For the first time ever, Lady Liberty is being portrayed as a black woman on an officially minted U.S. coin.
On Jan. 12, the U.S. Mint 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 U.S. 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 Rhett 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 a black woman, a departure from previous classic designs. The obverse design depicts a profile of Liberty wearing a crown of stars, with the inscriptions “LIBERTY,” “1792,” “2017,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The reverse design depicts a bold and powerful eagle in flight. 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, and 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 and 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 depicting 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 U.S. These 24-karat gold coins will be issued biennially. A corresponding series of medals struck in .999 silver—featuring the same designs featured on the gold coins—will also be available.
The U.S. Mint will announce additional information about the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary gold coin prior to its release on April 6.