My Atlanta Olympic $5 Gold die collection, a hunt in progress
updated with some additions 1/16/2021
A charitable description of the 1995-1996 US Mint Olympic coin program would be "ambitious". The US Mint sought to capitalize on public enthusiasm of a Olympic Centennial held in the US with a huge program consisting of sixteen coin types, delivered over two years in both proof and uncirculated versions with many packaging varieties.
Unfortunately for the US Mint and the US Olympic Committee, collectors felt otherwise and response to the program could be only be best described as tepid. Perhaps in an attempt to boost program income (I really am guessing here), near the end of the program, the US Mint took the unprecedented step of offering partially defaced coin dies for sale. The dies for sale included the gold $5 in both proof and uncirculated versions, and the proof-only silver dollars dies. The Mint did not to sell any of the half dollar or uncirculated silver dollar dies.
Although an Olympic gold die collection consists of only six varieties (four obverse and two reverse), completing the set will take much more time than a silver dollar die set (eight obverse and two reverse dies. The rarest gold die (proof Torch Runner) has a population of 8 with some of the other die population number in the teens. Thus, the total number of complete gold $5 die sets can only be 8. The uncirculated gold dies don't have the heft or flash of the proof silver dollar dies and come with a dull look that borders on unattractive (yet I still enjoy them). All gold dies cost an arm and a leg.
My incomplete gold die collection consists of all of the 1995 varieties.
Thanks to Jon Sullivan for this die (the kidney is still working, right?).
1995 $5 Torch Runner Proof Die (population - 8)
1995 $5 Reverse Proof Die (population - 39)
Here is a couple of more gold dies that I have:
1995 $5 Stadium Uncirculated Reverse Die (population - 33)
1995 $5 Reverse Uncirculated Die (population - 39)
1996 $5 Reverse Proof Die (population - 78)
I think I'll consider my collection complete when I manage to find any version (proof or uncirculated) of each type. The low populations (and cost) make it very unlikely that I'll possess a complete set of $5 gold dies. I think it's kind of cool that I was able to find a proof and uncirculated example of the same design.
Collecting coin dies because they offer an unusual way of enjoying numismatics. I guess I also enjoy the challenge of the hunt - the dies are ridiculously rare. Unlike almost all of the Mint's die offerings, most of the design is still visible, albeit mirror-reversed. There are no issues (yet) with slabbing, stickers, counterfeiting, or doctoring.