US Coins

Proposed designs for Women’s Suffrage medal, coin receive CFA scrutiny

The Commission of Fine Arts recommended designs Oct. 17 for a silver medal marking the Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2020, and for a possible 2020 Women’s Suffrage silver dollar.

Both would honor the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Legislation seeking the silver dollar is currently under consideration in Congress; the silver medal requires no congressional authorization.

The CFA considered 11 proposed obverse designs and 15 proposed reverse designs reflecting a historic approach to women’s suffrage and the early days of the movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. An additional nine obverse and nine reverse designs were considered that feature a more modern, 21st century look to the issues of women’s rights.

The silver medal will bear designs approved from the historic-themed sketches. It will be struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark. The surface finish has not yet been disclosed.

A proposed .999 fine silver dollar, if approved, would be struck at the Philadelphia Mint and offered in Proof and Uncirculated versions.

From the historic-themed design proposals, the CFA recommends an obverse which features three women’s profiles overlapping showing different ages and ethnicities. Each wears a different era’s hat style to symbolize the many decades the movement spanned. The figure in the foreground wears a cloche hat with an art deco pattern and a button with the year of the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

The recommended reverse features text from the 19th Amendment combined with Suffrage buttons of the time. The button “36” refers to the number of states it took at the time to ratify the amendment. 19TH AMENDMENT and AUGUST 26, 1920, are inscribed.

From the modern-themed designs, the CFA recommends an obverse design that depicts a diverse group of young American women who are able to use their voice through voting due to the 19th Amendment.

The proposed reverse features “a single reaching child’s hand, and four adult women’s hands and arms that appear to be holding up a heavy weight — formed by a ‘foundation’ of stone and bearing a classically-styled inscription,” according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative. 

There were three variants of the same design, but with different inscriptions.

The commission recommends the design bearing the inscription THE VOTE FOR EVERYONE, but suggests substituting the text THE RIGHT TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE DENIED ON ACCOUNT OF SEX, reduced in lettering size, on the stone portrayed higher in the design area.

Silver dollar legislation

Separate bills for a 2020 silver dollar commemorating women’s suffrage were introduced in the Senate and House in April 2019. S. 1235 passed in the Senate on June 4 and moved on to the House, where no action has yet been taken.

The House also has before it H.R. 2423, also calling for the 2020 Suffrage silver dollar with a mintage of 400,000 coins.

Mint spokesman Michael White said designs with historic imagery will appear on the silver medal. The imagery symbolic of the modern women’s movement is being considered in anticipation of the coin legislation being passed, White said.

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