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American Liberty 225th Anniversary Set Hits the Market

October 16, 2017 0 Comments

October 19, 2017 is the grand finale to the US Mint’s 225th anniversary celebrations. At noon that day the Mint will release the fourth of its special celebratory sets, the American Liberty 225th Anniversary Silver Four-Medal Set. This is a set of four silver medals, designed to highlight the four minting facilities currently in use – San Francisco, Philadelphia, Denver and West Point. Each coin will bear the standard mint mark of the facilities – S, P, D & W. To add to the interest in the set, each has a different finish.  This is a good opportunity to look at those different finishes more closely, so here they are:

Uncirculated finish – circulating coins are the everyday coins in our pockets – those issued to be used as change, or in vending machines. We can think of this as the ‘standard’ finish, from which all other coins will be different. For collectors, coins are also issued in an uncirculated state – they have never been on the street, and collectors like it that way. They only differ form a circulating coin in being unscratched or rubbed – truly in ‘mint’ condition. In the 225th Anniversary set, this finish is seen in the Denver minted coin.

Enhanced uncirculated finish – these coins combine two surfaces, a laser-frosted background, with an unpolished finish on the raised areas, giving the coin a two-tone ‘mat’ finish, and accentuating the details of the engraving.  This unique finish gives the coins a very distinct and attractive look. The coin minted at West Point displays this finish.

Proof finish –  a proof coin was originally one of a small sample struck to test the dies for making the final coin. Today it has a different meaning, and is a coin struck twice, to enhance the clarity of the detail, and also to give the raised parts a frosted finish, and the background a mirror-like finish. This finish is seen in the Anniversary set in the coin from the San Francisco Mint facility.

Reverse proof finish – as the name suggests, a reverse proof is a proof coin with a frosted background and a mirror-like finish to the raised details, such as the figure and the lettering. In the 225th Anniversary set we are looking at, the coin minted in Philadelphia shows this finish.

With its range of finishes on the same design, the Lady Liberty set is a perfect way to compare the finishes found on coins, and use as a reference set for those finishes. All the medals have the new, African-American profile of Lady Liberty wearing a crown of stars, on the obverse. The design was created by Justin Kunz, a designer in the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. The words, “LIBERTY,” “1792,” and “2017” surround the profile.

The reverse was designed by another member of the Artistic Infusion Program, Chris Costello. His design shows the iconic American eagle, symbol of American power, in flight. In the words of the mint, the eagle has its ‘eyes toward opportunity and a determination to attain it.’ The inscription, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” is engraved above the eagle. The coins are 99.9% pure silver, and each one weighs 1 troy ounce (31.103 grams) and has a diameter of 1.598 inches. With a minting of only 50,000 sets, this is a unique set to round out the celebration of the 225th anniversary of the US Mint.

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