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Biden authorizes minting of Harriet Tubman coins

President Joe Biden signed the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act into law yesterday.

The law requires the U.S. Treasury to mint up to 50,000 five dollar gold coins, 400,000 one dollar silver coins and 750,000 half-dollar coins featuring Tubman’s image.

The coins, available for purchase starting in 2024, each come with a surcharge, the proceeds from which will be split between the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

The coins are being minted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Tubman’s birth.

The White House thanked Representative John Katko (R-Camillus) and others for introducing the bill in a Wednesday release.

“I am pleased that the coins issued under this legislation, bearing Harriet Tubman’s likeness and symbolizing her legacy, will directly benefit preservation and education efforts at the Tubman Home in Auburn,” said Katko after the bill passed Congress last week, according to The Citizen.

Katko originally introduced the Tubman coin bill in 2020, but no vote was held. He reintroduced the bill in 2021.

More: Congress OKs Tubman coins; will help fund Tubman Home

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), too, was pleased to learn of the bill’s passage.

“The Harriet Tubman Home is a beloved site in Upstate New York that plays an essential role in educating the public and visitors from across the country on Tubman’s extraordinary life. I am proud to have fought to formally establish the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Cayuga County, and am proud to have continued that fight with this bill to ensure Tubman’s history in New York continues to live on,” said Schumer in a news release. “This legislation will serve the solemn purpose of ensuring Harriet Tubman’s story continues to receive the recognition it deserves and the proceeds will help preserve her legacy at the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn for countless generations to come.”

The law requires the coins to reflect Tubman’s legacy as an abolitionist.

Coins surcharges are $35 per five-dollar coin, $10 per one-dollar coin and $5 for each half-dollar coin.

The two organizations set to benefit from this surcharge will both have to raise matching amounts from private sources in order to receive the funds. The Harriet Tubman Home will receive $4.75 million if all coins are sold.

More: INSIDE THE FLX: Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason; protecting drinking water, the level of Owasco Lake, and free downtown parking (podcast)