Precious Metals

No 5-ounce coins planned in American Women program for 2022

The Mint has no plans to issue 5-ounce silver bullion versions of the American Women quarter dollars for 2022.

Images courtesy of the United States Mint.

None of the five American Women quarter dollars to be issued in 2022 will be produced in 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion versions, although the United States Mint has the authority to issue such coins.

U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White told Coin World Dec. 10 “the Mint has no plans to issue the bullion versions.”

The Philadelphia Mint struck America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion and Uncirculated coins for the duration of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program because provisions of Public Law 110-456 — America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 — mandated it.

The America the Beautiful quarters program ended in 2021. Although the program started in 2010, production for the 5-ounce 3-inch diameter silver versions did not begin until 2011, but included the 2010-dated releases.

All were executed on a special dedicated coin press.

Provisions of Public Law 116-330 — Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 — modified the 5-ounce production directive, providing the Treasury secretary the discretion to direct the production 5-ounce versions without the mandate.

“Prior to enactment of the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act, 31 USC [United States Code] §5112 (u) read, in relevant part, that ‘The Secretary shall strike and make available for sale such number of bullion coins as the Secretary determines to be appropriate that are exact duplicates of the quarter dollars issued under subsection (t) …’

“With the enactment of the CCCRA, subsection (u) was modified to read that ‘The Secretary is authorized to strike and make available for sale such number of bullion coins as the Secretary determines to be appropriate that feature of the designs of the quarter dollars issued and half dollars issued under subsections (x), (y), and (z). …’ Thus, what was previously a mandate was transformed into an authorization left to the discretion of the Secretary,” White said.

Finishes, denominations

White further explains that the enabling legislation for the American Women quarter dollars grants the Treasury secretary extreme latitude in ordering the output of 5-ounce silver coins in various finishes and denominations with Mint mark.

“With respect to the 5-ounce silver bullion coins that the Secretary is authorized to strike and make available for sale under the CCCRA, the law requires only that they feature the designs of the quarter dollars and half dollars issued under the authority of the Act (unlike the ATB silver bullion coins, that they need not be ‘exact duplicates’ of the quarters), that they have a diameter of 3.0 inches and weigh 5.0 ounces, that they contain .999 fine silver, that they have incused into the edge the fineness and weight of the bullion coin, and that they bear an inscription of the denomination of such coins, such denominations to be determined by the Secretary as the Secretary determines to be appropriate,” according to White. “As the legislation does not mandate a particular finish, the Secretary would have the discretion to strike the coins in either an uncirculated finish or a proof finish and inasmuch as the bullion coin designs need not be exact duplicates of the quarters, the Secretary would have even broader discretion to include additional inscriptions, including a mint mark.

“With respect to fractionals of the authorized 5-ounce bullion coins, the Secretary enjoys even broader discretion to produce these silver coins in sizes, weights, fineness, and denominations, and with inscriptions, that the Secretary determines to be appropriate,” said White.

2022 coins planned

The enabling act requires that the program’s 20 quarter dollars feature women with contributions from a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts. The women honored will be from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.

The women to be honored in 2022 are:
➤ Maya Angelou — celebrated writer, performer, and social activist.
➤ Dr. Sally Ride — physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space.
➤ Wilma Mankiller — first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
➤ Nina Otero-Warren — a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools.
➤ Anna May Wong — first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.

Designs approved featuring chosen honorees will appear on the reverses of the program’s circulating quarter dollars, paired with the common obverse, American sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser’s right-facing portrait of George Washington.

Proposed designs were considered by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, with final choice and approval by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

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