US Coins

Breast Cancer Awareness coin designs debut

Approved designs for the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar were unveiled Oct. 23 at ceremonies conducted by the U.S. Mint at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation headquarters in New York City.

Sales of the commemorative coins are to begin at noon Eastern Time March 15. A Breast Cancer Awareness 2018 Coin and Stamp set is to be offered by the U.S. Mint sometime in the fall of 2018.

The winning Breast Cancer Awareness designs were selected from a public design competition conducted in 2016. The original design unveiling was slated for June 2017, but was moved to October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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The common obverse and reverse designs are the work of artist Emily Damstra, a U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist, who has also designed more than a dozen coins for the Royal Canadian Mint.

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The obverse features two women. The older woman has her hands on her chest and a relieved expression on her face. The younger woman, with a scarf on her head, holds one hand over her chest and the other raised in a fist as if she is ready to fight. A butterfly flies above the two women. Damstra’s obverse design was sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

Damstra’s winning reverse design depicts a tiger swallowtail butterfly in flight, a symbol of hope. The design was sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.

The enabling legislation, Public Law 114-148, calls for the production and release combined in Proof and Uncirculated versions of up to 50,000 $5 coins to be struck in pink gold containing not less than 75 percent gold. The enabling legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.

Development of the pink gold required resulted in a composition of 85 percent gold, 14.8 percent copper and 0.2 percent zinc.

The maximum mintage for the silver dollar is 400,000 coins, and for the copper-nickel clad half dollar, 750,000 coins. The silver content for the silver dollar is not to be less than 90 percent, according to the legislation. The composition will be the standard 90 percent silver, 10 percent copper.

Should the Mint sell out the maximum mintages for each of the three commemorative coin denominations, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation stands to receive $8 million in surcharges to be used toward breast cancer research.

Surcharge payments are subject to statutory requirements: Before any surcharge payments are made, the Mint must recover “all numismatic operation and program costs allocable to the program” and the beneficiary organization must prove it “raised funds from private sources for such projects and purposes in an amount that is equal to or greater than the total amount of the proceeds of such surcharge derived from the sale” of the coins.

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