US Coins

American Innovation design picks by CCAC

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee were overwhelmingly pleased with the quality of the proposed designs they were presented Sept. 27 to consider for the 2018 American Innovation dollar.

The tenor of the meeting was a lot more relaxed than the July 31 teleconference during which the panel refused to consider the initial proposed designs for the coin to introduce the American Innovation $1 Coin Program.

Particularly upsetting to CCAC members in July was the U.S. Mint’s plan to carry the Statue of Liberty common reverse from the Presidential $1 Coin Program (2007 to 2016) over for use on the obverse of the 2018 American Innovation dollar. So annoyed were some CCAC members with that plan that it was suggested the 2018 coin be scrapped altogether.


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The 2018 coin is an introductory issue to be followed by 56 coins in the 14-year American Innovation $1 Coin Program. The program calls for a common obverse for all 57 total coins issued under the program.

Reverse designs for the coins beginning in 2019 are to reflect innovations in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa., U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Four coins are to be issued annually, to be struck in multiple finishes for numismatic product sales only. None of the coins is to be struck for release into general circulation.

The enabling legislation, Public Law 116-197 mandates that the common obverse feature a likeness of the Statue of Liberty “extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty.”

The obverse is also mandated to carry the motto IN GOD WE TRUST along with the denomination reflected numerically as $1.

The reverse for the 2018 introductory dollar must include the inscription AMERICAN INNOVATORS and a facsimile rendering of President George Washington’s signature as it appears on the first U.S. patent dated July 31, 1790.

The inscription AMERICAN INNOVATORS is not required to be incorporated into any of the subsequent 56 dollar coins in the program.

Like the Presidential dollars, the American Innovation dollars will carry the date, Mint mark and inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM incuse on the coin’s otherwise plain edge.

During their Sept. 27 meeting, CCAC members recommended a common dollar obverse design depicting the Statue of Liberty with the flame from the Torch of Enlightenment extending to the rim.

CCAC members concurred with member Donald Scarinci’s suggestion that the motto be reduced in size and moved slightly lower in the field and that the denomination $1 be moved to the field behind Liberty’s head.

For the recommended reverse, the design features stylized gears, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in a diagonal bar separating the remaining field. In the lower right field appears the U.S. Patent Office seal within a shield, AMERICAN / INNOVATORS, George Washington’s signature, and SIGNED FIRST PATENT.

CCAC members discussed the possibility of rendering the patent office seal as a privy mark or otherwise incorporating the seal in subsequent reverse designs for the program.

The CCAC’s design recommendations differ from those favored by the Commission of Fine Arts Sept. 20.

The CFA favored two obverse and one reverse design.

One of those obverse designs depicts a view of the statue as Liberty proudly raises her torch in the air. IN GOD WE TRUST appears in two lines inscribed in the field in front of the main design device.

On the CFA’s second favored obverse, an imposing view looking up at Liberty is rendered, with IN GOD WE TRUST in a single line along the left border.

The lone reverse recommended depicts a document representing the first U.S. patent issued, featuring a bold depiction of George Washington’s signature. The 13 stars along the rim represent the 13 states in existence in 1790. The design also features the inscriptions FIRST PATENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, JULY 31, 1790, and AMERICAN INNOVATORS. 

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