US Coins

CFA picks designs for two Obama medals

Proposed designs for two Presidential medals to be struck by the U.S. Mint for President Obama’s two terms in office were recommended June 16 by the Commission of Fine Arts.

The coin and medal design advisory panel reviewed two obverse and one reverse design for the Obama medal recognizing the 44th president’s first four-year term as the nation’s chief executive and one obverse and two reverse redesigns indicative of the president’s second term.

The proposed designs will also be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee on June 27.

The recommendations from both panels, as well as those of U.S. Mint officials, will be forwarded to the Treasury secretary or his designee for final approval.

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The medals continue a U.S. Mint medal tradition dating to the 19th century.

Collectors will have the opportunity to purchase 3-inch and 1.3125-inch bronze duplicates of both Obama Presidential medals once available from the U.S. Mint.

Three-inch Presidential medals currently offered by the U.S. Mint for previous presidents are available for $39.95 and the 1.3125-inch medals for $6.95.


The obverse design recommended by the CFA for President Obama’s first-term Presidential medal depicts the president with the beginning of a smile and facing slightly to his right.

Inscribed in the field along the left border is BARACK OBAMA.

The obverse design not recommended is similar to the recommended one, except the image is pulled back, exposing the president’s tie, shirt collar and coat lapels.

The lone proposed reverse, which received CFA recommendation, depicts at the top the eagle motif from the presidential seal. A border of 50 five-pointed stars, one for each state, encircles the medal.

Centered below is an excerpt from President Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009, inaugural address: OUR DESTINY / IS NOT WRITTEN / FOR US. / IT IS WRITTEN / BY US. / JANUARY 20, 2009.

Inscribed below the passage is a facsimile of President Obama’s signature.

Second term medal

The CFA endorsed the lone obverse design presented for consideration for the second-term Obama Presidential medal.

The designs features a left facing profile portrait of the president, with what might be considered a determined expression.

The recommended reverse is bordered by 50, five-pointed stars, one for each of the 50 states.

A rendition of the White House appears at the top below the stars, with the date of President Obama’s second inaugural address, JANUARY 20, 2013, beneath.

Centered in the field is an excerpt from that inaugural address: THE SINGLE / MOST POWERFUL / WORD IN / OUR DEMOCRACY / IS THE WORD / “WE.”

A facsimile of his signature appears below the inaugural address excerpt.

Along the bottom border within the circle of stars appear the legends WE THE PEOPLE, WE SHALL OVERCOME, and YES WE CAN.

On the reverse not recommended by the CFA, the phrases appear in an arc above the White House. 

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