WASHINGTON – The United States Mint today revealed the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs for five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, ...

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United States Mint announces designs for World War I Centennial Silver Medals and more...

United States Mint announces designs for World War I Centennial Silver Medals

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint today revealed the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs for five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar. Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in World War I. Design descriptions and the respective minting facilities are below.

Hover to zoom.

World War I Centennial Army Medal – West Point Mint
The Army medal design depicts a soldier cutting through German barbed wire, while a second soldier aims a rifle amid a shattered landscape of broken trees and cratered earth. A shell explodes in the distance. The medal’s reverse design features the United States Army emblem in use during World War I, with the inscriptions OVER THERE!, CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I, 2018, and UNITED STATES ARMY.

The obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by now-retired U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, who also designed and sculpted the reverse.

World War I Centennial Marine Corps Medal – San Francisco Mint
The Marine Corps medal’s obverse design depicts the aftermath of the Battle of Belleau Wood. One Marine stands guard as the other kneels to pay respect to the fallen. The inscription quotes a report to the American Expeditionary Forces: WOODS NOW U.S. MARINE CORPS ENTIRELY

The medal’s reverse design features the World War I-era version of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem with the inscriptions CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I, 2018, OVER THERE!, and BATTLE OF BELLEAU WOOD. The obverse was designed by AIP designer Chris Costello and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Michael Gaudioso. The reverse was designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna.

World War I Centennial Navy Medal – Philadelphia Mint
The obverse design of the Navy medal depicts a U.S. Navy destroyer on escort duty after deploying a depth charge in defense of a convoy.  Above the destroyer, kite balloons provide Navy personnel a platform to spot submarines and other dangers. The inscription “OVER THERE!” appears at the bottom of the design. 

The medal’s reverse design features an Officer’s Cap Device* used in World War I. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES NAVY2018, and CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I. (*Note: An official, uniform seal of the United States Navy had not been adopted at the time of World War I.) The obverse was designed by Chris Costello and sculpted by Michael Gaudioso, while the reverse was designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Renata Gordon.

World War I Centennial Air Service Medal – Denver Mint
The obverse of the Air Service medal design depicts the iconic SPAD XIII, a World War I fighter flown by many Americans and valued for its speed, strength, and firepower, viewed from the top and side. The inscription SPAD XIII identifies the aircraft. 

The medal’s reverse design features the Military Aviator Insignia with the inscriptions CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I, 2018, OVER THERE!, AIR SERVICE, and AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES. This obverse was designed by AIP designer Ronald D. Sanders and sculpted by Joseph Menna, who also designed and sculpted the reverse.

World War I Centennial Coast Guard Medal – Philadelphia Mint
The obverse of the Coast Guard medal depicts a lifeboat from the Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Seneca heading out in heavy seas toward the torpedoed steamship Wellington.

The reverse design features the World War I–era Coast Guard emblem, with the inscriptions CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I, 2018, and OVER THERE!

Both the obverse and reverse of the Coast Guard medal were designed and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Phebe Hemphill.

Each silver medal will be paired with a World War I Centennial silver dollar and offered as a special set. These medals will not be available individually. Additional information about these sets will be available prior to their release in 2018.

About the United States Mint
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, Uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers. The Mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary in 2017 (#USMint225).

United States Mint unveils winning designs to be featured on World War I Centennial Silver Dollar

WASHINGTON — The United States Mint unveiled the winning designs in the World War I Centennial 2018 Commemorative Coin Design Competition today. The unveiling took place during the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The designs, by LeRoy Transfield of Orem, Utah, will be featured on the obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) of the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar scheduled for release next year.

“Our team at the U.S. Mint is proud to have the honor of crafting the coin that will commemorate the contributions and the history made by American men and women of all walks of life who bravely stepped forward 100 years ago to defend the interests of the nation and that of her allies,” said Thomas Johnson, Chief of the United States Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, who spoke at the ceremony.

Hover to zoom.

The obverse design, titled “Soldier’s Charge,” depicts an almost stone-like soldier gripping a rifle. Barbed wire twines in the lower right-hand side of the design. Inscriptions are LIBERTY, 1918, 2018, and IN GOD WE TRUST.

The wire design element continues onto the reverse design, titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire. Inscriptions include ONE DOLLARE PLURIBUS UNUM, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Now retired United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart sculpted both designs.

Additional participants in the unveiling included Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro, and World War I re-enactors who unveiled the designs.

The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 113-212) authorizes the minting and issuance of not more than 350,000 silver dollars in commemoration of the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I. A surcharge of $10 for each coin sold is authorized to be paid to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.

Additional details about the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar will be announced prior to the coin’s release in 2018 and further information can be found on the Mint’s website.

Former Mint Director David J. Ryder nominated to return to the post

The following is a repost from our sister site, Coin Update.

The White House announced nominations today to fill a number of vacant government positions, including that of director of the U.S. Mint. For that role, it has nominated David J. Ryder. The Mint, which has been without a formal director since the departure of Edmund Moy in 2011, is currently under the authority of Acting Principal Deputy Director David Motl.

The 38th Mint director served from 2006 until the start of 2011, during which time he saw the institution through the crisis of the collapse of the housing market and the worldwide Great Recession. A few days after his January 1 departure, the Mint’s deputy director, Andy Brunhart, left to join the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint’s associate director for manufacturing, Richard Peterson, was hired as deputy director on January 25.

In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated former auto executive Bibiana Boerio for the position of director, but her nomination died in committee. Mr. Peterson continued to serve as the acting Mint director until President Barack Obama’s appointment of Rhett Jeppson on January 12, 2015. The Senate refused to vote on the appointment, so Mr. Jeppson served as principal deputy director until January 20 of this year, when he tendered his resignation. The Mint’s former acting deputy director for management, David Motl, has served as acting deputy director since that time.

A release from the White House Press Office describes David Ryder—who served as the 34th Mint director (September 1992–November 1993) under President George H.W. Bush—as follows:

David J. Ryder of New Jersey to be Director of the United States Mint.  Mr. Ryder served as manager and managing director of currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. Previously, Mr. Ryder served as CEO of Secure Products Corporation, which was acquired by Honeywell in 2007. In 1991, Mr. Ryder was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Director of the U.S. Mint. His prior government service also included Deputy Treasurer of the United States, Assistant to the Vice President and Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Daniel Quayle. Mr. Ryder was born in Billings, Montana and raised in Boise, Idaho. A graduate of Boise State University, Mr. Ryder is married with two children.

Other nominees mentioned in the release are R.D. James, for assistant secretary of the Army, Civil Works; Kimberly A. Reed, first vice president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; Leon “Lynn” A. Westmoreland for a seat on the Amtrak board of directors; and Mitchell Zais for deputy secretary of  the Department of Education.

Final 2017-S American Eagle silver Proofs go on sale at noon (with a few other coins attached)

At noon today, the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set (product code 17RC) goes on sale at the Mint. Priced at $139.95, the sets contain the coveted 2017-S American Eagle silver Proof coin, along with the following:

  • all five 2017 Proof quarters from the America the Beautiful program (honoring Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa; Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in the District of Columbia; Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri; Ellis Island in New Jersey; and George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana);
  • the 2017 Proof Kennedy half dollar; and
  • the 2017 Proof Roosevelt dime.

The product limit is 50,000, which puts the final mintage of the 2017-S ASE at less than 125,000 and makes it a key to the series. Even with a household order limit of 2, the sets are expected to sell out today. The only question is: how fast? Give us your prediction in the comments.

Orders will be accepted online at https://catalog.usmint.gov or at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing– and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1-888-321-MINT.

The CCAC advises the Treasury on historic new coins, part 4: San Antonio Missions National Historical Park quarter

Background photo by AgnosticPreachersKid.

The following is the fourth of a six-part series currently running on our sister site, Coin Update

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Quarter (Texas)

Image of 2017 Ellis Island five-ounce silver, Uncirculated.

Another souvenir I bought during my September visit to United States Mint headquarters in Washington was an Uncirculated five-ounce version of the Ellis Island America the Beautiful quarter. The Philadelphia Mint strikes these large (three-inch–diameter) coins in 99.9% pure silver. Regular bullion versions are sold through the Mint’s network of Authorized Purchasers, while numismatic versions are sold directly by the Mint to collectors. The latter are specially made with an Uncirculated (also called Burnished) finish, encapsulated, and packaged in a sleeved box with a certificate of authenticity. The Ellis Island coin “depicts an immigrant family approaching Ellis Island with a mixture of hope and uncertainty. The hospital building can be seen in the background.” This is a design with important significance to many American families whose ancestors traveled to a new life through Ellis Island. It was composed by Artistic Infusion Program designer Barbara Fox and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Phebe Hemphill.

The reason I was in Washington in September was to attend the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee’s review of upcoming coin and medal proposals, including those of the America the Beautiful quarter program. The designs we review in 2017 will be the coins we spend and collect in 2019 and beyond—assuming the secretary of the Treasury accepts our recommendations. He has the final say on all coin designs.

The fourth in our slate of 2019 design reviews was a portfolio of sketches for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas. This park is a network of four Catholic missions (not including the famous Alamo). It was established to educate people about Spain’s successful effort to extend its territories north from Mexico in the 1600s and 1700s. This was before the “United States” existed as a nation when North America was made up of British and other colonies, unclaimed wilderness, and contested lands.


We were joined by phone in our discussion by Lauren Gurniewicz, the missions’ chief of interpretation. She told us the National Park Service’s choice from the selection of 15 designs was TX-03A, calling it “fantastic” and saying “it represents what we’re about.”

CCAC members don’t arrive in Washington with a blank slate for these America the Beautiful coin-design reviews. Several months before our meeting we discuss the national parks and other sites that will be under consideration. We talk with National Park Service liaisons who have already worked with U.S. Mint staff to flesh out their thoughts and ideas and identify important potential themes. These liaisons typically are high-level NPS managers and historians; for example, chiefs of interpretation, such as Ms. Gurniewicz. (The chief of interpretation, as defined by the Service, is “a senior leader in the NPS and has a major impact on the organizational effectiveness of the park in meeting mission goals for stewardship, relevance, education, and workforce. The Chief serves on the park management team, works collaboratively with park partners, and is the critical organizational link between tactical action in the field and strategic park planning.”) CCAC members give our guidance to the Mint’s artists on what we recommend, design-wise, for each coin. Then, several months later, the Mint mails each CCAC member a package of design portfolios—usually 10 to 20 proposals, by several artists, for each coin. We get these packages a few weeks before our scheduled design-review meeting, which allows us time to study and critique each proposal, weighing its artistry, its appropriateness for the subject, its coinability, and other factors. Then we convene to discuss the designs in the committee’s public forum.


To my eye, the portfolio for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park started off strong with TX-01. This design incorporates architecture from the missions, symbolizing their civilizing aspect (in the Western European mode), along with flowing water. The quatrefoil subtly represents the Christian cross, and it also has ancient Mexican significance, having been incorporated in water rituals, symbolizing rain and fertility.

Meanwhile, the architectural designs, TX-04 through 11A, are all beautifully drafted.

From left to right: TX-03, TX-03A, and TX-03B

The true standouts in this portfolio, though, are the trio of TX-03, 03A, and 03B. These are the symbolically strongest and most numismatically significant designs of the Texas group. They hark back to the Spanish-American coinage of reales dating from the founding era of the San Antonio missions. The quadrants illustrate symbols of wheat (farming and cultivation of the mission lands); arches and a bell tower (fortress, community, and home); a heraldic lion (Spain); and water (the San Antonio River and its life-sustaining resources). I was drawn to these designs because of their artistic connection to Spain’s colonial coins. TX-03A and 03B, in particular, stood out for me, since they show the church tower and the lion in the top quadrants. These represent the most significant and pervasive elements of life in the missions. The native Americans who sought shelter there (from Apache raiders, from disease, and from drought) were compelled to embrace, in the words of the National Park Service, “a new god and a new king.” They had to convert to Christianity and swear loyalty to the Spanish monarch.

CCAC member Tom Uram praised the artists who worked on this portfolio, commending them for well-thought-out designs. He mentioned that he’s a member of the 1715 Fleet Society (a group that promotes public awareness and scholarly study of all facets of the hurricane destruction of Spain’s 1715 treasure fleet off Florida’s coast). As such, he couldn’t help but be attracted to the coin-inspired designs, and he called out TX-03B, with the cross free-floating, as his favorite.


Member Heidi Wastweet, too, gave thanks to the Mint’s artists, calling this portfolio “a fantastic packet.” The well-known sculptor said TX-01 is “very good,” and she appreciated the addition of wildlife in TX-02.

TX-08 and TX-10

“The stylization of the trees is remarkable” in TX-08, she noted, and TX-10 would be good for a medal. Her preferred design from the portfolio of 15 was TX-03B.

Member Erik Jansen, a longtime numismatist, concurred, noting TX-03 and 03B as his favorites.

CCAC member Donald Scarinci (right) discussing U.S. coinage with Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart (September 16, 2016). Scarinci is a noted art-medal collector, a fellow of the American Numismatic Society, and a coordinator of the J. Sanford Saltus Award and Krause Publications’ “Coin of the Year” awards.

Member Mike Moran, author of Striking Change and 1849, two books that study the history of gold in United States coinage, observed that “Before 1857, Mexican and Spanish coins were what everyday Americans used in change.” They were legal tender in the United States until shortly before the Civil War. Moran identified TX-03B as his preferred design.

Member Herman Viola, an expert in Native American history, called TX-01 “a great work of art,” while giving his approval “wholeheartedly” to TX-03B.

Member Jeanne Stevens-Sollman—like Heidi Wastweet, an artist and medallic sculptor—called TX-01 “powerful” and said it would make a great coin. Her strongest support went to TX-03B, which she described as “wonderful.”

CCAC members Erik Jansen and Robert Hoge, September 2016. Jansen is CEO of a medical-device firm he co-founded in Washington State. He brings his knowledge of engineering to technical questions of U.S. coinage. Like Hoge and many other members of the committee, he is a longtime coin collector.

Member Robert Hoge also was enthusiastic about the portfolio: “We can’t go wrong with this group.” He pointed out that the quatrefoil, an element of design TX-01, also appears in gold Spanish-American coins. He gave his preference to TX-03B while noting that the symbology is not fully Spanish—”the lion is León, but nothing represents Castile.” Hoge’s understanding of Spanish and Spanish-American coins comes from long study and experience. He is the former curator of North American coins and currency for the American Numismatic Society, and his wife is art historian and University of Barcelona professor Immaculada Socias i Batet.

At the time of our September meeting, Mary Lannin’s nomination for continuing in the CCAC’s chairmanship was under consideration by the Treasury Department, so member Donald Scarinci, the committee’s senior member in years of service, acted as chair for this meeting. As did other members, he praised the Texas portfolio. “The artists listened and they heard us,” he said, noting that the only reason TX-01 doesn’t win is because the 03 grouping is so strong. Otherwise, he said, 01 is “what we’re looking for.”


04, he said, “uses the coin in a really nice way to show the architectural importance” of the missions.

From left to right: TX-05, TX-06, and TX-07

He also expressed admiration for 05, 06, 07, and 08, saying that, although he’s not usually a fan of buildings on coins, “these are buildings on coins that actually work.”

TX-11 and TX-11A

He gave encouragement to the artist who created TX-11 and 11A, calling them good designs. Ultimately his strongest support went to 03B, which he praised for its sense of history combined with symbolism important to Spanish Mexico.

Mary Lannin was the final committee member to remark on the San Antonio designs. She, too, voted for 03B in particular, noting the importance of showing the cross in its entirety, rather than extended to the interior perimeter. Lannin, a retired television producer and winery owner who now edits and volunteers for numismatic groups, said, “It’s wonderful to have the luxury of choosing from such a great group” of designs.

Our Vote for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Our Recommendation to the Treasury

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee was set up by Congress as a public body qualified to advise the secretary of the Treasury on themes and designs for circulating coins, bullion, and medals. Each of our 11 members is either specially qualified in a particular field, recommended by a member of Congress, or chosen to represent the general public.

Part of our process of making recommendations is to take a vote after we discuss and analyze each coin’s design proposals. The vote results lead to final discussion, which generates our recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury. In our voting for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park coin, each design candidate could earn up to 30 points. (10 members were present, and each could assign 1, 2, or 3 points to each design.) This is how our voting went:

  • TX-03B received 29 points, making it the standout design.
  • TX-01 received 14 points.
  • TX-03A and 03 received 11 and 7 points, respectively.
  • The rest of the designs received 1 to 4 points each, except for TX-12, which received 0.

The CCAC’s recommended design: TX-03B

With TX-03B coming in just one point shy of a perfect ranking, it will be our formal recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury for the design of the San Antonio Missions quarter in 2019.

Next: the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho) quarter.

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