US Coins

CCAC offers input on Five Freedoms platinum coins

Proof American Eagle platinum coins were a major topic of discussion at the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee meeting at U.S. Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 15. 

The panel reviewed designs for the “Five Freedoms” series that will be minted from 2021 to 2025. A handful of individually designed proposals were also submitted, but the majority of the proposals were in groupings of designs for three or five different coins.

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The committee did not arrive at any concrete plans or make any official recommendations, but the meeting did produce a list of recommendations that will be integrated by the Mint when planning future platinum coin series.

The Five Freedoms program is scheduled to issue a new platinum coin every year, each to depict one of the five rights of all U.S. citizens under the First Amendment. Each year between 2021 and 2025, one of the freedoms will have its own coin; 2021 will represent freedom of religion, 2022 will represent freedom of speech, 2023 will represent freedom of the press, 2024 will represent freedom to assemble, and 2025 will represent the freedom to petition. 

Proposed designs represented the Five Freedoms by means of several different images and symbols. Some opted for more classic imagery, using Greco/Roman depictions of liberty in classical garb, while others chose more contemporary scenes. Religious imagery, protestors with bullhorns and signs, journalists with cell phones and laptops all feature prominently in some of the designs. Another approach was to spell out the different components of the First Amendment. 

The proposed designs met a lukewarm response from the CCAC members. Some designs were criticized for focusing too closely on modern images, and some committee members expressed concern whether the designs would compel collectors to spend the amount of money required to buy platinum coins. While many of the designs were praised for their originality or artistic merit, none was singled out as particularly effective for the Five Freedoms series. 

Some members said that the inclusion of modern images, particularly in the designs that focused exclusively on modern incarnations of the five freedoms and the technological items associated with them, like cell phones and computers, undercut the historical continuity of the coins. 

On the whole, the CCAC’s message seemed to be that while many of the coins had the right ideas behind them, the designs themselves were not very compelling. 

The CCAC recommended returning the designs to the Mint with comments. The main criticism was a lack of more classical artistry, though they wanted to see in a second design round the same creativity and cleverness evident in the first round of designs. 

The CCAC also weighed the merits of having all five of the 2021 to 2025 platinum coins selected so many years in advance. Members said that flexibility to select designs on a more ad hoc basis would help, and the CCAC resolved to have an action plan developed by the end of their March meeting. 

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