US Coins

CCAC recommends 2021 American Innovation dollar designs

Reverse designs for three of the four 2021 American Innovation dollars were recommended March 11 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, whose members asked U.S. Mint officials to produce new designs for North Carolina that better reflect the intended theme, higher education.

Designs that got the nod from the advisory panel were for New Hampshire, Virginia and New York.

The 2021 coins will carry the same privy mark on the obverse that was introduced in 2019. The privy mark, located in the lower left of the obverse field, depicts a gear and is borrowed from a reverse element of the introductory American Innovation dollar from 2018.

New Hampshire

The CCAC recommended a reverse design for the New Hampshire coin paying homage to Ralph Baer, inventor of the home video gaming system.

According to the Mint’s design narrative, the design “depicts Ralph Baer’s brown box game ‘Handball’ on the right side of the coin. The left side of the coin features ‘NEW HAMPSHIRE’ and ‘PLAYER 1’ on an incused background. ‘IN HOME VIDEO GAME SYSTEM’ is encircling the outside of the coin in a text that is meant to pay homage to Ralph Baer’s Odyssey game. The design of the coin is also symbolic of an arcade token.”


Ten designs were considered for the Virginia coin, with half of the designs dedicated to Barbara Rose Johns’ 1951 student strike seeking equality in education for students of color. The remaining designs focus on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a transportation route that opened in 1964 and spans over 17 miles of open water.

The CCAC-recommended design “depicts a view of the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel as a cross section cut away, illustrating the ingenuity involved in constructing it.”

New York

For the New York dollar, five designs were submitted referencing the Erie Canal, six concerning Abner Doubleday’s “invention” of baseball and eight dedicated to the lunar module built in the state.

The CCAC members approved a motion to solely consider the five designs referring to the Erie Canal.The panel recommended a design depicting a packet boat being pulled from a city in the East toward the country areas to the West, according to the Mint narrative.

North Carolina

The five proposed designs presented for the CCAC’s consideration were intended to be reflective of higher education.

However, the designs, according to a CCAC consensus, failed to hit the mark, and Mint representatives were tasked with seeking new designs for the panel to review.

Whatever designs are approved for the four coins by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, they will be paired with the common obverse that depicts a rendition of the Statue of Liberty.

The common obverse design was created by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Justin Kunz and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.

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