US Coins

American Innovation $1 Coin Act closer to reality

The American Innovation $1 Coin Act is one step closer to reality after the House suspended its rules Jan. 17 and approved by voice vote an amended version of H.R. 770.

H.R. 770 was initially introduced into the House on Jan. 31, 2017, by Rep. James A. Himes, D-Conn. A companion bill, S. 1326, was introduced in the Senate June 8, 2017, by Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

The legislation authorizes the production and release of dollar coins “in recognition of American innovation and significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the [five] United States territories.”

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As amended, and if signed into law, the legislation would allow the U.S. Mint to produce an initial, extra 57th coin in the program in 2018, in advance of the 56-coin program.

The legislation mandates that the obverse design be reflective of the Statue of Liberty and extended to the rim of the coin and "be large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty."

The required reverse would be inscribed UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and AMERICAN INNOVATORS and incorporate a facsimile representation of the signature of George Washington on the first United States patent issued.

The first U.S. patent, No. X000001, was issued in New York City by U.S. Attorney General Edmund Jennings Randolph on July 31, 1790, to Samuel Hopkins for “the improvement of pot ash and pearl ash.” Hopkins was was an American Congregationalist theologian of the late Colonial era of the United States and one of the first public opponents of the institution of slavery.

Designs for the 14-year program would bear a common obverse reflective of the Statue of Liberty, with the reverse reserved for the respective innovation designs for the states, District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The edge on all the coins issued in the program would be marked incuse with the year of issue, the Mint mark of the production facility where struck and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The dollar coins are to be issued four coins per year alphabetically by state over the life of the program.

The coins would not interfere with the annual production of Native American dollars. The American Innovation dollars would be struck in circulation quality, with the option at the Treasury secretary’s discretion for Uncirculated and Proof versions as numismatic products.

Currently, no dollar coins are being struck for circulation. On Dec. 13, 2011, then Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner suspended production of Presidential dollars for circulation. Presidential dollars struck from 2012 through 2016 inclusive as well as Native American dollars in circulation quality have been offered as numismatic products only and not released into general circulation.

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