Much to the pleasure of many coin collectors, an image of Lady Liberty could once again grace U.S. dimes, quarters and half dollars, but only if newly introduced legislation becomes law.
So as not to eliminate former Presidents on coinage and seal better support for the bill, numbered H.R. 2535, a threshold is outlined stating Liberty-themed designs would appear on at least 40% of new circulating commemorative coins but not more than 50%. Remaining dimes, quarters and half dollars would continue to feature the traditional Presidential portraits and designs.
New Liberty-Themed Obverse Designs and New Reverse Designs
This bill, entitled the American Liberty Coinage and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013, was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) on June 27, 2013. Under the terms of the Act, obverse or head side designs emblematic and allegoric of the concept of ‘American Liberty’ would appear on coins as soon as 2015. They would also sport new reverses that:
- depict an American bald eagle;
- depict a fasces emblematic of civil governance;
- depict the torch of knowledge;
- are emblematic and allegoric of ‘The Union’; or
- depicts one or more of the American values and attributes of freedom, independence, peace, strength, equality, democracy and justice
Each would bear the traditional obverse and reverse inscriptions, including ‘LIBERTY’, ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’, the year of minting, ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’, ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’ and the face value.
As is standard with modern American coinage, all designs would be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts.
Alternating Issuance of Liberty Dimes and Liberty Quarters
Liberty dimes and Liberty quarters would be issued by the United States Mint in alternating years, with the dime leading the change beginning in 2015.
Liberty half dollars would not alternate. 50-cent pieces would get struck annually with the designs changed every 10 years. For them, the bill includes specific language requiring the consideration of the 1977 Liberty mini dollar design that was prepared by former United States Chief Sculptor and Engraver Frank Gasparro. Gasparro created a Liberty Cap design for the 1979 dollar, but it was replaced by the portrait of Susan B. Anthony.
Versions for Coin Collectors
Bags and rolls of the dimes and quarters at face value plus issuance costs would be made available for numismatic purposes. Other numismatic versions would also be allowed, including proof and uncirculated Liberty coins, as well as some struck from 99.9% fine silver.
H.R. 2535 Requirements and Status
H.R. 2535 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to complete a study on the effects of Liberty coins on the Federal budget deficit over a ten-year period. This study would need to be reported to Congress within 90 days after the Act became law. The bill stipulates that new Liberty coins would only get struck if the study determines a reduction in the deficit of at least $100 million, or if the Secretary of the Treasury failed to submit the study to Congress within the 90-day window.
Along with making money from sales of collectible versions of coins, the government could garner revenue in increased seigniorage if Americans pulled Liberty coins from circulation and saved them in large quantities like they famously did with 50 State Quarters.
The American Liberty Coinage and Deficit Reduction Act started with some bipartisan support. Cosponsoring the bill are Rep David Loebsack (D-IA), Rep Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Rep Ted Yoho (R-FL).
H.R. 2535 has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. For the bill to become law, it must pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by the President of the United States.