US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Aug. 21, 2023: Planning for 2026

The American Women quarter dollars program will end in 2025 and give way to 2026 quarter dollars (and coins of the other denominations) bearing designs celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

The news that the United States Mint will be opening a special website where it will seek public comment on ways to celebrate the nation’s semiquincentennial in 2026 is welcome.

Legislation that became law in January 2021 authorized multiple future coin programs, including the current American Women quarter dollars. Public Law No: 116-330, the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, also authorizes changes to all denominations of circulating coinage in 2026 as the nation celebrates the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Permitting changes to all denominations in 2026 is much more comprehensive than what happened in 1976, when the program fell far short of collector expectations. For the 1976 coinage, many collectors had hoped all circulating denominations could be redesigned. This, of course, was long before Mint officials and Congress embraced design changes to circulating coinage. In 1976, just three denominations — the quarter dollar, the half dollar and the dollar — were redesigned, and then only their reverses. The 2026 program, however, will see changes made to both sides to all denominations, with specific instructions regarding changes to two denominations.

According to a provision in  the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, “Treasury may issue quarter dollars, beginning January 1, 2026, with up to five different designs emblematic of the U.S. semiquincentennial. One of the quarter dollar designs must be emblematic of a woman’s or women’s contribution to the birth of the nation or the Declaration of Independence or any other monumental moments in American history. Treasury may, in addition to the coins honoring Native Americans and honoring innovation and innovators, mint for issuance during the one-year period beginning January 1, 2026, $1 dollar coins with designs emblematic of the U.S. semiquincentennial.”

When the law authorizing the 2026 changes was signed into being in 2021, collector reaction was mixed. After the programs for State quarter dollars, District of Columbia and Territories quarter dollars, America the Beautiful quarter dollars, and now the American Women quarter dollars, some collectors have said, “Enough.” They would welcome a respite from so many different quarters ever year. Other collectors, however, have embraced the 2026 plans and now look forward to what the Mint will come up with.

With the announcement made at the recent American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money by Mint Director Ventris Gibson, we know that Mint officials will be seeking public input. This will be your best chance to influence a future Mint program, so get involved — tell the Mint what you would like see in 2026.

We are looking forward to learning more details on the kind of input the Mint is seeking. In the meantime, tell us what you would like to see.

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