British Virgin Islands: New silver coin issued for Kennedy birth centennial

The Treasury of the British Virgin Islands have issued (12th April) a new silver crown coin marking the centenary of the birth of John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America. John Kennedy was elected as the youngest president of the United States after a hard-fought campaign in November 1960 against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. He was sworn in on the 20th January 1961 on the steps of the Capitol in Washington DC.

The coin is produced by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the Treasury of the British Virgin Islands. It is intended as a bullion piece but is struck using a reverse-Proof technique, meaning the effigies on each side have been struck with a polished surface with a frosted or matte background. The reverse design of the coin is based on the image of President Kennedy previously seen on a medal crafted by the internationally acclaimed medalist Paul Vincze, a Hungarian artist who excels at portraiture. As 2017 marks the centenary of Kennedy’s birth, and in order to celebrate the milestone of such an influential figure, the commemorative years 1917 and 2017 are placed on each side of the portrait of the president.

The obverse features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II used exclusively on various coins produced by the Pobjoy Mint.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit
$10 .999 silver 31.3 g 38.6 mm Reverse-Proof 50,000

Pre-orders are now being accepted for delivery commencing on the 24th April. The bullion-quality, .999 fine silver coin is sold in sheets of 20 encapsulated in an acrylic holder. For additional information on the coins issued by the Treasury of the British Virgin Islands, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.

The incredible man remembered on this coin

Medallic artist Paul Vincze’s 1973 plaque honoring John F. Kennedy.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, affectionately known as JFK, was born on the 29th May 1917 in Massachusetts to a prominent Irish-American family. He spent the first 10 years of his life in Boston; the Kennedy family then moved to the Bronx, where he spent his middle-school years. Kennedy later went on to study at the London School of Economics and Harvard University, which laid the foundations of his political career. During the years 1938 to 1940, his father, Joseph Kennedy, was the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, and John Kennedy lived in London during this time. The Kennedy family was a very well established U.S. political family that would eventually produce a president, three senators, and multiple other politicians. John Kennedy himself also had a distinguished military career from 1941 to 1945 and served during World War II in the Pacific theatre of operations. On one notable occasion, the torpedo boat Kennedy was serving on was sunk. In order to save the crew he had to swim a distance of about three and a half miles at night whilst towing an injured comrade from the wreck to a nearby island. JFK received multiple medals and awards for his service, including the Purple Heart, making him the only president to receive one. John Kennedy lost his elder brother, Joseph Jr., during the war when, in 1944, Joseph was killed in action while serving as a land-based patrol bomber pilot. For the Kennedy family, this thrust John in the position of senior son, for whom his father had planned an ambitious future as a politician.

In 1947 some of this meticulous plan came to fruition when John was elected to the House of Representatives. He would serve in this capacity until being elected to the Senate in 1953. That same year, John would marry Jacqueline Bouvier, a beautiful and accomplished socialite from New York whom he’d met at an informal dinner party. They would have three children during their marriage, their last child living only two days after his birth. During John Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960, Jacqueline (or “Jackie,” as she was known) played a very prominent part, becoming almost as popular as her husband on the campaign trail. He won the election—not decisively, with only about a hundred thousand votes separating the victor from the runner-up, but the United States had elected their youngest-ever president, and the first Roman Catholic chief executive.

John Kennedy is remembered for standing up to the Soviet Union when the Communist nation attempted to install nuclear weapons on the island nation of Cuba, which had adopted a Communist form of government from 1959. President Kennedy is also remembered for his staunch support of civil rights and was pivotal in advancing this movement, which eventually saw the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. President Kennedy also organised the Peace Corps, a government-supported organisation that provided technical, agricultural, educational, and medical assistance to peoples outside the United States, primarily in the developing world. Committed to ridding the world of Communist doctrine, President Kennedy is fondly remembered to this day for having stood in front of the Berlin Wall, a barrier constructed by East German authorities to permanently divide the city of Berlin between East and West, and declared himself a Berliner in support of the diplomatic efforts to remove the wall.

John Kennedy famously headed a family and official visit to Ireland in June 1963. It was considered by the Irish government to be a return of their most famous son to his homeland, although it was Kennedy’s four great-grandparents who had immigrated to the United States in the mid 1840’s from County Wexford. The president was greeted as a returning hero and honoured with accolades and large crowds of people at every step. President Kennedy even had the opportunity to visit the village where his family had once lived, and still lived at the time. The visit would prove to be bittersweet for his ancestral homeland, for, just five months later, while on a campaign visit to Dallas, Texas, John Kennedy was shot and assassinated on the 22nd November 1963. Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who had accompanied Kennedy to his home state, was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One, in the company of the late president’s young widow. He was sworn in by federal judge Sarah Hughes; it was the first time a woman had sworn in an American president. Lee Harvey Oswald, an out-of-work casual labourer who had questionable ties to Cuba and Russia, was himself shot and killed just two days after being apprehended by authorities by a nightclub owner named Jack Ruby, who had ties to organised crime. These events led many internationally and in the United States to speculate that a conspiracy to kill the president had come from Havana, Moscow, or further afield, but this has never been proved. It was also questioned for many years as to whether there was more than one gunman on that fateful day. The official report is that the president was shot by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas Texas. The gunman supposedly acted alone as he fired at the president from the sixth-story window of a nearby building, killing him.

The president’s funeral was held on the 25th November. Official mourners traveled from almost every nation and included other presidents, kings, queens, and heads of government, all led by Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline, and their two small children. The president was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. A permanent memorial, the Eternal Flame, continues to burn over the late president’s grave as a sign of continued respect and remembrance.   ❑

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