The mintage is lower.


Level 5

Interesting theory. You might have something there. I heard the Girl Scout commemorative did not sell well enough for the Girl Scouts to get the surcharge, unlike the Boy Scouts' despite having a girl on the obverse. https://www.moderncoinmart.com/info-vault/articles/coin-mintage-charts/commemoratives-coin-mintage-chart.html

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I can't think of anyone more deserving of a Commemorative. True, the obverse could be more flattering, but the reverse more than makes up for this. What a wonderful and inspiring woman she was. Thanks for writing this and sharing the story of a remarkable woman.

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