Paul Gilkes

Mint State

Paul Gilkes

Paul is a senior editor and has been a member of the Coin World staff since 1988. Paul covers the U.S. Mint beat and has memorably reported for more than two decades on many of the hobby's most important stories including the record sale of the Farouk/Fenton 1933 double eagle and the ongoing legal proceedings of the Langbord 1933 double eagles. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and collects autographs and memorabilia from The Andy Griffith Show.

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Eager anticipation: Breaking down the gold 1916 centennial coins

The United States Mint released mock-up designs June 17 that tentatively depict what the 2016-dated Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar 100th Anniversary gold coins will look like.

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee previewed the designs during two days of coin and medal design review June 16 and 17.

The most prominent of factors in the centennial coin’s production is the Mint’s decision to employ sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil’s original Bared Breast obverse introduced in 1916, and not the modified 1917 Mailed Breast version that masks Liberty’s previously exposed right bosom

The three 2016 coins’ mock-up designs appear to replicate the original .900 fine silver versions that MacNeil designed for the Standing Liberty quarter dollar and sculptor Adolph A. Weinman did for the dime and half dollar.

As illustrated in the mock-up designs, the precious metal composition would be given as AU, its elemental symbol on the periodic table, instead of GOLD. The weight would be given as 1/10 OZ. for the dime, 1/4 OZ. for the quarter dollar and 1/2 OZ. for the half dollar. The fineness inscription would be 24K (for 24 karat), and not .9999 FINE as it appears on American Buffalo gold coins.

The fineness, weight and metallic content are tentatively slated to appear on the obverse of the Standing Liberty quarter dollar, but are set for the reverse side of the other two denominations. Each coin will retain its respective face value — dime, quarter dollar and half dollar.

All three coins are expected to be eagerly awaited by collectors.

Here’s what some Facebook fans are already saying, specifically on the gold dime, from our initial June 17 posting at announcing all three denominations:

Christopher Brant: I think they should mint this in gold and platinum.

Noah T. Wright: I’ll take one.

Vernon Peterson: I think the 2016 date is to large & doesn't look right. Since it shows 1/10oz of gold + "ONE DIME", why not place the date in Roman Numerals - MMXVI instead of 2016...

Steve Elam: Waste of Time! Not A Dime!

As Coin World learns additional details of any design modifications, surface finishes, release dates, mintages and product options, we will report them to you.

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Two questions I have.

1) Why is it necessary to state the weight and fineness on these designs (and last year's gold Kennedy Half) when it wasn't on the 2009 UHR coin?

2) How did the mint come up with weights of 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz? Last year's Kennedy Half was a 3/4 oz coin... necessary using heavy gold to make the dimensions close to those of a traditional half dollar. Won't a 1/2 oz gold "half" be rather thin? Same goes for the quarter and the dime. Shouldn't thye quarter be closer to 1/3 oz, and the dime 1/8? Dimes are very close in dimensions to a "classic" quarter eagle which contained just under 1/8 oz of .90 gold. I would think they mint might even have striking problems using such thin planchets as their announced weights would suggest. I can see why they might do it to keep the costs to the collectors down, but "full size" coins would be more impressive.

Ross Johnson
The three coins look great, overall - tho' the date is too large and stretched-looking on the dime. -And did I miss something, or has the Mint/Treasury Dept. finally determined that these fractional denominations can legally be issued in gold? I recall this was an issue that drew some questions when the idea of gold commemoratives for the 1916 trio of coins first came around.
A quick followup to my earlier comment... The 2014 Gold Kennedy half required .75 oz of 24K (pure) gold to approximate the dimensions of a standard 90% silver 10% copper half with a weight of 12.5 grams. That gives a ratio of.06 troy oz. per gram of the silver/copper alloy. Therefore, to keep the dimensions consistent with their silver counterparts...

...The gold "guarter" should weigh .06 times 6.25 grams or .375 troy oz. of pure gold (just over 1/3 of a troy oz).

...The gold "dime" should weigh .06 times 2.5 grams or .15 troy oz. of pure gold (just over 1/7 of a troy oz.)

Assuming diameters are kept the same, using .5 troy oz gold (for the half), .25 troy oz gold (for the quarter) and .1 troy oz. gold (for the dime) will result in coins about a two thirds the thickness of their silver counterparts.
If we really want to celebrate the designs of these coins, why not issue them in 5 oz. silver versions like the current ATB quarter "hockey pucks", whose large size better showcases their artistry and with prices more affordable to the collector
The coins should be silver proof, not gold unc. I think they will look much better in the metal they were originally made. The Standing Liberty Quarter was never done in proof. A proof version would be spectacular. The main reason I was looking forward to these coins was to get a SLB quarter in proof! Also, the price for the gold versions will be more than many collectors can spend.
I agree with the commenter who said these coins should be issued in silver. Not only that, they should be issued as matte proofs, the proof minting process in favor at the time.