Well after some fanfare and initial mixed reactions from collectors, can't please everyone I suppose, the long awaited American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is finally here.
The coin is being minted as a part of the US Mint's 225th anniversary celebrations and fully embraces the theme of the year long celebration, which is “Remembering our past and embracing our future”.
The coin has received significant coverage in mainstream media due to the fact that the obverse design displays a figure of Liberty, which is for the first time in the Mint's 225 year history is depicted as a young African-American woman.
Liberty has featured on United States coinage since the very first coins were produced in 1792. Through that 225 year history the designs were forever evolving and shifting as society progressed and technology advanced. From seated Liberty half dollars to capped and draped bust coins and flowing hair silver dollars coins, all the way to Saint-Gaudens double eagles and modern commemorative coins. The allegorical depiction of Liberty has remained a constant for the US Mint that represents the guiding principles that the American dream was founded on.
So in designing the obverse of the new commemorative gold coin, artist Justin Kunz, sought inspiration from classical American iconography. He found it in the Statue of Freedom that has kept watch over the nations capitol since 1863 from her perched position atop the dome of the Capitol Building.
The profile portrait of this youthful Liberty is wearing a crown of five-pointed stars, as she gazes towards the left. This new interpretation borrows elements from the Statue of Freedom as well as the venerable Draped Bust coins from the Mint's early history, to form a new and invigorating design to launch a new chapter for the US Mint. The words “LIBERTY” are inscribed in large letters to the top and "IN GOD WE TRUST" to the bottom. The dates "1792" and "2017” flank the effigy at either end, with the designer and sculptor's initials, “JK”(designer Justin Kunz) and “PH”(Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill ), seen just below.
The reverse design in turn bears a stunning resemblance to the Flying Eagle 1c coin, which surely had to serve as inspiration to US Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Chris T. Costello. The remarkable detailed eagle is in full flight towards the right of the design, with it's wings spread and powerful talons tucked under it's tail feathers. Representing the full promise of freedom and opportunity that the future holds.
The reverse inscriptions read : "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", "E PLURIBUS UNUM", "1OZ .9999 FINE GOLD" and "100 DOLLARS". The “W” mintmark represents the coin's origin from the West Point Mint. Finally the initials of “CTC”(designer Chris Costello) and “MG”(Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso) is seen just below the eagle's wings.
The coin's design is rounded off by raised edge lettering that reads “225th ANNIVERSARY”, flanked by a single five-pointed star at either end. The edge lettering is repeated three times around the coin's edge.
This special high relief proof gold coin is struck from 1oz of pure .9999 Fineness gold and measures 30.61 mm(1.205 inch) in diameter. The coin is shipped encapsulated in a luxurious black lacquered hardwood display case with gold lettering. This is further accompanied by a specially printed, hardcover booklet detailing the depiction of Liberty throughout the Mints two and a quarter century history.
Since this is a gold coin the price will be governed by the US Mint's pricing schedule for products containing gold. These products are priced according to the range in which they appear on the United States Mint Numismatic Gold, Commemorative Gold, and Platinum Product Pricing Grid. However, at launch the coin is priced at $1640.00 each.
There is no household order limit imposed on this coin, but a declared mintage of 100 000 coins will limit availability if demand is strong. The Mint will also accept orders at its sales counters in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Denver.
In addition to the proof $100 coin described above the US Mint has also indicated that it plans to issue a silver medal of the same design. This would be similar to what they did with the 2015 High Relief American Liberty gold coin, where the silver medals were issued in 2016.
After the coin's design was revealed in January, 2017, the US Mint announced that the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin will serve as the launch coin in a new biennial series of gold Liberty coins. The new series will with each subsequent coin feature a different allegorical representation of Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms. These are said to include designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others. The series intends to more accurately reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.