Mint opens survey, calls for comment on 2026 coin designs
- Published: Sep 14, 2023, 7 AM
The United States Mint is soliciting public input on the redesign of all circulating U.S. coins in 2026 in recognition of the nation’s 250th anniversary.
The redesign is being exercised under provisions of the The Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, Public Law 116-330, which authorizes the United States Mint to produce new designs on select circulating coins from 2022 through 2030.
The circulating coin redesign is to celebrate the Semiquincentennial of the United States and is for the year 2026 only. It addresses the Lincoln cent, Jefferson 5-cent coin and Roosevelt dime, with further special provisions for the quarter dollar, half dollar and dollar denominations.
The Mint is considering a variety of possible themes for the 2026 commemorative circulating coins.
The bureau is inviting the American public to take a brief survey about the thematic concepts being considered and share additional ideas.
Those interested in participating are directed online to https://catalog.usmint.gov/semiq to take the survey, which is open now through Oct. 10, 2023.
In collaboration with representatives from the Smithsonian, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and the National Park Service, the Mint has drafted thematic concepts for consideration, to share with the public for comment.
The bureau is requesting public input to further inform the development of United States circulating coins in 2026 through the survey. Those participating in the survey may also contribute at the end of the survey additional themes for consideration, from which proposed designs can be rendered by the U.S. Mint’s medallic artists and outside U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artists.
Some of the proposed themes posted in the survey are familiar, having been visited before in the design process for previous U.S. commemorative, circulating and precious metals coins.
The concepts being considered for the 2026 Semiquincentennial coin designs comprise:
➤ The Declaration of Independence, the first major “historic change” impacting our country.
➤ The United States Constitution.
➤ The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
➤ Abolition of Slavery, the 13th Amendment, passed by Congress on Jan. 31, 1865, and ratified on Dec. 6, 1865.
➤ Women’s Suffrage, the 19th Amendment, passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on Aug. 18, 1920, which granted women the right to vote.
➤ Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal.
➤ Principles Expressed in our Founding Documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights) — the concepts expressed in the Declaration of Independence were not only revolutionary in 1776, but extraordinary in human history. In declaring truths to be self-evident and asserting individual rights, the framers employed ancient and Enlightenment-era ideas and combined them to found a new, modern nation.
This thematic concept would explore the Declaration, including perhaps the grievances that inspired American independence. It would consider the Constitution as a blueprint for our democracy. Finally, it would explore the Bill of Rights as a document guaranteeing individual and states’ rights.
➤ Depictions of Liberty. From our founding, United States coins have been struck with designs featuring allegorical concepts of Liberty. For almost the entire history of United States coins, Liberty has been represented through personification, most typically in the form of a woman, or “Lady Liberty.” More recently, the Mint has produced coins depicting the concept of Liberty by way of other symbols, such as the American mustang or the indigenous bristlecone pine tree.
➤ Depictions of Historic Figures. This thematic concept would feature key historic figures central to meaningful American progress. The following examples are illustrative: George Washington and the American Revolution; Alice Paul and the Declaration of Sentiments; Frederick Douglass and the 13th Amendment; Elizabeth Peratrovich and the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945; Rosa Parks and Civil Rights; and Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ rights.
➤ Close Reading of the Declaration of Independence, which would portray or interpret essential phrases of the Declaration of Independence.
➤ Philosophies that Inspired the Founding of Our Nation. Philosophers such as Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, Algernon Sidney, and Thomas Jefferson developed many of the ideas woven through founding documents, such as the ideas of liberty, equality, and that government should serve the common interests of all people.
➤ Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Interpreting the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as presented in the Declaration of Independence.
➤ Fundamental Freedoms Protected by the First Amendment — Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Right to Assemble, and Right to Petition.
➤ Ideas That Define Our Democracy — Liberty, Self-government, Equality, Individualism, Diversity, Knowledge, and Unity.
➤ 250 Years: Where We Began, Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going — exploring our nation’s history, to include the period leading up to 1776, major milestones along our 250-year history, and what our future might require in the pursuit of a “more perfect union.”
➤ Founding Principles That Shape the American Identity — emphasizing the distinctiveness of America, interpreting the American identity from several perspectives. American history illustrating how our institutions and citizens measure the nation against the promise that “All men are created equal.”
➤ Civic Engagement in Our Democracy — portraying examples of civic engagement and highlighting the role of citizens in a democracy, activities that are key to our democracy, including voting, petitioning, running for office, peacefully protesting, serving on a jury, and paying taxes.
➤ Knowledge-Based Democracy — explore America as a knowledge-based and participatory democracy. Designs would highlight the critical role that citizens play in preserving democracy, not only in voting, but specifically the importance of knowledge, reason, and rational, informed debate.
Under provisions of Public Law 116-330, the Treasury secretary may direct the placement of the mandated inscriptions — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GOD WE TRUST, and E PLURIBUS UNUM — on either the obverse or reverses of the denominations being redesigned.
Up to five quarter dollars bearing different designs emblematic of the 250th anniversary can be issued, with at least one emblematic of a woman’s or women’s contribution to the birth of the nation or Declaration of Independence, or any other monumental moments in American history.
The Treasury secretary may also direct the Mint to issue $1 coins emblematic of the 250th anniversary, in addition to the annual single Native American dollar and four American Innovation dollars.
More changes in 2027
Beginning in 2027, any coin redesigned in 2026 will revert to the immediately previous designs, except the quarter dollar and half dollar. Up to five quarter dollars will be issued annually bearing reverse designs reflecting single sports enjoyed by American youth.
The common obverse is to bear a completely new portrait of George Washington.
For the half dollar beginning in 2027, the reverse will depict different Paralympic sports. The obverse will retain a portrait of President John Kennedy, albeit a different rendition than that by Chief Engraver Gilroy Robers first introduced on the half dollar in 1964.
The sports-themed coins will be issued at the rate of five quarter dollars annually through calendar year 2030, with one redesigned half dollar featuring Paralympic designs each year from 2027 through 2030 inclusive.
The quarter dollars and half dollar designs will also be issued in .999 fine silver bullion versions with the weight and fineness of each coin incuse on the edge.
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