Precious Metals

CFA favors American diversity design for 2021 American Liberty coin, medal

The Commission of Fine Arts went its own way in recommending designs for the 2021 American Liberty gold coin and silver medal at its Oct. 17 meeting, picking different designs than the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee selected two days earlier.

The CFA’s recommended obverse, according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative, “presents a group of disparate demonstrators displaying a request for liberty with the crown from the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, suggesting that the advancement of liberty is one of continuing importance and personal responsibility.”

The recommended reverse design “depicts a bold and powerful eagle in flight, with eyes toward opportunity and a determination to attain it. A version of this design, featuring a view of the eagle from further away, was utilized for the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin and Silver Medal.”

The CCAC selected an obverse design depicting a bucking mustang and a reverse showing an eagle’s head.

Different approach by Mint

The proposed designs for the 2021 American Liberty High Relief, .9999 fine gold $100 coin and High Relief .999 fine silver medal envision American Liberty beyond the classical depiction of an allegorical “Lady Liberty” as the primary device.

Instead, according to the U.S. Mint, the designs submitted for review to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee Oct. 15 and Commission of Fine Arts Oct. 17 “present new and modern ideas to transform the iconography associated with American Liberty.”

The 20 proposed obverse designs and 14 reverse designs were rendered by the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program of outside artists.

The silver medal will bear the same design devices as the gold coin except without the mottoes and other inscriptions specified for the coin.

The gold coin, with the fineness reflected on the reverse as 1-ounce of .9999 fine gold, will exhibit an Enhanced Uncirculated finish and be struck at the West Point Mint with the W Mint mark.

The silver medal will be struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark and exhibit a Matte Finish.

The gold coin will bear a reeded edge while the silver medal will carry a plain edge.

About the finish

Although Enhanced Uncirculated coins have some characteristics similar to Proof coins — selectively frosted and polished areas and more than one strike from the dies — the Mint does not consider Enhanced Uncirculated coins to be Proof pieces.

According to U.S. Mint officials, “Most of our premium coins, both Uncirculated and Proof, are struck multiple times on specially prepared dies. Therefore, using the number of strikes is not always an indicator of what is Proof and what is Uncirculated.”

Fields on the Enhanced Uncirculated coins’ obverse and reverse have a light frosted finish. Select areas may also be treated with more than one other finish.

For the Matte Finish, planchets are struck twice with sandblasted dies. 

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