In 1982, the United States Mint returned to producing commemorative coins with the release of a half dollar commemorating the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday. Commemorative coins today typically recognize special occasions, one-of-a-kind structures, and famous people. Production of these coins is expected to continue for years to come.
Commemorative coins are legal tender, but they are not minted for general circulation. Instead, they are offered to collectors, and most of these special-issue coins are available only during the year in which they are first issued. Two of the most popular recent commemorative coins have been the American Buffalo in 2001 and the Benjamin Franklin commemorative coin in 2006.