US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Feb. 27, 2023: A joint coin program

The Commission of Fine Arts recommends the above design for a 2024 Liberty and Britannia gold coin.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

When it comes to enticing collectors into buying their wares, government mints are competitors, each targeting the same buyers.

Sometimes, though, competitors become collaborators, as in the recently announced 2024 coin program being conducted jointly by Great Britain’s Royal Mint and the United States Mint.

The two government mints will be issuing a gold coin with a shared design featuring the allegorical manifestations of the two nations — Britannia and Liberty. The shared design will feature both figures, with the design being used as the reverse of the British coin and as the obverse of the U.S. version.

Creating the designs and getting them approved is a little more complex than the individual processes in the two nations. All involved parties have to agree on final designs. That will be challenging because so many people are involved in the selection process.

In the United States, Mint officials solicit designs from its staff of designers and members of the Artistic Infusion Program; some internal process occurs where candidate designs are selected from those submitted; the designs are reviewed by two design panels and sometimes by outside parties, with recommendations made by each group; and the secretary of the Treasury makes a final decision.

Similar processes occur at the Royal Mint and presumably the designs will get a royal thumbs up from the king.

Hopefully, after all this, the selected joint design for the two coins will have artistic merit, though that old homily that too many cooks spoil the broth comes to mind.

I do have one question: On the joint Britannia-Liberty design, whose head (if the design preferred by the Commission of Fine Arts is selected) will be upright and whose will be upside-down? My guess is that the two issuing Mints will make sure that their allegorical figure is the one displayed right-side up on the final product. No upside-down Liberty, please.
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