Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: West Point
Mintage: 54,893
Obverse Designer: Thomas Nielson and Alfred Maletsky
Reverse Designer: Edgar Z. Steever
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 26.7300g
ASW: 0.7734oz
Melt Value: $13.17 (12/14/2019)
Diameter: 38.1mm
Edge: Reeded
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1994 W POW MUSEUM S$1 MS obverse 1994 W POW MUSEUM S$1 MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

It seems that 1994 was the year of the military veteran, as no less than three commemorative coins honoring America’s service men and women were issued. Sadly, this dilution led to mediocre sales of each coin. Since the price of each commemorative included surcharges that were directed toward non-profit organizations sponsoring the coins, such poor sales resulted in an embarrassing situation in which the U. S. Mint sometimes failed to recover its own costs in sculpting the models, preparing the dies and striking the coins. Congress’ mandate limiting commemorative coin programs to no more than two per year provided a solution to this crisis, but it did not apply retroactively to programs already approved.

Surcharges from the sale of this silver dollar went toward building and maintaining the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, Georgia. This was the site of Camp Sumter, the infamous Confederate prison where so many Yankee soldiers died in 1864-65. Now a part of the National Park System, this attraction includes the museum structure, the camp site and a national cemetery.

A soaring eagle grasping a broken chain is seen on the obverse of this coin, emblematic of freedom. It is, however, encircled by barbed wire to represent the plight of prisoners of war. The date appears within this circle at the bottom, flanked on the left by the initials of artist Tom Nielsen and on the right by those of the U. S. Mint’s Al Maletsky. In addition to the usual mottoes is added the word “FREEDOM.”

The reverse was designed and sculpted by Edgar Z. Steever IV of the Mint’s staff, and it features an elevation view of the reconstructed prison stockade at Andersonville which now houses the museum. Within an exergue beneath this view is the inscription “NATIONAL PRISONER OF WAR MUSEUM,” with the coin’s mintmark to the right. The balance of this side is comprised of statutory legends, with Steever’s initials to the left below the stockade. This coin is one of several within the commemorative series for which the obverse seems more like the reverse, and vice versa.

The U. S. Mint at West Point, New York struck the uncirculated coins, while Philadelphia furnished the proof edition. The resulting sales were nearly identical to those of the other 1994 silver dollar commemoratives, with proofs outselling uncirculated pieces approximately four-to-one. This provides a good estimate for the number of customers at that time who would buy every commemorative the Mint offered, regardless of theme or artistic merit.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/31/2018

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Base $ - - - - - - - - - 21.00 22.00 24.00 27.00 29.00 30.00 35.00 47.50 55.00 70.00 135

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Total Graded: 1992
Low Grade: 65
Average Grade: 69
High Grade: 70

The chart showing 65 series, 66 series, 67 series, 68 series, 69 series, 70 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 12/10/2019 1994 W POW MUSEUM S$1 MS
 ----------------0 %-0 %1 %63 %36 % 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/3/2003 PCGS MS 69   Teletrade Auction 1801, 1801/Lot# 1487 $50.00
1/1/2009 NGC MS 70   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 316, 322/Lot# 6454 $109.25
1/22/2012 PCGS MS 70   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131205/Lot# 27880 $120.75
5/13/2012 PCGS MS 69   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131221/Lot# 28624 $42.00
11/17/2013 PCGS MS 69   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 11/17/2013, 101/Lot# 146678 $49.00
6/2/2014 NGC MS 70   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3484, 6033/Lot# 20526 $70.50
1/7/2018 NGC MS 70   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131803/Lot# 26111 $94.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1994 W POW MUSEUM S$1 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 70
Points: 471
Owner: 123cents
Grade: MS 70
Points: 471
Owner: Alex J. Llorente
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