US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for July 30, 2018

The American Innovation $1 Coin Act is now law. We will be getting 57 new dollar coins, each with a reverse representative of an American innovation and bearing a standard obverse depicting the Statue of Liberty

The American Innovation $1 Coin Act became law July 20 with the stroke of a pen by President Trump. 

Whether or not they want them, collectors are going to be offered 57 new coins honoring American innovation in every state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory, including a generic-design 2018 edition for which designs apparently already have been created.

The Federal Register on July 26 published notice of a July 31 meeting of the Citizens Advisory Coinage Committee. On the agenda?: “Review and discussion of candidate designs for the 2018 $1 coin that will introduce a new series of dollar coins authorized by the American Innovation $1 Coin Act.”

The act calls for the program to begin in 2019 with four coins to be offered annually. The measure also offered the Treasury secretary an option to authorize a 2018 coin, which Steven Mnuchin has apparently implemented. That option authorizes a 2018 coin as a sort of early preview issue.

As Coin World senior editor Paul Gilkes reports, “The reverse for a 2018 coin, if issued, would 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.”

Future editions will bear reverses representative of an innovation in each state, the District of Columbia, and every U.S. territory.

The obverse of each coin is coin is supposed to depict the Statue of Liberty, a theme that has now appeared on dozens of different coins and one that suggests that Congress is having difficulty in coming up with innovative concepts on its own.

Based on comments by collectors to Coin World and published online in collector forums, the primary buyers of U.S. Mint products, collectors, are appalled by the idea of this program. Many are tired of Congress authorizing one program after another of coins that most Americans will never see or use in commerce. Since dollar coins are struck strictly for collector sales (they do not circulate widely), most Americans will never see one of these coins.

I suspect that most collectors will also avoid this new unwanted series.

Just remember that the blame (and praise, if any arises) should be placed on Congress, not the United States Mint. The Mint will only be carrying out congressional orders in striking and selling these new coins.

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