Mint strikes first Tubman dollars in Philadelphia ceremony
- Published: Nov 30, 2023, 8 AM
A ceremonial striking for the Proof 2024-P Harriet Tubman Bicentennial silver dollar was hosted Nov. 28 at the Philadelphia Mint by U.S. Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson.
Among those who attended the striking ceremony were Robert Portman, former U.S. senator from Ohio; John Katko, former U.S. representative from New York; Karen Hill, president and CEO of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York; Woodrow Keown, president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati; Bishop Dennis Proctor, presiding prelate for North Eastern Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; and Daon Jones, chief communications officer, Procter & Gamble.
Sales for the three-coin program, which also includes Proof and Uncirculated gold $5 coins and copper-nickel-clad half dollars, are scheduled to launch at noon Eastern Time Jan. 4.
Ceremony participants who had the opportunity to strike examples of the Proof Harriet Tubman silver dollar will be permitted to purchase the exact coin each struck, at the same retail price that will be charged beginning Jan. 4, with possession delayed to after that launch date as well.
“Coins struck during this event will be held for potential purchase by the individuals at the same price available to the general public after the coins have begun shipping,” U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White confirmed to Coin World Nov. 27.
Those purchasing the coin they struck will receive them via U.S. Postal Service delivery. Coins struck during the event but not purchased by the individuals are being placed in the U.S. Mint’s inventory, for distribution through the contracted order fulfillment center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Striking the coins
To strike each coin, the designated press operator, wearing cotton gloves, used a pair of tongs to individually remove a polished Proof 38.1-millimeter .999 fine silver blank weighing 26.73 grams from a designated tray and place the unstruck blank between the obverse and reverse dies in the coinage chamber of the Graebener GMP 360 coinage press. Each striker, also wearing gloves, engaged the press by pressing two buttons simultaneously, allowing the protective guard to come down and the press to begin striking.
Each planchet received three strikes from the coinage dies to bring up the design relief, with each strike exerting 212 to 215 metric tons of pressure per strike. An edge collar die bearing a reeded design moves into position at the same time the obverse and reverse dies strike the blanks. After the three-strike cycle, the dies then retract as the protective guard raises, allowing the Mint’s press operator access to the coinage chamber and the struck coin.
Each coin struck was individually placed into a paper envelope marked with the name of the person who struck the coin and the numerical order in which the coin was struck.
Each of the Proof working dies is laser frosted; the portion of the die face that create the coin’s raised frosted devices are recessed in the die, and they contrast against the flat fields, which are mirrored.
The working dies are oriented to strike vertically in the coinage press. The obverse die serves as the upper, or hammer, die, and the reverse serves in the bottom position, as the anvil die.
During full-scale production, unstruck planchets will be gravity fed one at a time from a vertical feeding tube, with feeder fingers moving the planchet into the coinage chamber between the working dies one at a time.
As of Nov. 28, the U.S. Mint had not yet released pricing for each of the individual coins or coin set production options.
The Harriet Tubman coin program, authorized under provisions of Public Law 117-163, calls for the production and release in Proof and Uncirculated versions, combined, of up to 50,000 gold $5 coins not less than .900 fine, 400,000 .999 fine silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars.
The purchase price of each $5 coin will include a $35 surcharge; a $10 surcharge is included in the purchase price of each dollar; and a $5 surcharge is included in each half dollar’s price.
Net surcharges, after the U.S. Mint recoups all of its production and associated costs, are to be divided equally between the “National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and The Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. in Auburn, New York, for the purpose of accomplishing and advancing their missions,” according to authorizing legislation.
The coins follow the three periods of Harriet Tubman’s life and work. The dollar designs reflect her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. The half dollar designs represent her work during the Civil War. The $5 coin represents her life after the Civil War and her later years.
U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Beth Zaiken executed the dollar obverse design, which was sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse design depicts Harriet Tubman offering her hand to the viewer with an expression that challenges the viewer to seize the opportunity for freedom.
Zaiken also created the reverse design for the dollar, sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Craig A. Campbell. The reverse design depicts silhouettes crossing a bridge created by a pair of clasped hands. In the sky, the Big Dipper constellation points to the North Star, which forms the O in the word OF. The denomination is rendered as ONE DOLLAR.
For more information on the commemorative coin program, visit online https://www.usmint.gov/learn/coin-and-medal-programs/commemorative-coins/harriet-tubman and https://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/designs-revealed-for-2024-tubman-commemorative-coins.
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