Mark Twain is being emblazoned on a commemorative coin, and his Missouri hometown figures to reap some of the benefit.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a law that calls for the U.S. Mint to produce for a limited time $1 and $5 coins honoring Twain, who grew up in Hannibal and based many of his most famous characters on the people of the northeast Missouri town.
The coins will be sold in 2016 at prices tied to their face value and the cost of production, plus a surcharge. The surcharge will benefit four sites: the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal; the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn., where he lived from 1874 to 1891; the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in New York state; and the Mark Twain Papers & Project at the University of California, Berkeley.
“This will have a significant impact on our work at the museum, where we care for nine historic properties,” said Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Hannibal museum.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri Republican, sponsored the legislation. His congressional district includes Hannibal. He said that the writer and humorist is an important part of American history and that the coins will help preserve Twain’s legacy.
The House passed the bill in April. The Senate passed it in November.
Twain was born Samuel Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Mo., but his family moved to Hannibal four years later. He lived there until he was 17.
The Hannibal museum properties include the house where Twain lived and several artifacts.