U.S. Mint reveals its first-ever ‘curved coin’ in commemoration of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Back in April the United States Mint announced the opening of a national coin design competition that would culminate with the Secretary of the Treasury selecting the images for their planned 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin.

On Friday, we finally got our first peak at the winning selection and finished product, and it turns out these special baseball coins will be notable for more than their acknowledgement of the Hall of Fame's milestone 75th anniversary.

As you can clearly see in the picture above, the coins are curved as opposed to flat, making them the first-ever curved coin the U.S. Mint has released in its history.

From the U.S. Mint website:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative $5 gold, $1 silver, and one-half dollar clad coins will have a shape such that the obverse is concave and the reverse is convex. While these will be the first curved coins ever minted by the United States Mint, it did produce the curved 1973 Roberto Walker Clemente Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the late Pittsburgh Pirates star right fielder.

Research and development on the curved National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins is unprecedented in recent United States Mint history. It covered height of relief limitations; milling, turning and grinding operations; coinability issues; laser frosting and proof polishing; and proof, uncirculated and clad test strikes.

During the planning phase for the minting and production of its first-ever curved coins, the Royal Australian and Perth Mints provided valuable technical insight to the United States Mint.

Though admittedly not a coin aficionado myself, this is still pretty awesome.

Here's a look at the flip side, also known as the heads side.

In total, 178 citizen submissions were entered in the contest. Here's a little more information about how the winner was selected.

The winning design, submitted by Cassie McFarland, was selected from the finalists by the Department of the Treasury on September 4, 2013, after consultation with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

It won't be ideal for coin flips, but I can't picture a better design. It really is a beautiful looking coin that should become a hot item for coin collectors and baseball fans alike. Speaking of which, the coin is scheduled to be available early in 2014, so be on the look out if hoping to add it to your collection.

BLS H/N: Cut 4 (via Reddit)

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!