New Issue: U.S. Mint unveils WWI centennial silver medals

Earlier this week, the U.S. Mint revealed the obverse and reverse designs for five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the 2018 First World War centennial silver dollar.

The obverse design of the silver dollar, titled “Soldier’s Charge,” depicts a soldier gripping a rifle with barbed wire twines in the lower-right side. The wire design element continues onto the reverse design, titled “Poppies in the Wire,” which features abstract poppies mixed in with barbed wire.

Each of the silver medals is composed of 90 percent silver and pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in the First World War. The medals include:

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, which was also 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 United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by now retired United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, who also designed and sculpted the reverse.

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 United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso. The reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.

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 NAVY,” “2018,” 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 United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.

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.

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 United States 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.

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