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Congressional Gold Medals (featuring the Dalai Lama's)

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Bronze Duplicates


It was originally awarded to military leaders for achievement in battle, but became a civilian medal after the Medal of Honor was instituted. The medal is presented both for singular acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement. Congressional legislation is required to make the medal, and needs at least two-thirds of the House of Representatives to sponsor the legislation to the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology, and Economic Growth and 67 Senators to sponsor it to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.


Once the legislation is past, the Congress commissions the U.S Mint to design and create the medal. This ensures that each medal is unique, representing each individual and/or event that it has been awarded for. The legislation provides for duplicate copies of the medal to be cast in bronze for sale, on occasion. Bronze replicas of the Dalai Lama medal can be purchased from the US Mint.





Don Everhart recently made news for his work in sculpting the front of a congressional gold coin granted to the Dalai Lama. He also sculpted the Statue of Liberty design which is on the back of coins in the U.S. Mint's series of presidential dollar coins.


The obverse of the Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal, designed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, features a smiling portrait of the Dalai Lama. The Himalayan Mountains are in the background. The inscriptions "14th Dalai Lama of Tibet," "Tenzin Gyatso," his birth name, "Act of Congress" and "2006" are included on the obverse.



Don Everhart is a United States Mint Sculptor





The reverse, designed by Joseph Menna, a United States Mint Medallic Sculptor, depicts a stylized lotus flower, considered to be a symbol of purity. The inscriptions include a quotation from the Dalai Lama, "World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion."


Joseph Menna

Medallic Sculptor

United States Mint





The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act was introduced as S.2782 by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Craig Thomas (R-WY) and as H.R.4562 by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA).


A Congressional Gold Medal is created by the United States Mint to specifically commemorate the person and achievement for which the medal is awarded. Each medal is therefore different in appearance, and there is no standard design for a Congressional Gold Medal. Congressional Gold Medals are also considered "non-portable", meaning that they are not meant to be worn on a uniform or other clothing, but rather displayed much like a trophy. Often, bronze versions of the medals are struck for sale.



A replica of the Congressional Gold Medal on display at the U.S. Capitol during the Congressional Gold Medal Awards Ceremony, Oct. 17, 2007. Wonder where this ended up?



Pages S5284-85


Fourteenth Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act: Senate passed S. 2784, to award a congressional gold medal to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in recognition of his many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights, and religious understanding.


Bill S. 2784 An Act


President Bush signed legislation (Public Law 109-287) on September 27, 2006, to bestow the medal to recognize the Dalai Lama’s “many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights and religious understanding,” according to the text of the legislation.

Report info




Congressional Gold Medal Recipirents



17 October 2007


Here we see President Bush handing the Dalai Lama a very nice presentation box containg the award.



What does the Dalai Lama do...why of course, he reaches right in and grabs the Golden Fleece!



Design and Casting of Gold Medals


After a Congressional Gold Medal bill has been approved by both houses of

Congress and signed into law by the President, officials of the United States Mint

meet with the sponsors of the legislation and members of the honoree’s family to

discuss possible designs for the medal. Photographs of the honoree are also

examined during this meeting. Mint engravers then prepare a series of sketches of

possible designs for consideration and comment by the Commission of Fine Arts and subsequently the Secretary of the Treasury, who makes the final decision on the medal’s design. Once the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the

honoree’s family, has made a selection, the design is sculptured, a striking die is made and the medal is then struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The Mint then notifies the White House and arrangements are made for a formal presentation by the President.


The price tag of issuing a Congressional Gold Medal, generally about $30,000! The costs to fabricate the medal are charged against the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund. Congress established this revolving fund “in the Treasury of the United States ... to be available to the Secretary for numismatic operations and programs of the United States Mint, without fiscal year limitations.”


The authorizing legislation in each case typically includes a provision

stating that the “Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold

medal struck ... at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses) and the cost of the gold medal.”


Monies received from the sales of the bronze duplicates are deposited in the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund



Note: A standard issue Medal of Honor is $29.98, contrasted to the Congressional Gold Medal which can and do cost up to $30,000.


edit: forgot pic of replica & spelling, attrocious!



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