The United States Mint had previously announced a public competition to design the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative coins. The Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative coin design competition was an opportunity for American artists to design a coin in recognition of the fight against breast cancer. For each of the three coins sold, surcharges are authorized to be paid to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for the purpose of furthering breast cancer research funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This competition provided a unique occasion for the United States Mint and for American artists to participate in this important cause and to create a beautiful and most important coin program.
Phase One of this competition, which occurred during August 1 - October 17, 2016, artists were encouraged to submit their contact information and three to five work samples for consideration. When Phase One closed, a panel of judges selected 20 applicants from Phase One to participate in Phase Two, where they created and submitted designs and/or plasters for the final coin. Submissions were all received by January 31st. The winner, Emily Damstra, is a U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer.
Each year for over thirty years, the United States has produced two congressionally approved commemorative coin programs. In 2018, this will also be the case and one of these designs will be the Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative coin program. The denominations for these coins will be as before, $5 for the gold coins, $1 for the 90% silver coins, and half-dollar (50 cents) for the copper-nickel clad coins. The finishes for these coins will also remain the same as during the previous years – proof (double struck) with mirror fields and Brilliant Uncirculated with matte fields. The maximum mintage figures for these coins will also remain unchanged from the previous years – 50,000 coins for the gold, 400,000 coins for the silver, and 750,000 coins for the copper-nickel clad coins.
While there are multiple denominations to choose from, the obverse of each Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative coin displays the same design. The inscriptions on the obverse read “LIBERTY,” “2018” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This design shows two women standing together. The younger woman is wearing a bandana and holding her fist up high. A detailed butterfly can be seen just above her head. The older woman next to her is holding both of her hands on her chest, her expression suggests she is enjoying a moment of relief. There is also a ribbon in the background. Pink ribbons have long been used as a symbol of breast cancer awareness.
Several inscriptions are on the reverse. These inscriptions read “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “BREAST CANCER AWARENESS.” This side is also where the face value can be found. Like the obverse, this design is the work of Damstra. A single subject occupies this design, a large butterfly. Specifically, this is a Tiger Swallowtail. This stunning creature is depicted in flight with a lifelike level of detail. To many, the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly symbolizes hope. That’s why it was included in these designs by Damstra. If you look closely, you can see that this is the same type of butterfly that is depicted on the obverse above the young woman. Together, the obverse and reverse designs symbolize hope for both those affected by the disease today and those that may be at risk in the future. This hope and further progress in fighting the disease is the goal of breast cancer awareness.
The design of the gold coin with pink color employs alloys of copper and silver which are added to the coin in varying amounts depending on the desired color frequency. The legislation calls for the coins to be made of at least 75% gold rather than the usual 90% gold and 10% copper.