US Coins

Inside Coin World: Real women belong on coins

Dolley Madison and Alice Paul are just two of the real women who have appeared on U.S. coins since 1893, when a commemorative quarter dollar depicting Queen Isabella of Spain was issued.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

Every weekly and monthly issue of Coin World has content exclusive to the print and digital editions, including columns and features that appear nowhere else.

Here is a preview of three of those exclusive articles in the December 2019 monthly issue.

Cover feature: Depictions of real women on U.S. coins

The earliest U.S. coins all had depictions of Liberty as a women on the obverse side, but none of the designs was intended to depict a real woman. As Gerald Tebben writes in his cover feature for the December monthly issue, that changed in 1893 with the release of Isabella quarter dollar commemorating the World's Fair of Money in Chicago.

The depiction of Queen Isabella on the coin was a first for any U.S. coin. Over the years, an increasing number of women began to appear on coins, boosted by such recent series as First Spouse gold coins, the Native American dollars and most recently, the American Innovation dollars.

Read more in Gerry's feature, found only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Secondary feature: Women who inspired Liberty

In a second feature found in the December issue of Coin World, Gerald Tebben explores the women who may have inspired various portraits of Liberty on U.S. coins (or maybe not).

The first U.S. coin, the 1792 half disme, features a wild-haired portrait of Liberty who, 19th century numismatic legend claimed, was inspired by Martha Washington. Modern researchers doubt that, but future numismatists and others would identify a number of other women as serving as models for artists designing U.S. coins. While the identities of some of these women are well established and confirmed in the records of the artists, others remain unconfirmed.

Read Gerry's feature in the December monthly of Coin World to learn about these famous models who may or may not have inspired the artists.

World Coins feature: Fifth years of the 50 pence

For 50 years, Great Britain has issued a decimal 50-penny coin struck by the Royal Mint. While at first these coins bore a standard design reflecting Britain, later issues began featuring designs celebrating a wide range of subjects.

In his feature leading the World Coins section of the December monthly issue, Jeff Starck examines the evolution of the 50 pence, with its distinctive shape designed to make the coin stand out but still function like a round coin would. He also offers a look at the many designs used on the coins since 1969.

To learn more, read Jeff's feature in the latest issue of Coin World.


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