1993 James Madison Bill of Rights $5 Commemorative Gold Coin NGC MS -70


Released on January 22, 1993, this coin was authorized in commemoration of the first ten amendments of the Constitution of the United States, known as the Bill of Rights, and the role that James Madison played in supporting their adoption.


The 1993 Bill of Rights $5 Gold Coin was issued for James Madison and the Bill of Rights. The commemorative coin program included a silver half dollar and silver dollar coin, in addition to the gold coin. The designs for these coins were actually the result of a nationwide competition launched by the U.S. Treasurer.

The obverse of the gold coin features James Madison studying a copy of the Bill of Rights. He is pictured from the waist up in profile. The reverse of the coin features a quote from James Madison. Smaller design elements are pictured around the quote, including a torch, an eagle with a scroll, and an olive branch. The obverse designer was Scott R. Blazek and the reverse designer was Joseph D. Pena.

The obverse inscriptions of the coin are “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, “James Madison”, and the date of mintage “1993”. The reverse of the coin includes “United States of America”, “Bill of Rights”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “Five Dollars”, and the James Madison quote “Equal laws protecting equal rights are… the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.”

The 1993 James Madison Gold Coin was offered in uncirculated or proof version, with both versions produced at the West Point Mint. The maximum mintage was established at 300,000 coins, at the time representing the lowest limit established for a $5 gold commemorative coin.

The gold coins were sold individually, as part of a three-coin proof set, three-coin uncirculated set, or comprehensive six-coin set which included one of each version of the Bill of Rights Commemorative Coins. Initially coins were available at a pre-issue discount price, after which regular prices were put into effect.

NGC Coin Grading Scale

NGC uses the internationally accepted Sheldon grading scale of 1 to 70, which was first used in the United States in the late 1940s. This scale was adopted by NGC when it began operations in 1987 and is considered to be the industry standard. Below are NGC’s grading standards for each numeric grade as well as major strike types and designations.

What is a 70?

NGC defines a Mint State or Proof 70 coin as having no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.

Strike Type

NGC uses two-letter codes before a coin’s numeric grade to describe its method of production and overall appearance. The most common are MS for Mint State coins (those struck for circulation) and PF for Proof coins (those struck for collectors). Another strike type is SP for Specimen, which describes a coin that falls short of the definition for actual Proofs but are superior to the normal currency issues.

MS Mint State. Coins struck in the same format as circulation issues. Applies to grades 60 to 70.
PF Proof. Coins struck in a special format for collectors.
SP Specimen. A hybrid between Mint State and Proof.

Numeric Grades

NGC uses a numeric grade to succinctly describe a problem-free coin’s condition. The available numeric grades range from 1 to 70 based on an internationally recognized scale developed in the 1940s. As the numeric grade increases, a coin’s condition is considered to be better. Some numbers are skipped below the grade of 60, which is the threshold for a coin to be considered Uncirculated.

MS/PF 70 A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification.
MS/PF 69 A fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections.
MS/PF 68 Very sharply struck with only miniscule imperfections.
MS/PF 67 Sharply struck with only a few imperfections.
MS/PF 66 Very well struck with minimal marks and hairlines.
MS/PF 65 Well struck with moderate marks or hairlines.

Plus & Star

NGC uses the Plus (+) and Star () designations to distinguish coins at the high end of their assigned grade and/or with exceptional eye appeal for their assigned grade. All coins are evaluated for the Plus and Star designations as part of the normal NGC coin grading process, and they are assigned automatically for no additional fee.

+ (NGC Plus Designation) NGC assigns a plus sign to coins at the high end of their assigned grade, approaching the quality requirements for the next grade. For example, a coin graded NGC MS 64 is close to the quality of a coin graded NGC MS 65.
(NGC Star Designation) NGC assigns its trademarked Star Designation to coins with exceptional eye appeal for their assigned grade.

Strike Characters

Strike characters are used to describe how well an area of a coin is struck and when information is of specific interest to collectors. For example, strike characters can describe the degree of red luster on a copper coin’s surface (BN, RB and RD), the degree of contrast on a Proof coin (Cameo and Ultra Cameo) or other distinctive features, such as FB for Full Bands on a Mercury Dime.