Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: West Point
Mintage: 164,690
Catalog: KM-226
Obverse Designer: John Mercanti
Reverse Designer: John Mercanti
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 8.3590g
AGW: 0.2419oz
Melt Value: $271.82 (9/5/2015)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF obverse 1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF reverse


  
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VarietyPlus®

There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The first U. S. Congress to convene under the federal constitution ratified in 1789 took its seats that very same year. To mark the bicentennial of this significant event, a bill was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 17, 1988 which provided for the minting of up to four million copper-nickel-clad half dollars, up to three million silver dollars and up to one million gold half eagles. These coins were to be issued in both proof and uncirculated finishes, though the law specified that none of the six resulting varieties could be produced at more than one minting facility. It also set an ending date of June 30, 1990 for the manufacture of these coins, though omitted was any limit to how long they could be sold.

Surcharges of $1, $7 and $35 were added to the sales prices of the half dollars, dollars and half eagles, respectively. Under the original legislation 50% of the first $40 million in surcharges would go to the Capitol Preservation Fund, with any remaining profits being placed into the general fund of the Treasury for reduction of the national debt. This was later amended so that the entire amount realized from surcharges went to the Capitol Preservation Fund.

The clad half dollar features on its obverse a facing view of the head from the “Statue of Freedom” that rests atop the dome of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The obverse was designed by Patricia Lewis Verani, whose initials ‘PV’ appear above the statue’s right shoulder. In addition to the statutory inscriptions are the legend BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS and the dual dates 1789 and 1989. The mintmark is seen below the date of coining, either ‘D’ for Denver (uncirculated coins) or ‘S’ for San Francisco (proof coins). The reverse of the half dollar displays an elevation view of the Capitol surrounded by thirteen stars and statutory inscriptions. This was designed by William Woodward and sculpted by the Mint’s own Edgar Z. Steever IV. The initials of both men are seen beneath the Capitol at left and right, respectively.

Both sides of the silver dollar were designed by Woodward, though the actual models were sculpted by Chester Y. Martin of the U. S. Mint. As on the half dollar, Thomas Crawford’s Statue of Freedom dominates the obverse of this coin, though here it is seen in full, superimposed over a burst of sun rays that emerge from behind a cloud. The balance of the obverse is taken by statutory inscriptions and dual dates 1789 and 1989. Also as with the half dollar, Denver and San Francisco produced the uncirculated and proof editions, respectively, and their mintmarks are placed beneath the date of coining. The central element on the reverse of the silver dollar is the ceremonial mace that is placed on display whenever the House of Representatives is in session. This features an American eagle perched atop a globe that surmounts a fasces. In addition to the remaining statutory inscriptions, the reverse includes the commemorative theme BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS. The initials of Woodward and Martin are placed left and right, respectively, at the base of the fasces.

As was becoming customary, both editions of the gold half eagle were struck at the West Point Mint in New York State. Although a competition was held that included eleven outside artists, this coin was entirely the work of U. S. Mint Engraver John Mercanti. The obverse displays an elevation view of the U. S. Capitol dome. The dual dates 1789-1989 are placed directly beneath it, while the ‘W’ mintmark appears to its right. The balance of the obverse features the usual statutory inscriptions. On the reverse is seen an ornamental piece from the Old Senate Chamber of an eagle perched atop the ceiling canopy. The theme BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS is inscribed atop the reverse, with the remaining statutory legends rounding out this side of the coin.

Artistically, the three Congress coins fall solidly within the middle of the modern commemorative program, as they are among neither the best nor the worst of this series. They sold reasonably well, though it’s significant that their sales were well below those of all previous programs since the revival of commemorative coinage in 1982. At their pre-issue prices, the three uncirculated coins cost $5, $23 and $185, respectively, and $6, $26 and $200 after July 17, 1989. For the proof editions the prices were $7 and $8, $25 and $29, and $195 and $215, respectively.

The Prestige Proof Set for 1989 included both the half dollar and the silver dollar. This option was priced at $49 during the pre-issue period and at $52 after July 17. There were numerous other packaging options for multi-coin sets, but the numismatic marketplace presently does not place much emphasis on the relative rarity of these packages.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/26/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF Ultra Cameo
  GVGFVFXF5053555861626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 390 410 525

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 5484
Low Grade: 62
Average Grade: 69
High Grade: 70


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
2/6/2005 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 1997, 1997/Lot# 1816 $121.00
8/30/2007 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday Sale - Internet Auction # 173, 179/Lot# 6647 $253.00
9/19/2010 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo Goldberg September 19-21, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 60/Lot# 3424 $362.25
3/31/2011 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo Stack's Bowers The March 2011 Baltimore Auction, 83/Lot# 553 $385.25
4/24/2013 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions 2013 April 24 - 28 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(9), 1184/Lot# 9703 $352.50
4/6/2014 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/06/2014, 175/Lot# 180400 $352.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base6336556807057297567818098378678969269289309319339339359389419741641
64066368871373876479081884787790692792993093293393493693995211960
00000079081884787790692792993093293393493693995200
00000080082885788691692792993193293393493794096300
1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base68270573175678381184086889893096199199399499699799910011004100710411739
690714739765792821849878909940971992993995996998100010021005101812740
000000849878909940971992993995996998100010021005101800
000000859888919951981992994995997998100010031006103000
1989 W CONGRESS $5 PF Ultra Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base733758785813840870900930961994102710601062106310641066106710691072107611111843
7417677948228508809109409721005103810601062106310641066106710701073108713550
0000009109409721005103810601062106310641066106710701073108700
0000009209509831016104910611062106310651066106810711074109900
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 1843
Owner: Alaska Coin Nut
 
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 1843
Owner: Alex J. Llorente
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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