Precious Metals

2023 American Liberty program may get tenth-ounce gold coin

United States Mint officials are considering issuing an American Liberty tenth-ounce gold $10 coin again 2023, in addition to the scheduled Proof American Liberty, High Relief 1-ounce .9999 fine gold $100 coin and 1-ounce .999 fine silver medal. A tenth-ounce coin has been offered just once in the American Liberty series, in 2018.

Still to be determined is whether the tenth-ounce option would have a Proof finish, where it would be struck, whether in high relief, what the mintage would be and if household order limits would be applied.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee Feb. 15 reviewed 19 proposed obverse and 16 reverse designs and variants, combined, for the 2023 American Liberty gold $100 coin and silver medal. The medal will bear the same devices as the gold coin, but without coin inscriptions. The silver medal will be produced without Mint mark at the Philadelphia Mint.

CCAC members were also provided with proposed designs illustrating what the designs would look like in actual size for the silver medal and tenth-ounce gold coin.

The same proposed designs were to be reviewed Feb. 17 for recommendations by the Commission of Fine Arts.

Proposed designs recommended by the CCAC and CFA will be forwarded to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for final decision.

Recommended designs

The designs executed by members of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and outside complement of Artistic Infusion Program designers reflect the theme “Liberty through Perseverance.”

According to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative, the CCAC-recommended obverse design “features a bristlecone pine, a species native to California, Nevada, and Utah, thought to be the oldest living organisms on Earth, living up to 5,000 years. Bristlecone pines grow in places where other plants cannot, and are often the species that is first to repopulate the land after cataclysmic changes such as a lava run or glacial runoff.”

The obverse design for the silver medal will bear the same 2023 date in the right field as on the gold $100, and in place of the IN GOD / WE TRUST that is in the left field on the gold coin, the silver medal has WE SHALL / PERSEVERE.

The CCAC-recommended reverse, according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative, “depicts the moments before a bald eagle’s first attempt at flight.”

“A young bald eagle stands on a rocky outcropping, looking over its shoulder just before finding the courage to fly,” the narrative states.

It was suggested during the CCAC’s Feb. 15 teleconference that the bald eagle design be modified, since the white head feathers do not appear on the eagle until it is roughly 4 years old.

A motion by CCAC member Dean J. Kotlowski — appointed to the panel because of his special qualifications in American history — to approve another pair of proposed designs for Yellen to consider in addition to the recommended designs, failed for lack of a second.

The obverse design Kotlowski suggested receive Yellen’s consideration depicts a Liberty portrait revealed from stone, demonstrating how the American people participate in sculpting our own image of liberty.

Kotlowski’s suggested alternate reverse depicts an American bald eagle soaring high above a mountain range. This reverse received the same number of votes from the CCAC as the eventual recommended reverse design.

Program launch

The United States Mint launched the American Liberty 24-Karat Gold Coin and Silver Medal program in 2015. The Secretary of the Treasury authorized the program based on the Mint’s statutory authority to issue gold coins and silver medals. Designs for this biennial program feature modern depictions of Liberty on the obverse and an American eagle on the reverse.

Previous to the 2021 coin, American Liberty issues allegorically depict Liberty as a woman: a standing figure bears a torch and American flag on the 2015 issue; a portrait of a Black woman is crowned in stars on the 2017 and 2018 issues; and a radiant head appears on the 2019 coin and medal.

An allegorical image on the 2021 coin’s obverse presents the concept of Liberty with a wild American mustang horse, bucking off a western-style saddle, evoking the throwing off of the yoke of British rule during the American Revolution.

The horse is centered on a rising sun.

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