Lady Liberty Looks Better Than Ever
This is my first time to publish a press release (12 January 2017) from the United State Mint, and I’m afraid it reads like a government press release. But oh, the news! I especially like the headline from The New York Times, “The Coin? Gold. Its ‘Real Value’? Lady Liberty Is Black.”
Those familiar words of Dr. Martin Luther King now probe another layer of meaning, at the intersection not only of economics and justice, but also currency and representation: “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” –CH
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, and United States Mint (Mint) Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson today unveiled designs for the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin in the historic Department of the Treasury’s Cash Room. The ceremony, led by Mint Chief of Staff Elisa Basnight, kicked off a year-long series of events in celebration of the Mint’s 225th anniversary in 2017.
“We are very proud of the fact that the United States Mint is rooted in the Constitution,” said Principal Deputy Director Jeppson. “Our founding fathers realized the critical need for our fledgling nation to have a respected monetary system, and over the last 225 years, the Mint has never failed in its mission.”
The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin design is unique in that it portrays Liberty as an African-American woman, a departure from previous classic designs. The obverse (heads) design depicts a profile of Liberty wearing a crown of stars, with the inscriptions: ‘LIBERTY’, ‘1792’, ‘2017’, and ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’. The reverse (tails) design depicts a bold and powerful eagle in flight, with eyes toward opportunity and a determination to attain it. Inscriptions include ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’, ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’, ‘1OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD’, and ‘100 DOLLARS’. The obverse was designed by Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Justin Kunz and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, while the reverse was designed by AIP Designer Chris Costello and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin will be struck in .9999 fine 24-karat gold at the West Point Mint in high relief, with a proof finish. The one-ounce coin will be encapsulated and placed in a custom designed, black wood presentation case. A 225th anniversary booklet with certificate of authenticity will accompany each coin.
The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms-including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States. These 24-karat gold coins will be issued biennially. A corresponding series of medals struck in .999 silver, with the same designs featured on the gold coins, will also be available. The Mint will announce additional information about the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin prior to its release on April 6.