Some examples of Liberty on classic U.S. coinage
Would you like to see a revitalization of United States coinage? You aren’t the only one. As reported by Louis Golino on CoinWeek, Congressman Andrew Barr of Kentucky has introduced H.R. 2535, the American Liberty Coinage and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013. The act would authorize new designs of Lady Liberty for the obverse of the dime and quarter, and a non-circulating commemorative half dollar.
The preamble of the bill states:
To cause increased seigniorage for the United States Mint leading to enhanced revenue to the Treasury and increased offsets to annual budget deficits in perpetuity, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue coins commemorating and celebrating American Liberty, ‘The Union’, and the American values and attributes of freedom, independence, civil governance, enlightenment, peace, strength, equality, democracy, and justice, to provide for the continued and concurrent production and distribution of existing presidentially-themed circulating and numismatic coinage designs, and for other purposes.
These would be new designs evoking Liberty, instead of reissues of old designs, and also have new designs on the reverse. According to the bill, the Liberty coins will:
‘(i) have obverse designs that are emblematic and allegoric of the concept of ‘American Liberty’; and
‘(ii) have reverse designs that–
‘(I) depict an American bald eagle;
‘(II) depict a fasces emblematic of civil governance;
‘(III) depict the torch of knowledge;
‘(IV) are emblematic and allegoric of ‘The Union’; or
‘(V) depict one or more of the American values and attributes of freedom, independence, peace, strength, equality, democracy, and justice.
The designs are also mandated to have the mottos “In God We Trust” and “Liberty”, as well as the minting date on obverse; and “United States Of America” and “E Pluribus Unum” and the denomination on reverse.
The plan is to have the new designs appear alongside the existing designs, on alternate years for ten years. For example, starting in 2015, a new Liberty Dime would appear alongside the existing Roosevelt dime every other year. In 2016, a new Liberty Quarter would appear alongside the existing Washington quarter. (The Liberty Half Dollar would keep the same design for every year in the ten-year period.) After ten years, new “Liberty” designs for each denomination would be introduced.
The Liberty coins and “normal” coins would both be produced on “Liberty years” at a ratio between 40/60 and 50/50 between Liberty and “regular” presidential coins, respectively. On non-“Liberty” years, the entire year’s run would be the normal Presidential coins. Again, the half dollar would be different, with the “Liberty” half dollar produced alongside the Kennedy half dollar for ten years straight.
One of the designs already proposed for the Liberty half dollar is the 1977 “Flowing Hair” design of former Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint Frank Gasparro. His design lost out to the Susan B. Anthony design for the “small dollar” coin introduced in 1979.
There are also provisions in the bill for the Secretary of the Treasury to authorize 999 silver versions of all three denominations, at his discretion.
If you’d like to see these new designs happen, write or fax your Congressman. Remember, physical letters carry FAR more weight than emails and phone calls.