Precious Metals

2.5-ounce silver medal for 2021 to honor history of U.S. Navy

The United States Navy will be recognized beginning in 2021 with a 2.5-ounce silver medal as part of the U.S. Mint’s ongoing medals program to honor all branches of the U.S. armed forces. 

Proposed obverse and reverse designs for the medal were considered and recommended Oct. 15 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, with the Commission of Fine Arts scheduled to conduct a similar review Oct. 17.

The two design panels were presented with 18 proposed obverse designs and 16 proposed reverse designs, executed either by members of the Mint’s engraving staff or outside artists in the Artistic Infusion Program. 

The CCAC recommends two sets of obverse and reverse pairings from the designs considered.

The favored obverse, according to the Mint’s design narrative, “highlights the old and the new. The USS Constitution, under full sail, is silhouetted behind an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, as old technology gives way to the advanced multi-mission destroyer of today.

The favored reverse combines elements of the Navy’s history. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s hand-sewn battle flag with the inscription DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP, waves above modern elements of a Navy emblem that include a bald eagle, anchor and shield. Rope and chain borders encircle the design.

The alternate obverse “features a line of sailors manning the rails, while the American flag flies in the background.”

The alternate reverse “depicts three of the Navy’s most common platforms — an F14 fighter jet, a destroyer, represented by the USS John Paul Jones, and a Virginia class submarine in stylized water.”

Background

The United States Navy was born from war. Six months after the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired April 19, 1775, at Lexington and Concord, the Continental Congress took its first steps toward establishing an American Navy.

On Oct. 13, 1775, that legislative body voted to purchase and outfit two “swift sailing vessel[s]” to intercept British armed transports en route to America, according to the U.S. Mint’s narrative.

Over the next 10 weeks, the Congress moved rapidly to enlarge and mobilize this nascent naval force, authorizing additional ship purchases, a program of new ship construction, the establishment of a code of naval discipline, and the commissioning of its first naval officers.

Defending the American homeland has not been the U.S. Navy’s sole mission.

“The Navy has been an innovator and pioneer in the fields of science, medicine, cartography, engineering, and exploration,” according to the Mint. “It should also be noted that the U.S. Navy is comprised of three distinct communities — submarine, surface, and aviation. Each is essential to fulfilling the Navy’s mission to protect the citizens of the United States and the country’s global interests.”

The medal will be composed of 2.5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver and exhibit a Matte Finish.

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