It was the “War to End All Wars”.
When the United States entered the conflict on April 6, 1917, World War I had been raging for almost three years. During that time, President Thomas Woodrow Wilson had maintained the country’s political neutrality – despite his own feelings to the contrary and the feelings of many of his fellow Americans. Wilson famously (and successfully) ran for re-election to the presidency in 1916 with the slogan “He kept us out of war”, though this also referred to the resolution of rising tensions with Mexico.
Nevertheless, and despite agreements already in place thanks to protests from Wilson himself, Germany continued to allow its U-boats (Unterseeboote) to attack ocean liners and shipping vessels that contained American passengers and cargo on their way to Allied nations. Eventually this, along with other provocations–such as the Zimmermann Telegram–made American neutrality untenable. The bulk of U.S. troops joined the Western Front the next summer in 1918. With Germany unable to deal with the influx of fresh soldiers and materiel, the war was over by November 11, 1918.
In those 19 months, 4.7 million American men and women served in the armed forces. A total of 116,516 soldiers, sailors, and marines were killed, with 53,402 dying in action and 63,114 dying from disease (the Flu of 1918 was especially deadly). Over 258,000 servicemen were injured. The majority of American casualties occurred in the last several months of combat.
The obverse depicts a rough-hewn American soldier in right profile. He wears an M-1917 steel helmet, the strap running down the length of his face and under his chin. Apparently left-handed, the soldier holds his rifle high on his right side facing the viewer. Two small symmetrical arcs of barbed wire–one of the most iconic features of the “trench warfare” of World War I–are visible in front of the soldier, in the lower right quadrant. The inscription LIBERTY is prominently displayed between the rifle and his helmet. IN GOD WE TRUST is found in a slightly smaller font in front of the soldier’s stern visage. The designer’s initials “LGT” are located on the left side of the coin next to his right hand, and the dual date “1918 2018” appears near the bottom below the rifle.
The monogram “DE” is found in front of the soldier’s high collar; these are the initials of recently retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart.
The coin was designed by the American artist and sculptor LeRoy Transfield as his entry in the World War I Centennial 2018 Commemorative Coin Design Competition. According to Transfield, he listened to the Mint and the CCAC when they suggested that most artists make the mistake of submitting drawings that are too finely detailed and therefore unsuitable for a sculptural medium and so he kept his design clean and free of extraneous lines. Transfield also chose to portray a soldier with imperfect features to better represent those who actually served in the war.
Originally from New Zealand, the artist lives and works in Orem, Utah.
The reverse features a line of naturalistically detailed poppies in front of tangled segments of barbed wire. The common poppy (Papaver rhoeas) has served as a symbol to commemorate the dead soldiers of World War I since the American Legion adopted it in 1920 after a campaign inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field“, written in 1915 by a Canadian veteran of the war, Lt. Col. John McCrae.
The denomination “ONE DOLLAR” runs clockwise along the top of the coin near the rim, with the legend “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (“Out of Many, One”) immediately beneath it. The inscription “UNITED STATES of AMERICA” is found under the central motif of poppies. All of these inscriptions are engraved in a modern-looking sans serif font.
The initials “LGT” are located on the left side of the coin beneath the poppies, while Don Everhart’s initials are found on the right. The Philadelphia mint mark “P” is placed below Everhart’s monogram.
The edge of the World War I Army Veterans Centennial Silver $1 commemorative coin is reeded.
Designer LeRoy Transfield is a sculptor based out of Orem, Utah. He studied sculpture in Hawaii and has taught at schools like Te Wanaga o Aotearoa in New Zealand.
Don Everhart joined the United States Mint sculpting and engraving department in 2004, after a long and successful career as a sculptor and designer of medals (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2018|
|Mint Mark:||P (Philadelphia)|
|Alloy:||90% Silver, 10% Copper|
|OBV Designer||LeRoy Transfield | Don Everhart|
|REV Designer||LeRoy Transfield | Don Everhart|