Mint unveils new quarter dollar with historic reverse
- Published: Dec 31, 2020, 8 AM
April 5 is scheduled as the official release date by the U.S. Mint through the Federal Reserve of a 2021 Washington quarter dollar bearing a new reverse design illustrating Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware River with his troops during the American Revolution.
Issuance of the Washington quarter dollar follows from a provision of the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, Public Law 110-456.
The 56-coin America the Beautiful Quarters Program also instituted under the 2008 law is set to conclude with the January 2021 release of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site quarter dollar representing the state of Alabama.
The reverse for the post-parks 2021 rendering portrays Washington at left foreground, facing right, with a sword in his extended right hand pointing the way for troops in a following boat.
On Christmas 1776, Washington, along with 2,400 troops and artillery, began his historic crossing of the Delaware River in preparation for a surprise attack on British and Hessian soldiers during the American Revolutionary War at the Battle of Trenton.
The 2021 reverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Ben Sowards and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Michael Gaudioso, who retired in October.
The Sowards reverse is paired, under Public Law 110-456, with sculptor John Flanagan’s original portrait of Washington that appeared on the Washington quarter from its introduction in 1932, through 1998.
In 1999, Flanagan’s Washington portrait — based on French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon’s bust of Washington — was reduced proportionally in size by 15 percent from the original by then U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver William Cousins to accommodate inscriptions shifted from the reverse. The reduction, implemented for the 50 State Quarters Program from Cousins’ rendition, has appeared on all quarter dollars since.
The 2021 designs will also be executed as a 3-inch, 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coin.
The 2021 Washington quarter dollar will become the second U.S. Mint quarter dollar release to bear a reverse design illustrating Washington crossing the Delaware.
The 1999 New Jersey State quarter dollar reverse by then U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Alfred Maletsky depicts a different view of George Washington at the bow and members of the Continental Army as they cross the Delaware on Christmas night 1776 headed toward Trenton.
The 1999 rendering is based on Washington Crossing the Delaware, three 1851 oil-on-canvas paintings by the German-American artist Emanuel Leutze.
The 2021 reverse is tentatively set to be the permanent design for the denomination, but legislation placed before Congress could result in its replacement in 2022 with a new series of 56 circulating commemorative coins, one for each state, the District of Columbia and territory. The coins, if approved, would celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women in U.S. history.
H.R. 1923, the Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act, has passed both the House and the Senate. The Senate added an amendment to the bill, which means the House has to approve the amended version.
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