Everything you need to know about the U.S. Mint’s 225th Anniversary American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin
By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
As of today at noon Eastern Standard Time, the 2017 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin goes on sale at the United States Mint. While the year is far from over, and the Mint continues to celebrate its 225th anniversary, the American Liberty gold coin is the flagship anniversary product in its 2017 catalog of offerings. It’s an important coin, as it features the first rendition of Lady Liberty as an unambiguously African-American woman to appear on U.S. coins.
Despite its importance, however, prospects are uncertain for the release.
Unlike the Congratulations Set launch two days ago, the cost of the gold coin is substantially higher, making the odds of an immediate sellout much lower. That said, the coin should sell well.
So before sales start online, here is all the information you’ll need to make your own decision about the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary High Relief Gold Coin.
- 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)
- Finish: Proof
- Initial Retail Price: $1,640.00 USD
- Full Retail Price: $1,690.00
All U.S. Mint Numismatic Gold, Commemorative Gold and Platinum products are priced according to the Mint’s pricing grid, available here as a PDF. The 2017 American Liberty gold coin is listed as one of the column headers at the top of the table. Prices are determined every Wednesday by the spot price of gold on the open market. Currently, gold sits at $1,255.42 USD per ounce, so it falls in the $1,250.00 to $1,299.99 range as seen in the average pricing row labeled as such. Following this row over to the column for the American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin gives us a full retail price of $1,690.00.
The initial retail price upon release, however, will be discounted to $1,640.00 the first month of availability. Assuming all else is equal, full pricing is in effect starting May 6.
Nevertheless, these prices are subject to change depending on fluctuations in the spot price of gold.
The obverse design was created by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Justin Kunz. His strong, confident and youthful portrait of Liberty features braided hair and a large diadem of four stars based on similar headgear worn by 19th-century sculptor Thomas Crawford’s Statue of Freedom (1857-62) that has adorned the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. almost consecutively since 1863. As an aside, Kunz has done design work for the game World of Warcraft; his initials “JK” are found to the left of Liberty’s face. Mint sculptor Phebe Hemphill engraved Kunz’ design; her initials “PH are found to the right behind Liberty’s head.
The year 1792–the first part of the coin’s dual date–is inscribed on the left side while the year 2017 is inscribed on the right. Otherwise, the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST are found at the top and the bottom of the obverse, respectively.
The reverse, which features an American bald eagle on the downstroke flying from left to right, 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, and 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.
Inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, 100 DOLLARS, the “W” mintmark and 1 OZ .9999 FINE GOLD.
The edge features the inscription * 225th ANNIVERSARY * in raised lettering.
The U.S. Mint has drawn upon its historical roots frequently in recent years, going back to classic old designs and remastering them (the American Silver Eagle and Liberty First Spouse gold coins come to mind, though 2016’s trio of special centennial gold coins are most immediate). In small doses this is good fan service, allowing today’s Mint artists the rare opportunity to reimagine these themes on modern United States coinage. But the biennial American Liberty gold coin series is intended as a showcase for contemporary representations of the diverse people and cultures of our country, and as such presents artists the chance to render designs and portraits in gold and silver never before seen on American money.
Speaking of silver, the United States Mint is authorized to strike silver medals of the same year’s design as the high relief gold coin. Last year’s single silver medal offering for the program was a surprise hit, selling out within minutes and commanding a large premium in the secondary market. This year, as shown at the Mint’s booth at the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo booth March 30 through April 2, we are being treated to three silver medals struck at three different mints and in three different finishes (Brilliant, Proof, and Reverse Proof).
Having attended the show, we can report that the gold coin looks magnificent and the three finishes on the silver medals, scheduled for release later in the year, are equally elegant. We expect the medals will sell very well, indeed.
CoinWeek will keep you posted when a release date for the medals is announced.
When the Mint revealed the winning design on January 12, reaction to its depiction of Lady Liberty among both the mainstream and the coin collecting community was mixed. Some might suggest that this Liberty is meant exclusively for African-Americans, or that it puts “political correctness” or “identity politics” above fundamental national values. But that perspective misses the broader point – that Liberty is an expression of national ideals, and that national ideals are not limited to one aesthetic or another, nor to one race or another.
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.
Previous Coverage on CoinWeek
American Liberty High Relief Silver Medals Currently Available on eBay