By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic of all American landmarks, having been given to the United States from France by way of famed sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Built in 1886, the Statue of Liberty welcomed millions of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island during the late 19th century and well into the 20th century, and it remains a beacon of light, hope, and freedom for people from all around the world. The powerful symbolism of the Statue of Liberty has inspired the creation of many coins bearing the likeness of this most beloved lady, who raises her torch 305 feet above the waters of New York Harbor.
Here, then, are six popular United States coins that honor the Statue of Liberty:
Statue of Liberty Centennial Commemorative Half Dollar (1986)
This was the lowest denomination of a trilogy of 1986 commemorative coins struck by the United States to honor the Statue of Liberty and help raise funds for the aging landmark’s centennial restoration. This copper-nickel clad half dollar shows a soaring obverse visage of the Statue of Liberty gazing toward the sunrise as imagined by Edgar Steever. Depicted on the reverse by Sherl Joseph Winter is a multi-generational immigrant family pointing to Manhattan across the waters of New York Harbor.
Statue of Liberty Commemorative Dollar (1986)
Physically the largest of the three 1986 commemorative coins, this 90% silver dollar designed by future United States Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti bears a face-on view of the Statue of Liberty on the obverse. A reverse closeup of the statue’s torch alight illuminates the words “GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLED MASSES YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE.”
Statue of Liberty Commemorative $5 Gold (1986)
The highest denomination of the three Statue of Liberty Centennial coins is this gold half eagle by Elizabeth Jones, who was the Mint’s chief engraver at the time. On the reverse of the coin is an upshot toward the Statue of Liberty’s pensive face, her crown of rays protruding well beyond the confines of the coin’s circular canvas. The reverse shows an eagle in flight, its talons anticipating a touchdown. This coin, along with the other Statue of Liberty commemoratives issued by the United States Mint in 1986, drummed up surcharges amounting to $78 million, all of it going to help fund the Statue of Liberty’s monumental restoration project that was completed in the same year.
United States American Platinum Eagles (1997-Present)
The third distinct entry into the ever-popular American Eagle line of bullion coins by the U.S. Mint emerged in 1997 with the Platinum Eagle, available in tenth-ounce, quarter-ounce, half-ounce, and one-ounce sizes. The long-running common obverse on these coins was designed by John Mercanti and shows a view of the Statue of Liberty from her shoulders up to just above her crown, leaving the rays emanating from her head and her familiar torch to rise in one’s imagination above the top of the rim.
New York 50 States Quarter (2001)
The 50 State Quarters series that ran from 1999 through 2008 features renowned symbols and landmarks from each of the 50 states honored during the program. When it was New York’s turn for an appearance on the quarter paying homage to the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty was chosen as the coin’s featured star. The reverse design was created by Alfred Maletsky.
Presidential $1 Coin (2007-2016)
The Presidential Dollar series that ran from 2007 through 2016 honors each of the former United States presidents who had been deceased for at least two years prior to the issuance of their coin. While the obverses of these coins served as a numismatic hall of presidents, the reverse of these coins shares a common design by Don Everhart featuring a dramatic view of Lady Liberty looking up toward her face and torch from the view of a spectator near the base of the statue.
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