There is currently a petition going around to make 2010: The Year of Mark Twain. 2010 is the centennial of Mark Twain's death and Twain sites around the country will be honoring him with events and celebrations throughout the year. By the 262 signatures already on the petition it's clear from their comments that Mark Twain had made a significant impact, and should be honored nationally.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Senator Christopher Dodd from Connecticut introduced the Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act. This act, which would mint 100,000 five-dollar gold coins and 500,000 silver dollar coins, would benefit the Mark Twain sites around the country. The sites benefiting would be The Mark Twain House & Museum here in Hartford, CT; the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, MO; and the sites in Elmira, NY and Berkeley, CA. The coins would go on sale in 2013, for a price that is yet to be determined. Potentially, if all goes as Sen. Dodd plans, each site would benefit tremendously from this project. Of the $35/$10 surcharges added to the prices of the $5/$1 coins, respectively, we would see 2/5 of those surcharges. The Mark Twain Project in Berkeley, CA, The Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, NY and The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, MO would each see 1/5. This one year project would help to ensure that Mark Twain sites around the country would be able to continue to promote and educate visitors about Mark Twain for years to come.
IMPORTANT FACT! This project won't cost you a dime! Unless of course, you'd like to spend your dimes to buy a coin. All costs will be covered by the sale of the coins. So if you're thinking, "Golly, I'd really love to own a Mark Twain Commemorative Coin!" contact your local Senator or Representative and tell them to support the bill!
The Numismatic News (The Complete Information Source for Coin Collectors) published an article about it yesterday, as well as the Hannibal Courier-Post.
"Some years ago on the gold coins we used to trust in God. It think it was in 1863 that some genious suggested that it be put on the gold and silver coins which circulated among the rich. They didn't put it on the nickels and coppers because they didn't think the poor folks had any trust in God....If I remember rightly, the President required or ordered the romoval of that sentence from the coins. Well, I didn't see that the statement ought to remain there. It wasn't true. But I think it would better read, "Within certain judicious limitations we trust in God," and if there isn't enough room on the coin for this, why enlarge the coin." -Mark Twain