The second post in the series “US coin engravers and artists” is here…
We have always talked about coins. It’s our passion. But what about the artists behind the coins? The Coin engravers and artists are the people who have managed to bring out the numismatist in you and me. They are the ones who have painstakingly brought out a thought or an entire story within a 1 inch coin. We have tried to piece together a post talking about these coin engravers, sculptors and artists who have made the US coins what it is today. As the post became a bit longer than we thought it would, we would be putting it up as a series. The first one is here….
The 2016 Walking Liberty Centennial Gold coin will be released by the U.S. mint on November 17th 2016. The Mercury Dime Gold coin released in April 21st and the Standing Liberty Gold coin released in September 8th 2016 were instant successes. All three coins have beautiful designs and because of the history behind the 1916 re-design of the dime, quarter and the half-dollar, most collectors have been enthusiastic about them. The 2016 Walking Liberty Centennial Gold coin will complete the trio of Centennial coins released this year and is by far the most anticipated coin by collectors.
The Coin and Chronicles set released by the US mint from the year 2005 has been a great success with the collectors. The latest and the last in the series, the Ronald Reagan Coin and Chronicles set was released on October 11th honoring the 40th President. Before looking at the Reagan set, let’s look at the sets released through the years and understand why they are special.
For the first time ever, Proof American Silver Eagles have been released with edge lettering. For commemorating the 30th anniversary of the American Eagle, the 2016 Proof American Silver Eagle has been designed to have lettering in the edges where it is usually reeded. Though rare, edge lettering in coins is not a new phenomenon. Some of the earliest American coins have edge lettering. Modern coins like the Presidential $1 coins and the Native American $1 coins also have edge lettering.
Abe Lincoln , the most revered of all Presidents appears in the obverse of the cent or penny (taken from the British penny for the smallest denomination!) from the year 1909. Lincoln cent or Lincoln Penny as it is called has seen many changes in the reverse design but the obverse has been constant for the last 107 years. It was designed by Victor David Brenner using a photograph of the 16th President by Mathew Brady.
Odd shaped coins are just that. Odd. It is very rare to find one in your pocket change. Ever wondered why? Finding different shapes in your pocket change like a square, a triangle or a 3 dimensional shape would be quite exciting. But these shapes aren't really practical for everyday use. Imagine the inconvenience if a triangular coin gets stuck in a pocket hole. Coins with sharp edges will have more wear in their designs. Historically, it was never intentionally meant for a coin to be round in shape. When two metals at opposite ends were used to strike another piece of metal, the result was a round and thus the circular coin was born.
But mints around the world have experimented with Odd shaped coins for circulating and commemorative purposes. And collectors have found new and exciting coins to collect in these Odd Shaped coins.
What an exciting year 2016 has been for coin enthusiasts ?!! In April we saw the release of the Mercury Dime Centennial Gold coin and it became unavailable within an hour. More about that here. The second in line this year was the Standing Liberty quarter designed in 1916 by Hermon Atkins Macneil. It has been honored with the Standing Liberty 2016 Centennial Gold coin released on Sep 8th 2016. Each coin has one-quarter troy ounce of 24-karat gold symbolic of the denomination of the original quarter dollar.
Classic Gold coins hold great value for collectors due to the history behind them. Gold coins were legal tender for many ancient empires like the Persian Empire, the Byzantine and the Greek in the 'Old World' and the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans in the 'New World'. And this wonder metal created these dynasties and toppled them too.
Though not as famous as the Morgan dollars, the Peace Silver dollars have an understated appeal to some coin collectors. Meant as a Commemorative coin of Peace after the First World War, the Peace Silver dollar ushered in the ‘roaring twenties’. It was the age of the newly affluent middle-class American family; the age where women got voting rights and the country enjoyed a stable economy. The Peace Silver dollar’s design reflected this emerging modern age with a Liberty sporting a modern profile compared to the neo-classical Roman profiles of earlier Silver dollars.