World War I Commem to Become a Reality

January 21, 2015 By ekr


ANA educator worked for years to get bill passed.

WWI centennial commission Vice Chairman Edwin Fountain recently informed the American Numismatic Association that ANA Numismatic Educator Rod Gillis’ proposal for a commemorative coin honoring veterans of World War I had been approved. Since 2010, Gillis has been working with Congressmen Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) to secure legislation that would require the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in honor of Americans who served in the Great War. Finally, on December 16, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. “After pursuing this legislation for 5 years, I am thrilled that it is moving forward,” says Gillis.

In 2010, while watching film footage of the war on television, Gillis wondered if any WWI veterans were still alive. He found a few from different countries and one American, Frank Buckles, who became his inspiration. “I decided to take up the cause for him and all the veterans who gave their last full measure.”  The coin program has yet to be named, but the expected year of issu­ance is 2018. Mintage will be limited to 350,000.

   The legislative proc­ess has been a challenge for Gillis. Three years will pass before he and the numismatic world will see the fruit of his labors, but the end result should be worth the wait.
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