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The United States has honored certain sports and sporting events on commemorative coins for years.
However, there is one particular sporting event which has been featured on dozens of commemorative coins since 1983: the Olympics.
The Olympics have inspired the U.S. Mint to produce many coins over 30 years.
Olympic coins have been minted to commemorate both domestic Olympiads (those held in the United States) as well as those held abroad.
Following is a list of all popular U.S. Olympic coins and their values…
Individual Event Olympic Coins
The U.S. usually commemorates the Olympics with coins featuring individual events.
This is especially the case with the 1995 to 96 Olympic coins which honor the games held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996.
During the 2 years the U.S. Mint struck Atlanta Olympic coins, 12 individual events were pictured on separate coins. At that time, the U.S. Mint also sold four $5 gold Olympic coins picturing a torch runner, the main stadium, a flag bearer, and the Olympic cauldron.
The 10 events honored during 1995 and 1996 are:
- Basketball (half dollar) $14 to $17 in uncirculated or $18 to $20 in proof
- Baseball (half dollar) $14 to $17 in uncirculated or $18 to $20 in proof
- Swimming (half dollar) $115 to $120 in uncirculated or $30 to $35 in proof
- Soccer (half dollar) $100 to $110 in uncirculated or $80 to $85 in proof
- Gymnastics (dollar) $60 to $65 in uncirculated or $50 in proof
- Track and Field (dollar) $85 to $90 in uncirculated or $40 to $45 in proof
- Cycling (dollar) $140 to $150 in uncirculated or $40 to $45 in proof
- Tennis (dollar) $295 to $315 in uncirculated or $75 to $80 in proof
- Rowing (dollar) $295 to $315 in uncirculated or $55 to $60 in proof
- High Jump (dollar) $295 to $315 in uncirculated or $55 to $60 in proof
The 1996 uncirculated Paralympics silver dollar is valued at around $300. Proof versions are priced at $80.
U.S. Olympics Anniversary Coins
The 1995 to 1996 Olympic coins are notable for the many designs that were struck to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic games. But the first U.S. coins to mark the occasion of the Olympics were produced in 1983 and 1984.
The 1983 Los Angeles silver dollar Olympic coin honors the 23rd Olympics. A discus thrower is pictured on the obverse and an American eagle on the reverse. The 1983 Olympic silver dollar costs around $20 apiece, in both uncirculated and proof.
In 1984, the Olympic Coliseum graced the obverse of that year’s commemorative silver dollar Olympic coin. An American eagle is found on the reverse. The 1984 $10 Olympic coin costs $550 to $600, in either uncirculated or proof.
The 1984 $10 gold coin features 2 Olympic torch runners. The interesting story behind the commemorative Olympic coin is that it was the first gold coin produced in the U.S. since 1933. Furthermore, it became the first U.S. coin to bear a W (West Point, New York) mint mark.
Seoul Olympics Commemorative Coins
Though the 1988 summer games were held halfway across around the world in Seoul, South Korea, the U.S. Mint turned out a commemorative silver dollar Olympic coin and $5 gold Olympic coin to honor the event and the United States’ involvement in the games.
The 1988 silver dollar Olympic coin shows the lighting of an Olympic torch. The reverse depicts olive branches surrounding the Olympics’ iconic 5 rings and under USA. The 1988 Olympic silver dollar will set you back around $20 to purchase in either uncirculated or proof.
The 1988 $5 gold Olympic coin depicts Nike (the goddess of Victory), her head dressed with a crown of olive leaves. The reverse of the coin shows the Olympic flame boldly burning. The 1988 Olympic $5 gold coin costs $280 to 350 in uncirculated and proof versions.
Barcelona Spain Olympic Coins
The 1992 Olympic games inspired the creation of 3 United States commemorative Olympic coins honoring the event. The 1992 Olympic half dollar features a leaping gymnast.
On the reverse is a flaming Olympic torch near the Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger). The 1992 Olympic half dollar costs $10 to $15 in both uncirculated and proof.
A baseball player pitching a ball dominates the obverse of the 1992 silver dollar Olympic coin . The reverse is covered with emblems of the United States (stars and stripes) and the Olympics (Olympic rings and olive branches). The 1992 Olympic silver dollar is priced at $20 to $25 in proof and uncirculated.
The 1992 $5 gold Olympic coin has a sprinter on the obverse. The reverse of the Olympic coin bears an American eagle. You can buy a 1992 Olympic $5 gold coin in either proof or uncirculated for $300 to $350.
Special Olympics Coin
In 1995, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the the Special Olympics — which she founded — were honored.
The obverse of the Eunice Shriver Olympic coin pictures a bust of Eunice Shriver.
On the reverse is a rose lying close alongside this Shriver quote, “As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us.”
The Eunice Shriver silver dollar sells for $25 to $30 in both uncirculated and proof.
Winter Olympics Coins
The Summer Olympic games have drawn the most attention from the U.S. Mint. However, the 2002 Winter Olympics (which were held in Salt Lake City, Utah), were the feature of 2 Olympic coins, a silver dollar and $5 gold coin.
The silver dollar bears an image of the mountainous backdrop framing the skyline of Salt Lake City. The 2002 Olympic silver dollar is priced at around $30 in proof and $40 in uncirculated.
The $5 gold coin shows a flaming Olympic torch. The 2002 Olympic $5 gold coin sells for $400 in uncirculated grades and $300 in proof.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!