US Coins

Top 10 of 2016: U.S. Mint plans 225th anniversary

The United States Mint began previewing its milestone 2017 anniversary in 2016, but much of what the U.S. Mint will do in celebration of the bureau’s 225th anniversary will be on a “stay tuned” basis.

When Coin World knows, the collecting world will know. 

General announcements to the numismatic press indicate events at the Mint production facilities will be closed to the public but accessible to the media.

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“We will invite the media to all the Mints when they have their ‘day,’?” says Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint Office of Corporate Communications. “These will not be open to the public. These events will be for our employees.”

At the first event, scheduled for Jan. 12 in the Cash Room of the Treasury Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S. Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson will unveil the adopted designs for the 1792–2017-W American Liberty gold $100 coin.

The adopted obverse for the high relief coin features Liberty rendered as an African-American woman with starred coronet; the design was illustrated on a promotional brochure circulated among members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee during a meeting in 2016.

The obverse, dual-dated, has 1792 in the field to the viewer’s left, in front of Liberty, and 2017 in the right field, behind Liberty’s head.

The U.S. Mint, whose creation is embedded in the U.S. Constitution, was congressionally established April 2, 1792. 

The brochure illustration shows part of the edge device as depicting 225TH ANNIVERSARY and several five-pointed stars.

The CCAC and Commission of Fine Arts both recommended a proposed reverse design depicting an eagle in flight with its wings positioned in a downward thrust. The Jan. 12 unveiling will reveal whether that proposed reverse is the official selection by Treasury officials.

The adopted designs will also be adapted in lower relief for use on four 2017 American Liberty silver medals.

The 1-ounce, .999 fine silver medals, struck on the same planchets as for silver American Eagles, are to be struck in four different finishes, one each at each of the four production facilities — Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point.

Controversial choice

When the two review panels in 2016 recommended the obverse design that has been selected, along with approving comments, opposition to the design was voiced, with objections raised on several grounds: that it is aesthetically unpleasing, that the Liberty portrait departs too much from previous portraits with their roots in Greek art, that the selection of an African-American Liberty was “politically correct” or that it was dictated by the Obama administration. Additionally, some comments about the coin were blatantly racist in nature.

For future 225th anniversary celebration events, “stay tuned.” 

Read all of our Coin World Top 10 of 2016 series:

U.S. Mint issues gold Centennial coins
Pogue IV auction tops $16 million
Rare English gold coin found in toy box
Boutique bullion trend catches on worldwide
Langbord 1933 double eagle case rolls on
1974-D aluminum cent returned to U.S. Mint
Treasury announces new Federal Reserve note designs
1964 Morgan dollar tooling uncovered
American Liberty silver medal released
U.S. Mint plans yearlong 225th anniversary party

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