CFA reviews designs for 2024 Harriet Tubman coins
- Published: Apr 28, 2023, 9 AM
On April 20, the Commission of Fine Arts recommended proposed designs for the 2024 Harriet Tubman commemorative gold $5 coin, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar.
The enabling legislative act calls for Proof and Uncirculated versions not to exceed 50,000 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars.
$5 coin designs
The recommended proposed design for the $5 coin obverse portrays Harriet Tubman partially facing to her left, aged sometime after the Civil War.
The suggested reverse design depicts a two-handed gesture symbolizing Harriet Tubman’s efforts throughout her life to help and care for people. The design incorporates Tubman’s core values — passed down from generation to generation: FAITH, FREEDOM, FAMILY, COMMUNITY, SELF-DETERMINATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, and EQUALITY.
The obverse design favored for the Tubman silver dollar depicts her offering her hand to the viewer. Harriet’s serious and searching expression, with concerted eye contact, challenges the viewer to seize the opportunity for freedom.
The recommended reverse synergizes with the 2023 Ohio American Innovation dollar reverse. It depicts two strong hands grasped together, the upper arm pulling the lower arm upward, representing the support and strength of the Underground Railroad. A chain fastened to a rustic shackle around the lower arm’s wrist snaps and fragments, alluding to the hope of freedom. The additional inscription reads, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.
The CFA issued a strong caveat to develop an original design, as the panel felt it was extremely problematic that this design was repurposed from another program.
Half dollar designs
For the half dollar, the CFA favors using a proposed reverse design for the obverse and a proposed obverse for the reverse.
The design recommended for the obverse of the half dollar shows a map with Harriet Tubman’s hand pointing to the location of Combahee Ferry, South Carolina. The additional inscription reads COMBAHEE FERRY.
The favored design for the reverse depicts Harriet Tubman, standing, holding a spyglass, symbolic of her work as a scout and a spy for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Behind her, a row of Civil War-era tents line the horizon. Additional inscriptions include CIVIL WAR, NURSE, SCOUT, SPY,and COMBAHEE RIVER RAID LEADER. The CFA recommended removal of the last inscription and possible replacing it with LIBERTY.
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