Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 321,275
Obverse Designer: Robert Lamb
Reverse Designer: John Mercanti
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $13.96 (2/19/2017)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
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1991 S USO S$1 PF obverse 1991 S USO S$1 PF reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Since 1941 the USO has provided places where Americans serving in the armed forces can rest and enjoy a bit of recreation in a regulated environment. The popular image is of Hollywood celebrities such as Bob Hope and the Andrews Sisters performing for “our boys,” but far more common are simpler entertainments such as a ping pong table or just a television set and a comfortable chair. The goal is to provide some break from the frequent monotony of military life in a safe setting that serves as an alternative to the more sinister diversions to which service men and women may be susceptible.

The 50th anniversary of the USO was the occasion for coining silver dollars that both honored the organization and provided funding for its activities. Congress passed a bill on October 2, 1990 that called for the coining of not more than one million silver dollars having the USO 50th Anniversary theme. This issue was to be dated 1991 and struck entirely within that year. Incorporated into the sales price of each coin was a $7 surcharge to be divided evenly between the USO and the U. S. Treasury.

The design competition for this coin was open to all of the Mint’s engravers, as well as five artists from the private sector invited by the Treasury on the basis of their previous work. The obverse came from a drawing submitted by artist Robert Lamb, though it had to be sculpted by William Cousins of the Mint’s engraving staff. The design was borrowed directly from existing imagery of the USO’s logo of a banner bearing those letters. Above this logo is the calligraphic inscription “50th Anniversary,” while the date of coining and statutory legends comprise the balance of this side. The initials of Lamb and Cousins appear beneath the banner where it meets the flagstaff.

The reverse of the USO Silver Dollar is the work of U. S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti. It shows the American eagle perched atop a globe, a banner inscribed “USO” grasped within its beak and eleven stars below in a semicircle. Flanking this central imagery is the inscription “FIFTY YEARS SERVICE TO SERVICE PEOPLE,” written in two lines. The arrangement of this text is such that it’s easily read out of sequence, a point brought up by the Commission of Fine Arts during the approval process, yet the Commission’s recommendations were overruled. Completing the reverse design are various statutory inscriptions, as well as the designer’s initials at left and the coin’s mintmark at right.

The combined obverse and reverse designs resulted in something that looked much more like a medal than a coin. Collectors evidently agreed, as sales for this issue were very disappointing. The Uncirculated pieces were struck at Denver (‘D’ mintmark) and were priced at $23 through July 26, 1991 and at $26 afterward. During the pre-issue period, San Francisco (‘S’) Mint proof coins were priced at $28, this figure then rising to $31. Despite a grand debut of the new silver dollar at a parade for American troops returning from Operation Desert Storm on June 8, little interest was shown in this uninspiring coin. The combined mintages of Uncirculated and Proof dollars were less than half of the authorized total, and the unsold coins went to the melting pot.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/2/2016

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

1991 S USO S$1 PF Ultra Cameo
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 19.00 20.00 21.00 22.00 26.50 28.75 30.00 31.00 37.50 45.00 440

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 2291
Low Grade: 66
Average Grade: 68
High Grade: 70

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
8/31/2004 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #24091, 24091/Lot# 14975 $22.00
1/15/2008 NGC PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Tuesday Internet Coin Auction #28014, 28014/Lot# 25009 $45.00
5/18/2009 PCGS PF 70   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 2694, 2694/Lot# 1729 $891.25
10/28/2012 NGC PF 69   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 3371, 3371/Lot# 2651 $24.00
6/6/2013 NGC PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Thursday Modern Coin Auction Session(1), 241324/Lot# 19060 $26.00
6/16/2013 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131326/Lot# 24332 $33.00
12/1/2013 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 780, 789/Lot# 346 $150.00
8/31/2014 PCGS PF 70   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 214342 $399.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1991 S USO S$1 PF
1991 S USO S$1 PF Cameo
1991 S USO S$1 PF Ultra Cameo
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 1051
Owner: Bruce Laquster
Points: 1051
Owner: DJStevenson
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