US Coins

American Innovation Dollar Coin 2018 debut

Just 11 days after President Trump signed into law the American Innovation $1 Coin Act July 20, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet July 31 by teleconference to review the proposed designs for a single 2018 dollar coin to introduce the program.

Public Law 116-197 mandates a 14-year program comprising 56 total coins “in recognition of American innovation and significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States territories, to promote the importance of innovation in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories.”

Four coins are to be issued annually for release in multiple finishes as numismatic products, with none struck for release into circulation.

The act calls for the program to be introduced in 2019. However, at the discretion of the Treasury secretary, the program can be introduced in 2018 with a single dollar with specified designs that would raise the program’s total to 57 coins. That is the route being taken.

For the American Innovation $1 Coin Program’s inaugural issue in 2018, the obverse is to use a common design for the entire program, a likeness of the Statue of Liberty “extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty.”

The reverse for the 2018 coin is to bear the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and AMERICAN INNOVATORS along with a representation of the signature of President George Washington on the first United States patent issued in 1790.

The American Innovation dollars for the 50 states are to be issued in the order in which each state ratified the U.S. Constitution or entered the Union. Following the states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories in order, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands all would also present an innovator from their area.


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The law indicates “The edge-incusing of the inscriptions under clause (i) on coins issued under this subsection shall be done in a manner that preserves the distinctive edge of the coin so that the denomination of the coin is readily discernible, including by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.”

On the Presidential and Native American dollars, the denomination as $1 has appeared as part of the reverse design. The edge is reserved for the incuse inscription of the date, Mint mark and E PLURIBUS UNUM and 13 stars.

The last dollar coins specifically struck for release into general circulation were 2011 James A. Garfield Presidential dollars and 2011 Native American dollars.

Dollar coins struck since the beginning of 2012 in circulation quality are designated for numismatic sales only. On Dec. 13, 2011, then Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner imposed a moratorium on production designated for commerce distribution, after it was determined that some 1.3 billion Presidential and Native American dollars had accumulated in Federal Reserve contracted vault storage. 

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