U.S. Mint to Produce $1 American Innovation Coins

The United States Mint launched the first coin pursuant to the American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770). This is the beginning of a 14-year dollar coin series that recognizes American innovation, commemorating innovation and innovators from each state, each U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia.

American Innovation $1 Coin Act
The law provides that four $1 coin designs will be issued during each year of the 14-year period until one coin featuring one innovation, an individual innovator, or a group of innovators, from each of the states, the District of Columbia, and territories has been issued. With respect to each state, the coins shall be issued in the order in which the states ratified the Constitution of the United States or were admitted into the Union.

The U.S. Mint will kick off the series in 2018 with an initial $1 coin. Its reverse will feature inscriptions of “United States of America,” “American Innovators” and a representation of the signature of President George Washington on the first U.S. patent. The patent was issued on July 31, 1790, to Samuel Hopkins for an improvement in the making of pot ash and pearl ash.

Coin Design of American Innovation Coin
The American Innovation $1 Coin Act provides that no head and shoulders portrait or bust of any person and no portrait of a living person may be included in the design of any coin. All coins from the program will share a common obverse depicting the Statue of Liberty, plus inscriptions of “$1” and “In God We Trust.” The inscription of the year of minting or issuance of the coin, the mint mark, and the inscription ‘E Pluribus Unum’ must be edge-incused into the coin.

With respect to the coin design for each state, territory and the District of Columbia, the selection of the significant innovation, innovator, or group of innovators to be featured on the reverse of the coin will be made by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Governor or other chief executive of the State, the District of Columbia, or territory. Reverses will also include inscriptions of the “United States of America” and the location of the innovation/innovator — one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.

Already A Controversial Series
The new series of dollar coins is already controversial.  The coins will not be sold to banks by the Fed and therefore will not ever see circulation.  While paper dollars continue to dominate commerce, the US Mint continues to make Native American dollars with the Sacagawea obverse.  This new series replaces the Presidential dollar series which were at least struck for circulation even though they didn’t circulate.

The series got off to a rocky start with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, CCAC, rejecting the first set of designs it received.  Those designs included a proposal to use Don Everhart’s reverse design for the Presidential dollar coins as the obverse design for the new American Innovation dollars.  The proposed reverses in the original package were even less appealing to the CCAC.

The Mint responded quickly and produced new designs for the CCAC and the Commission on Fine Arts to review.  The result is an attractive obverse that utilizes negative space like no other American Coin since the Gobrecht Dollar.

The first coin in this new 14 year series will go on sale in time for holiday shopping.

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