US Coins

Mint releases technical details for American Liberty gold coin

Planchets for the 2015-W American Liberty, High Relief $100 gold coin will be manually fed into the coinage press and struck three times to bring up the desired design relief.

Images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The 2015-W American Liberty gold coin will be struck three times, with the press operator inserting the planchet and removing the coin manually, U.S. Mint officials confirmed July 2. 

The Mint also confirmed that custom planchets will be used for the high relief 1-ounce .9999 fine gold coin.

United States Mint officials said the striking techniques are designed to ensure the quality of each coin. Officials also said custom planchets that measure 30.61 millimeters in diameter and have a nominal thickness of 3.128 millimeters are necessary since no similar planchets exist in the Mint’s inventory.

The U.S. Mint provided Coin World with detailed production specifics for the 2015-W American Liberty, High Relief 1-ounce .9999 fine gold coin after submission of multiple questions.

In responses to those questions, provided by Lateefah Simms, public affairs specialist within the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, Mint officials revealed that each coin is to be struck three times on a Gräbener GMP360 coinage press with the dies striking vertically. Each strike is scheduled to exert approximately 100 metric tons to bring up the desired relief.

The dies will be oriented with the obverse, depicting  Liberty in a flowing gown, as the upper or hammer die and the eagle reverse as the lower or anvil die.

The coin is being struck with a reeded edge.

The coin is to exhibit what the Mint now calls a “business strike” finish, similar to that achieved on the 2009-W Saint-Gaudens, Ultra High Relief gold $20 coins.

Custom planchets

Although the Mint already strikes a 1-ounce .9999 fine gold coin, the American Buffalo, other attributes require a custom planchet for the American Liberty, High Relief coin. 

Early planning for the American Liberty coin indicated that its diameter would be similar to that of the 2014-W Kennedy gold half dollar, which measures 30.61 millimeters when struck. However, that .9999 fine gold half dollar weighs just three-quarters of an ounce, and since the Mint planned the 2015 coin as a 1-ounce coin, the planchets used for the gold half dollar proved too light.

The planchets used for the American Buffalo gold coin, while of the proper weight and gold fineness, also proved unsuitable. The struck American Buffalo gold coin is too wide at 32.7 millimeters in diameter and too thin at 2.95 millimeters thick.

The planchets to be used for the American Liberty gold coin will have the same 30.61-millimeter diameter of the gold half dollar but a thickness of 3.128 millimeters. The extra thickness will boost the coin’s weight to 1 ounce.

Denomination ‘change’

The Mint also clarified the decision to assign the American Liberty gold coin a denomination of $100, rather than the $75 face value assigned to the coin during early planning.

“The face value of $75.00 acted as a placeholder to indicate that the denomination would be different from that of current Mint gold coins,” according to the responses of Mint officials provided by Simms. The decision to switch the coin to a $100 denomination was made in response to a recommendation by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, a longtime advocate for a High Relief coin with modern designs.

The American Liberty will be the nation’s first issued gold $100 coin.

The American Liberty, High Relief gold $100 coin goes on sale at noon Eastern Daylight Time July 30 with a maximum release of 50,000 coins.

Initial pricing for the coin is to be announced during the week beginning July 13, according to Mint officials.

A companion High Relief 1-ounce .999 fine silver medal bearing the same designs but without coin inscriptions is to be offered at a later date.

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