As the Obama administration winds down at the end of the president’s
second turn, United States Mint officials are busy preparing several
traditional medals it has issued for more than a century. Designs for
the medals honoring President Obama’s two terms were
earlier selected though not revealed in their final form, and now the
designs for the medal for his last Treasury secretary have undergone
review by two federal panels.
Proposed designs for U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s traditional
medal by the United States Mint were put before the Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts for review during
the groups’ separate Nov. 17 meetings. Medals honoring the secretary
of the Treasury Department were first produced by the Mint in 1890.
Lew is likely serving his final days in his position, as
President-elect Donald Trump will put together his own administration
and replace most, if not all, of President Barack Obama’s cabinet secretaries.
All United States Mint coin and medal designs, including these ones
for a medal honoring the department’s top official, are ultimately
determined by the Treasury. The CCAC and Commission of Fine Arts make
recommendations that the Treasury will consider.
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The CCAC recommendations were submitted Nov. 17. The recommended
obverse, which you can view in the slider above, portrays Secretary
Lew with an American flag billowing in the background and the
inscription “Jacob J. Lew.” It also features the date Secretary Lew
was sworn into office, “February 28, 2013,” and a banner with the
inscription “76th Secretary of the Treasury.”
The reverse recommended by the CCAC features a quote by Harriet
Tubman next to a portrait of the Statue of Liberty.
The quote reads, “I would fight for Liberty so long as my strength
lasted.” The inscription “Harriet Tubman” sits below the design
element of the Main Building on Ellis Island.
The CFA announced Nov. 17 that it recommends the same two designs.
Both the obverse and reverse designs were favored by Secretary Lew
That reverse design would be an fitting choice, as Tubman and Lew
will likely forever be linked in the minds of collectors. It was under
Lew’s watch that redesigned Federal Reserve notes were approved
in April 2016, and Tubman was selected as the American woman whose
portrait will grace the new $20 note.
We shared all of the proposed obverse and reverse designs for the
medal with our
Twitter followers Thursday. Have a look: