US Coins

Designs for Women’s Suffrage silver medal, possible coin, get CCAC nod

To commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote, the U.S. Mint is planning to issue a Women’s Suffrage Centennial silver medal. It also presented designs for a possible commemorative silver dollar that Congress is currently considering.

The medal is to be composed of .999 fine silver, weigh 26.73 grams and measure 1.5 inches in diameter. The medal will be struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark. The surface finish has not yet been disclosed.

Proposed obverse and reverse designs for the medal were considered and recommended Oct. 15 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, with the Commission of Fine Arts slated to conduct a similar review Oct. 17.

The two design review panels were presented with 11 proposed obverse designs and 15 proposed reverse designs reflecting a historic approach to women’s suffrage and the early days of the movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. An additional nine obverse and nine reverse designs were considered that feature a more modern, 21st century look to the issues of women’s rights.

All of the designs were executed either by the members of the Mint’s engraving staff or Artistic Infusion Program of outside artists.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin au thorized production of the silver medal. Such medals do not require congressional approval.

Separate bills for a 2020 silver dollar commemorating women’s suffrage were introduced in the Senate and House in April 2019. S. 1235 passed in the Senate on June 4 and moved on to the House, where no action has yet been taken.

The House also has before it H.R. 2423, also calling for the 2020 Suffrage silver dollar with a mintage of 400,000 coins.

Mint spokesman Michael White said designs with historic imagery will appear on the silver medal. The imagery symbolic of the modern women’s movement is being considered in anticipation of the coin legislation being passed, White said.

Historic designs

For the historic theme, the CCAC recommends an obverse design with “three women’s profiles overlapping showing different ages and ethnicities,” according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative. “Each woman is wearing a different type of hat to symbolize the many decades the movement spanned. The figure in the foreground is wearing a cloche hat with an art deco pattern and a button with the year of the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

The recommended reverse features text from the 19th amendment beside suffragists from different eras of the movement.

Modern designs

From the modern themed group, the CCAC recommends an obverse design that, according to the Mint, depicts an allegorical tableau of a young African-American woman offering a rose to a female child and an older woman in suffragist garb holding a large American flag, all together representing a generational continuity between Edwardian era suffragists and the young daughters of the modern era.

“The design is meant to represent the various generations of Women’s Suffrage, connecting the original Suffragists to the modern generation, and show that the responsibility is now in their young hands.” The CCAC recommends that the flag in the design not be allowed to appear to touch the ground.

The recommended reverse, according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative, “depicts a prominent location for Suffragist protests, the Northwest Gate to the White House. The gate is open, representing accessibility granted to women voters by the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Arcing across the top of the design is the inscription ‘THE 19th AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.’ The text of the amendment is centrally featured.” 

The 19th Amendment was ratified Aug. 18, 1920.

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