The U.S. Mint recently released the 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin. The mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary and the new American Liberty gold coin is its flagship anniversary product in its catalog. Importantly, it features an unambiguously African-American woman for the first time on a U.S. coin. It bears a $100 value denomination.
As of May 5, the world price for one troy ounce of gold (which is the official weight of the American Liberty gold coin) was $1,229.70. However, the coin is available at the U.S. Mint website for $1,690.
The obverse design of the coin was created by artist Justin Kunz of the United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP). He depicted the face of a young, confident, African-American woman wearing a diadem of four stars based on a similar design by 19th-century sculptor Thomas Crawford, who fashioned the revered Statue of Freedom (1857-62) that has adorned the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. since 1863. The Statue of Freedom depicts a female warrior wearing a helmet and carrying a shield and laurel wreath. The bronze statue is wrapped in an American Indian-style fringed mantle.
"Libertas" was the Roman personification of liberty that was adored on the Aventine Hill in ancient Rome. Liberty has been depicted variously since ancient times. In France, the liberty figures that recall the French Revolution are busts that are modeled on real people, including actresses Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve.
Kunz has done design work in the past for the game World of Warcraft. Kunz’s initials "JK" are found to the left of Liberty's face. The design was engraved by Mint sculptor Phebe Hemphill, whose initials "PH” are found to the right behind Liberty's head.
On the left side is inscribed the year 1792--which is the first part of the coins dual date--while the year 2017 is inscribed on the right. The inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST are found at the top and the bottom of the obverse, respectively.
On the reverse of the coin is featured an American bald eagle on the downstroke flying from left to right. It was designed by AIP artist Chris Costello and engraved by Mint sculptor Michael Gaudioso. The initials "CTC" are found on the bottom of the coin next to the "W" mintmark, while the initials "MG" are located on the right edge between the tips of the eagle's left wing and the "S" in the inscription 100 DOLLARS. The other inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, 100 DOLLARS, the "W" mintmark and 1 OZ .9999 FINE GOLD. On the edge is the inscription * 225th ANNIVERSARY * in raised lettering.
Reaction to the design when it was revealed by the Mint on January 12 was mixed. Some suggested that the design betrayed "political correctness" or "identity politics" rather than fundamental national values. According to Coin World, “Regardless, in person the coin represents one of the finest portraitures in American coinage that we have seen in a long time. It is more graceful and cultivated than the highly successful 2016 gold coin, which was well-received by collectors.”
Face Value: $100.00
Fineness/Purity: .9999 fine (99.99% pure) 24-karat gold
Weight: 31.108 grams (1 troy ounce)
Diameter: 30.61 mm (1.205 inches)
Edge: Raised Lettering (* 225th ANNIVERSARY *)
Mint: West Point (W)
Statue of Freedom at U.S. Capitol
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