By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
On March 27, 2019, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA13) introduced a bill to authorize the Treasury Department to strike a new multi-year quarter series of changing reverses honoring women’s history and the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed a woman’s right to vote in 1920. The new program would begin after the last coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters series, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site quarter representing Alabama, is released in 2021.
An earlier version (H.R. 5308) of the bill was previously introduced by Representative Lee on March 15, 2018 in the 115th Congress.
The bill (H.R. 1923), entitled the Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act, would mandate the production of a maximum of five quarters per year, with each one representing a state, territory, or the District of Columbia. The first quarter would feature a culturally and historically important woman from the state of Alabama.
Proof and Uncirculated coins are allowed, as are 90% silver versions. Silver bullion products, like the popular series of America the Beautiful 5oz silver coins, are also authorized.
The first clause in the bill regarding the quarters’ designs gives the Secretary of the Treasury some flexibility when it comes to the placement of inscriptions on the coin. The quarter must currently feature LIBERTY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and the denomination on the obverse and E PLURIBUS UNUM on the reverse, but the Women’s’ History Quarters bill allows for these legends and mottos to be flip-flopped should a design require it. The positioning of the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the obverse cannot be altered.
Otherwise, the design of each quarter must be “emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of a prominent woman who was a resident of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory” and also include the name of both the woman and the state, district or territory that the coin represents. Designs will be selected by the Treasury Secretary after consultation with the governor or chief executive of the territory or state, the engravers at the United States Mint, and groups and organizations that work for the inclusion of women and the improvement of women’s lives. Final design candidates will be reviewed by both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).
The first five women to be honored must be chosen by December 31, 2020, with the selection process beginning by April 1 of that year. “Head and shoulders” bust portraits are prohibited, as are any such designs that might make the coin look like it is “two-headed”. Depictions of living individuals are likewise proscribed.
After the Mint produces the last coin of this new series, the design of the obverse of the quarter will revert to the one used before the 50 State Quarters Program began in 1999. The design of the reverse will feature a portrayal of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, as featured in the memorable 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze.
The widget below will update as the bill progresses through the House and Senate on its way to possible enactment.
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