US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Feb. 7, 2022: More public input?

Designs for current coin series like the American Innovation dollars undergo review by two design panels, but little public scrutiny. Should that change?

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

Contributors sometimes bemoan the lack of public participation in the selection of designs for future editions of current coin series. Do they make a valid point?

Gone are the days of the State quarter dollars program, when public participation was welcomed and practiced. All but one state welcomed design submissions from the public, or at least solicited votes from residents for designs placed online by state officials. Approaching design selection in this manner allowed the citizens of each state to have a vested interest in their state’s quarter dollar when it was released.

Today as then, designs were selected (recommended) by two panels — the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts, both empowered to advise the government on coin and medal designs. During the State quarter dollars program, the design receiving the most votes in the represented state and recommended by the state’s governor ended up being the selected design.

Today, designs for such ongoing coin programs as the American Women quarter dollars, American Innovation dollars and Native American dollars are not revealed to the public until the CCAC or CFA meets to review, discuss and recommend them.

Members of the public can listen in on the meetings, though they generally must remain muted. Images are supposed to be published at the CCAC website (, though currently, nothing since the panel’s June 15-16, 2021, meeting has been posted.

Coin World covers every CCAC and CFA meeting and publishes images of the recommended designs. We generally lack space in our print and digital editions to publish all of the designs, but we make an effort to post them on our Facebook page the day of the first design review meeting (we get images in advance, but we are not permitted to release them until the start of the meeting).

Collectors would likely welcome a return to the State quarters days, when proposed designs were placed on public view for comment well before the CCAC and CFA meetings. Persuading the Mint to return to that process will require pressure from you, the collectors.

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