The 1917 McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar was authorized in order to defray the costs of completing a memorial for William McKinley in Niles, Ohio. This was the birthplace of the 15th President of the United States, who had been assassinated in 1901. McKinley had previously been depicted on the 1903 Louisiana Purchase McKinley Gold Dollar.
Legislation provided for the production of up to 100,000 of the commemorative gold dollars. Production would take place during 1916 and 1917, with the coins sold by the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Association of Youngstown, Ohio. The souvenir gold dollars were initially sold to collectors for $3 each.
The obverse of the McKinley Gold Dollar was designed by Charles E. Barber. It features a profile portrait of the president with inscriptions surrounding, “United States of America” and “McKinley Dollar”. The reverse, which was designed by George T. Morgan, depicts the memorial building. Inscriptions include “McKinley Birthplace Memorial”, “Niles Ohio”, and the date “1916” or “1917”.
Optimistic sales projections for the McKinely Memorial Gold Dollars fell short. The Philadelphia Mint had produced approximately 30,000 of the coins out of the 100,000 maximum. Of this quantity, approximately 10,000 were returned for melting. The approximate mintage comprises 15,000 of the 1916-dated coins and 5,000 of the 1917-dated coins.
McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: Charles E. Barber (obverse), George T. Morgan (reverse)
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Weight: 1.672 grams
Diameter: 15 mm
Authorization: Public Law 64-20
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 100,000
McKinley Memorial Gold Dollar Mintages