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A New Dollar Coin Series Will Soon be Released

June 25, 2018 0 Comments

Despite the lack of interest – and downright refusal – among the American public to adopt one-dollar coins, the US Mint still makes them for collectors. The current series of Native American $1 coins, commonly called the Sacagawea dollar, or the golden dollar, has been produced each year since 2000, although only released into general circulation in 2000, 2001, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In its early years it had a constant design, created by Glenna Goodacre, of Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, on the obverse. The reverse was an eagle, design by Thomas D. Rogers. That changed in 2009, and since that year the reverse has changed each year, always featuring an aspect of Native American culture.

The Native American $1 coins will continue to be released but added to them soon will be a new series with a very different flavor. That change moved a step closer on 20 June 2018, when the Senate approved the ‘American Innovation $1 Coin Act’ (H.R. 770). It had passed the House earlier in the year, and now just awaits final House approval and the signature of President Trump, both of which are expected to happen without problems. This new series replaces the Presidential $1-coin series, which ended in 2016.

The new ‘American Innovation’ coins will start in 2019, and run for 14 years, with 4 designs a year showing innovations from each of the 56 states. There may also be a special release in 2018 of a coin showing the signature of President George Washington on the first US Patent – reflecting the importance of patent protection as an impetus for innovation. The series will be released in the order that states joined the Union, with D.C. and the five territories at the end of the series.

Interestingly, no portraits will be allowed on the coins. Instead they must be ‘emblematic’ of a significant innovation, an innovator or pioneer, or of a group of innovators or pioneers. This will be an interesting challenge for designers. The obverse will be common across the series, which must be ‘symbolic of Liberty’ – again, some interesting designs should emerge for this. As well, the obverse will have the regular features of a $1 coin, that is, the year of minting; E PLURIBUS UNUM; and a mint mark. The coins will be minted with the same copper core and manganese-bronze coating, so that distinctive golden look will still be with us.

Exactly how the new designs will be created is not yet known, but they will be chosen by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the consultation of the chief executive of the state being honored, the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. There could easily be a public competition for these designs, or they may be created under the Artistic Enrichment Program. We will probably know this soon. Coin collectors are gearing up for this new series, and who knows, but the public might finally change its mind, and decide to adopt the $1 coin. After all, almost everywhere in the world today the basic unit – pound, euro or dollar, has been a coin for a long time, and often two-dollars coin are widely circulated as well.

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