US Coins

CCAC passes judgment on American Liberty designs

The .999 fine silver medals that will bear designs replicating those of the 2019 American Liberty gold coin will weigh 2.5 ounces, and not the 1 ounce that the 2016 and 2017 American Liberty medals weigh. 

That information was disclosed Sept. 27 by Ron Harrigal, the U.S. Mint’s manager of design and engraving, while the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee was considering proposed designs.

The proposed designs the panel scrutinized for the 2019 coin were designs resurrected from the portfolio submitted for the 2015 and 2017 American Liberty gold $100 coins.

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The medals for the 2016 and 2017 programs were 1-ounce .999 fine silver pieces, struck with a Proof finish on 40.6-millimeter planchets, the same as those used for American Eagle silver dollars.

The American Liberty silver medals bear the same designs as the gold coin except without mandated coin mottoes, inscriptions and denomination.

Harrigal noted that the gold coin will be 1.2 inches in diameter, which is 30.48 millimeters.

The American Liberty gold coins are struck in a high relief. For 2019, the level of relief will be determined first for the medal, Harrigal said, then translated proportionally to the gold coin.

CCAC member Mike Moran expressed his hope that the relief would not be sacrificed on the gold coin, which the numismatic community would oppose, he said.

For the 2019 American Liberty coin and medal, the CCAC was in agreement with the Commission of Fine Arts on the obverse design but the two panels differed on a reverse selection.

The proposed obverse design recommended Sept. 27 by the CCAC features a head of Liberty with 13 rays of light, symbolizing the free and creative spirit of America’s people, emanating along her headband. The design has 13 five-pointed stars along the left border in front of Liberty’s portrait and LIBERTY is inscribed at the right border, within the rays of light.

The same obverse design was favored by the Commission of Fine Arts at its Sept. 20 session.

CCAC member Erik Jansen suggested the possibility of flipping the overall design so that Liberty’s portrait faces right, suggesting a view toward the future, rather than left, suggesting the past. Jansen said he realizes flipping the design would present a challenge in rendering the letters in LIBERTY.

Several CCAC members also suggested modifying Liberty’s ear, so that only the lobe is exposed from under her hair rather than her entire ear, which they said appears oversized.

For the reverse of the gold coin and medal, the CCAC recommends a close-up rendering of the head of an eagle. The CFA-favored reverse design depicts an eagle preparing to land.

CCAC members agreed that if the CFA’s option is selected by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or his designee, the final design would need to have the eagle’s feathers properly rendered. 

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