US Coins

Panel reviews American Innovation dollar designs

After the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee refused to consider during a July 31 teleconference any of the proposed obverse and reverse designs for the 2018 dollar to introduce the American Innovation Dollar Program, the U.S. Mint had its artists return to the drawing board to render new designs.

The Commission of Fine Arts panel was presented the second slate of designs during its Sept. 20 session. The 12 proposed American Innovation obverse designs are all new. One of the 14 reverse designs proposed is a design that was previously presented but got at least some positive comments from the committee during its last meeting; the other designs are all new, according to U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.

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The obverse and reverse designs for the inaugural 2018 coin are mandated under provisions of the authorizing legislation for the 14-year program, the American Innovation $1 Coin Act, Public Law 116-197. The obverse must feature “a likeness of the Statue of Liberty extending to the rim of the coin and large enough to provide a dramatic representation of Liberty,” and include the denomination rendered as $1 and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse has to include a facsimile of George Washington’s signature as it appears on the first U.S. patent issued in 1790.

The CCAC members were not enamored with the Mint’s initial decision to propose using, as the obverse, the Statue of Liberty design already used as the common reverse for the Presidential dollar series from 2007 through 2016. That reverse design was created by now retired U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II.

The CFA favored two of the proposed obverse designs and one of the reverses.

One of the obverse designs depicts a view of the statue as Liberty proudly raises her torch in the air. IN GOD WE TRUST appears in two lines inscribed in the field in front of the main design device.

On the second favored obverse, an imposing view looking up at Liberty is rendered, with IN GOD WE TRUST in a single line along the left border.

The lone reverse recommended depicts a document representing the first U.S. patent issued, featuring a bold depiction of George Washington’s signature. The 13 stars along the rim represent the 13 states in existence in 1790. The design also features the inscriptions FIRST PATENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, JULY 31, 1790, and AMERICAN INNOVATORS. 

Public Law 116-197 mandates a 14-year program comprising 56 total coins “in recognition of American innovation and significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States territories, to promote the importance of innovation in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories.”

Four coins are to be issued annually for release in multiple finishes as numismatic products, with none struck for release into circulation.

The act calls for the program to be introduced in 2019. However, at the discretion of the Treasury secretary, the program can be introduced in 2018 with a single dollar with specified designs that would raise the program’s total to 57 coins. That is the route being taken.

The CFA will have to confirm their design recommendations at their Oct. 18 session since the Sept. 20 meeting lacked a quorum.

The same designs considered by the CFA on Sept. 20 are to be reviewed by the CCAC on Sept. 27.

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