The United States Mint has recently announced some news about upcoming programs including the 2019 Innovation Dollar designs and the final ATB quarter designs, as well as potential programs pending legislative approval. See what the United States Mint has in store for collectors.
The U.S. Mint recently announced the selection of final designs for several coin programs. In addition, it also provided information about some possible circulating and commemorative coin programs for the years 2021-2030 for which the Mint is pursuing authorizing legislation.
Last year Congress enacted legislation calling for a 14-year, 56-coin series of non-circulating $1 coins to be issued at the rate of four per year that honor American innovators and innovations, aptly called the American Innovation Series. At the end of 2018, an introductory coin was issued in a Proof finish and a Reverse Proof version was recently launched. The reverse design of this coin features an image of the signature of President George Washington from the first patent below the inscription, “AMERICAN INNOVATORS,” with the seal of the U.S. Patent Office above the inscription, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” across the middle and and a design with gears on the top portion.
The obverse of every coin in the series depicts a side view of the upper portion of the State of Liberty against a plain background that only includes the denomination on the right and the inscription “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the left, while the date and mintmark are on the edge.
During the August American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money held in Rosemont, Illinois, the Mint unveiled the designs of the four 2019 coins in this program. The Delaware coin features a reverse that depicts astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, who created a system for classifying stars still used today. The Pennsylvania coin honors the creation in 1953 of a vaccine to prevent Polio. The New Jersey coin pays homage to the Edison filament light bulb, and the Georgia coin depicts the first experimental agricultural garden in the 1730s, known as the Trustee’s Garden.
Each of these coins will be issued in Reverse Proof and sold separately as well as in bags and rolls of uncirculated coins. The Delaware uncirculated coin goes on sale on September 19, while the release dates of the other coins have not been announced. You can sign up to find out when the next additions to the American Innovation series are available to purchase on our Coming Soon Page.
On September 6, 2019, the final design selections of the 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame Basketball Commemorative Coins was revealed on NBA TV. These designs will appear on clad half dollars, silver dollars and $5 gold coins next year, and each will be struck in a domed shape with a concave obverse and convex reverse, and some may feature color in the design. This is the first time a commemorative coin design has been unveiled on television. The Hall of Fame will be promoting the sale of the coins next year by connecting them to the forthcoming basketball season.
The final six coins in the America the Beautiful quarter dollar series were also revealed during the ANA summer show. These include:
The Secretary of the Treasury had until December 2018 to decide whether to continue the America the Beautiful quarter dollar program, which is also issued as a 5 oz. silver version, with a second, 56-coin series on national parks and historic sites. He opted not to do that, so after the final ATB coin is issued in early 2021 and for the rest of that year, the obverse design will continue to feature the same bust of President Washington that it does now, while the reverse will feature a design of Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware before the Battle of Trenton. That could mean reusing the design of the 1999 New Jersey quarter, or it may mean creating a new design on that theme.
During the ANA show in August of 2019, the U.S. Mint Director said that he has the support of Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin for a new, ten-year coin program that would run from 2022 until 2031 with new reverse designs each year divided into three unrelated themes, or subsets. The first four coins issued from 2022 to 2025 would feature designs of animals; the 2026 coin would celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. and would be part of a one-year only redesign of each denomination of circulating coins for that event (similar to what was done in 1976 for the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins); and from 2027 to 2030, coins would be issued featuring designs related to youth sports. The final coin for 2031 could be on either animals or youth sports. For this program to move forward, it must become the topic of congressional legislation, be passed by the Congress, and enacted into law – none of which has happened so far.
Initial collector reaction has been very positive regarding the idea of the 2026 Sestercentennial proposal even without seeing any designs, while the animal and youth sports ideas have been met with more mixed reactions based on recent comments from collectors in online forums. However, Mint officials insists that collectors and non-collectors strongly favored animal and sports themes in focus groups that were conducted. They also indicated that the current proposal is also based on the understanding that collectors prefer shorter series over longer ones and that it is intended to appeal to a broad range of Americans, including children, according to Thomas V. Johnson, the Mint’s Chief of Corporate Communications (in an interview with CoinWeek).
This possible new quarter program is in competition with another one that is already making its way through the Congress that if enacted would result in the release of 56 quarters starting in 2021 to honor accomplishments of one woman from each state, territory and the District of Columbia (the Women’s History and 19th Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar program).
Another U.S. Mint initiative announced during the summer ANA show by U.S. Mint Director is a possible 2028 commemorative coin program for that year’s Summer Olympics to be held in Los Angeles that will also recognize the Paralympics athletes.
U.S. Mint Director Ryder said legislation is being pursued on this, and that the Mint is also working with U.S. Olympics Committee to draft the necessary bills. The plan is for a program with “a reasonable number of coin designs with suitable mintages without becoming a repeat of the 1995-96 Atlanta Centennial Olympics” according to a September 9 report in Coin World.
That program was later scaled down from an initial maximum authorized mintage for all product options of 18 million coins. The program, which was the most extensive commemorative program in U.S. Mint history, included 16 different designs on various sports each issued in proof and uncirculated finishes. With so many options, collectors felt overwhelmed, and sales of some products suffered. As a result, today some of those silver dollars, such as the uncirculated Paralympics coin, are among the lowest-mintage modern commemorative issues.
Paul Gilkes, “Mint to propose Olympic Coins,” Coin World, September 9, 2019
Paul Gilkes, “U.S. Mint seeks circulating commemorative coins for nation’s 250th anniversary,” Coin World, September 2019
Louis Golino, “Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame plans year-long promotion of 2020 basketball commemorative coins,” www.coinupdate.com, August 20, 2019
Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, “What Happens to the Washington Quarter After 2021? The Mint Weighs Its Options,” www.coinweek.com, September 2
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||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|