US Coins

U.S. Mint seeking circulating commems for 250th anniversary in 2026

To help celebrate the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026, the U.S. Mint will pursue legislation that will include a one-year redesign of the obverses and reverses of all circulating U.S. coin denominations. The Mint did not disclose what design motifs might be used for the 2026 redesign. 

U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder provided only a few details about the 2026 coins in an exclusive interview with Coin World Aug. 13 in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois. He did say that the 2026 redesign is the major component of a proposal for a 10-year quarter dollar program to begin in 2022, the year after the America the Beautiful Quarters Program ends.

The nation’s Bicentennial was celebrated in 1976 with new designs for the reverses of the Washington quarter dollar, Kennedy half dollar, and Eisenhower dollar, with the coins bearing the dual dates 1776-1976.

More quarter dollars

Ryder said he has the support of Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin for a multi-year program that would result in the release of 10 different quarter dollars. 

Ryder said four quarter dollars, issued one per year for the years 2022 through 2025, would bear reverse designs depicting animals, the top theme suggested by collectors in Mint focus groups and surveys. The 2026 coin would celebrate the 250th anniversary. 

Starting in 2027, another four quarter dollars, one annually, would bear designs representing youth sports, the second top design theme suggested. A 10th quarter dollar would reflect either the animals or youth sports theme, Ryder said.

Designs for the successor program for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program would likely be rendered by outside artists, from the bureau’s Artistic Infusion Program, in conjunction with the Mint’s engraving staff, which will sculpt the designs.

The initials of both the designer and sculptor will appear on each respective coin.

Under current law, the Mint had the option to issue a second series of America the Beautiful quarter dollars after the existing program ends in 2021 with the coin honoring Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama. According to Public Law 110-456, the Treasury secretary had to decide by the end of the ninth year of the program — the end of calendar year 2018 — whether to continue the program with a second round of 56 circulating quarter dollars.

When the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, whether following the first round or a second round if one was authorized — the denomination’s obverse is mandated under the same law to revert to sculptor John Flanagan’s portrait of Washington as introduced in 1932 on the Washington quarter dollar and last used in 1998, before the start of the 50 State Quarters Program in 1999. The State quarter dollar obverse featuring Washington is a 10 to 15 percent reduction, accomplished by then Mint Sculptor-Engraver William C. Cousins, of Flanagan’s original rendition.

The reverse design mandated to appear after the America the Beautiful program ends is to reflect Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware River prior to the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution. 

Emmanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware was used as inspiration by then U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Alfred Maletsky for the design that was approved for the reverse of the 1999 New Jersey State quarter dollar.

Legislation for the Mint’s proposed program would compete with legislation already before Congress seeking other follow-up programs to the existing series. 

The Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act, H.R. 1923, if enacted, would begin in 2021, generating 56 quarter dollars to celebrate accomplishments and contributions of an individual woman of each state, territory and the District of Columbia. 

The number of co-sponsors for the bill has been increasing slowly, and the support is bipartisan in nature. 

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments