US Mint Announces Centennial Gold Coins for 2016

by Darrin Lee Unser on November 12, 2015 · 38 comments

2016 Centennial 24k Gold Coin Mock-Ups

U.S. Mint mock-up images of 2016 Centennial 24k Gold Coins

Centennial editions of the Winged Liberty dime, the Standing Liberty quarter, and the Walking Liberty half-dollar will launch in 2016, the United States Mint announced on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

This news was expected. The U.S. Mint previously discussed plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the three designs and in June revealed mock-up images for possible gold versions. The 1916-dated coins were in .900 fine silver.

Next year’s centennial coins will bear the original designs, but instead have a composition of .9999 fine 24-karat gold. They will feature dimensions meant to approximate their 1916 counterparts. As such, the dime will contain one-tenth troy ounce of gold, the quarter will contain one-quarter troy ounce of gold, and the half-dollar will contain one-half troy ounce of gold.

In addition to the standard inscriptions on the original issues, the centennial gold coins will also have "AU," "24K," and "1/10 OZ," "1/4 OZ", or "1/2 OZ." The U.S. Mint has not stated which of its facilities will make them. In recent years, the U.S. Mint at West Point has produced all gold coins. The agency has also not said what finish or finishes the coins will have.

The Winged Liberty dime, designed by Adolph A. Weinman, features a likeness of Liberty facing left while wearing a winged cap. Many know it as the Mercury dime because of its similarity to the Roman god Mercury. The coin’s reverse (tails side) offers a Roman fasces and an olive branch, representing America’s military readiness and its desire for peace.

The Standing Liberty quarter, designed by Hermon A. MacNeil, shows Liberty bearing a shield and an olive branch as she steps through an opening in a wall bearing 13 stars. The reverse depicts and eagle in flight along with 13 stars.

On the half-dollar is Weinman’s iconic Walking Liberty design, which portrays her striding toward the sunrise. Liberty is carrying branches of laurel and oak in her arms while wearing a Phrygian cap with an America Flag flying behind her. The reverse shows an eagle rising from its mountaintop perch.

Mintages, release dates and prices for the centennial editions will be available next year, the U.S. Mint said.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

joera November 12, 2015 at 2:14 am

It would be nice if they also released a silver set of some kind. With a low mintage would be great. That would be good for the collectors that only buy silver because of the lower prices. I might be able to pull off the Dime and maybe the Quarter but with the premium they add on the non-buillion coins I might be out from this one. Oh well, like my wife says, “You can’t buy everything you want.” lol

Richard November 12, 2015 at 6:15 am

I agree Joera and even wrote the Mint a year ago suggesting these in high relief proof silver, possibly with double dates. Got back a non-committal answer, but apparently people there were thinking of something along the same lines. In looking at it further there seems to be some law that blocks the Mint from issuing silver coins without Congressional approval, if so I guess they didn’t want to go that route.

Ed November 12, 2015 at 7:03 am

Regarding including the inscription of “AU” on these gold coins, AU is the chemical symbol for gold, because Aurum is the Latin name for gold. However to some people, “AU” may also mean Almost Uncirculated.

Tinto November 12, 2015 at 10:22 am

” Mintages, release dates and prices for the centennial editions will be available next year, the U.S. Mint said.”

The Mint is probably “working” with the big buyers on how they can “participate” in this special. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Mint comes out with an absurd HH limit (like the 50 per HH on the HR) as part of that “participation”.

And BTW no mention by the Mint about HH limits, I guess that is no longer important to them … so long as the big buyers approve, or the Mint just plugs in what the big buyers want

Boz November 12, 2015 at 10:59 am

Kinda sad they have to mar the design with the added info. Like that is really necessary or will stop those wanting to knock them off from doing so?

jim November 12, 2015 at 11:59 am

I think what it is is a certification/guarantee by the US Mint of what the content of the coin actually is. Important in dealing with bullion which these could be thought as.

Dimensions meant to approximate their 1916 counterparts – been a long time since I’ve seen a 1/10th ounce gold coin but I wonder about the thickness of the centennial coin compared to a silver dime from 1916.

Still, I’m glad they’re keeping the designs as close as possible to the originals and I can’t imagine a centennial coin set not containing the same amount of silver as the originals.

Joe November 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

I would imagine these three gold coins would be the same size as the proof gold American Eagle 1/10 OZ, 1/4 OZ, & 1/2 OZ, coins. But in 24K, not 22K, like the gold Amercian Eagle.

jim November 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Probably a bit smaller since 22K is an alloy where 24K is pure, so more gold.

RonnieBGood November 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Unfortunately, the bill that was signed into law only had 24k Gold coins listed to be minted for the 100th anniversary.

joera November 12, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Jim,
I compared the thickness of the 1/10 oz. gold uncirculated Eagle with the silver Winged Liberty Dime, or as some people know it as “Mercury Dime,” and the 1/10 gold Eagle is smaller in diameter and thickness. The diameter is not that much different but the thickness is very noticeable. Or it is to me anyway. To the point that I was surprised how small the 1/10 oz. uncirculated gold Eagle was. But that is just my opinion. And the use of 24K might make a difference in the dimensions. But I really don’t know if 24K & 22K will make a difference.

And I agree with you on a centennial coin set with silver. After al it is to commemorate three original silver coins.

Ed November 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

In regards to the size of the next year’s 24k Gold Walking Liberty Half Dollar, its weight will be ½ troy oz. By comparison, U.S. Mint 90% Silver Half Dollars were made to standard specifications of weight 12.5 grams, 30.60 mm diameter and 2.15 mm thickness. Last year’s 2014 JFK 24k Gold Half Dollar was designed to be the same size as the 1964 JFK 90% Silver Half Dollar. Since 24k Gold is denser than 90% Silver by 86.7%, that means the 2014 JFK 24k Gold Half Dollar had to be 86.7% heavier than the 1964 JFK 90% Silver Half Dollar. The 2014 JFK 24k Gold Half Dollar specifications had weight of 0.75 troy oz. (i.e., 23.3 grams), 30.61 mm diameter and 1.64 mm thickness. Since 24k Gold is denser than 90% Silver by 86.7%, that also means for the same size dime, quarter and half dollar to be minted in pure gold for 2016, they will be 86.7% smaller in size than their original 1916 designs in 90% silver.

Joe November 12, 2015 at 10:00 pm

A+ Ed.

TheCurseOfTheRodainTrilogy November 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm

50K.mintage and 1st come, 1st serve is what all 3 of these will be and they will all be released at one time on the same day. This will partially atone for the absolute disasters of all Kennedy coins last 2 years (gold Kennedy, reverse proof, gold jackie, silver, clad…all worthless due to their insanely high mintage limits)

Colec November 12, 2015 at 11:17 pm

This will be a classic set worth having. I’m looking forward to this.

Seth Riesling November 12, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Ed –

I am a numismatist, not a mathematician per se, but if your calculations are correct then we will need a microscope to see the U.S. Mint’s 2016 24-karat (99.99% fine) Winged Liberty Head gold dime! Of course there are some private Mints (B.H. Mayer in Germany) & some government Mints (Perth Mint Australia & Royal Canadian Mint) that are striking legal tender coins composed of 0.5 grams of 24-karat gold ! These issues are known among collectors as “button coins.” Maybe the U.S. Mint is planning on selling these 2016 24-karat gold “Mercury Dimes” with a 10x loupe as a set! At least the U.S. Mint hasn’t produced any hideous, atrocities such as colorized coins – YET. But that is another horror story for another day IMHO ! Happy collecting everyone.

– NumisDudeTX

Ed November 13, 2015 at 1:32 am

The 90% Silver Winged Liberty Dime has a diameter of 17.9 mm, thickness of 1.35 mm and weight of 2.50 grams. For comparison, the 1/10 troy oz. 22k American Gold Eagle has a diameter of 16.5 mm, thickness of 1.19 mm and weight of 3.393 grams. Since 24k gold is 9.09% denser than 22k gold, a pure gold dime should be 9.09% smaller than the 1/10 troy oz. 22k American Gold Eagle by either having a smaller diameter and/or being thinner.

Ed November 13, 2015 at 2:39 am

For comparisons as to what to expect for the size of next year’s 1/10 troy oz. pure gold 2016 U.S. Mint Winged Liberty Centennial Dime, the Royal Canadian Mint makes a 1/10 troy oz. Canadian Maple Leaf Pure Gold Coin having diameter of 16 mm, thickness of 1.22 mm and weight of 3.11 grams. The Austrian Mint makes a 1/10 troy oz. Vienna Philharmonic Pure Gold Coin having diameter of 16 mm and weight of 3.11 grams. The Perth Mint makes a 1/10 troy oz. Australian Kangaroo Pure Gold Coin having diameter of 16.1 mm, thickness of 1.3 mm and weight of 3.11 grams. The Royal Mint makes a 1/10 troy oz. Britannia Pure Gold Coin having diameter of 16.5 mm and weight of 3.13 grams. These 1/10 troy oz. pure gold coins are practically identical in size.

RonnieBGood November 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

Here are excerpts of a prior article by CoinNews:
On Wednesday, June 17, 2015 the United States Mint unveiled mock-up images of 24-karat gold coins to commemorate the centennial designs of the 1916 Mercury dime, 1916 Standing Liberty quarter, and 1916 Walking Liberty half-dollar.
The 1916-dated coins have a 90% silver composition. In 2016, the Mint is planning on issuing versions bearing the same 100-year old designs but struck to weights of 1/10 oz. gold for the dime, 1/4 oz. gold for the quarter, and 1/2 oz. gold for the half-dollar. Another goal of the Mint is to match each gold coin to the size and diameter of their companion silver coin from 1916.
The U.S. Mint on Wednesday presented mock-ups of the centennial gold coins to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). A major area of discussion in an earlier CCAC meeting was the how’s and where’s of denoting an anniversary coin’s fineness and weight without crowding everything. Coins of yesteryear didn’t need such inscriptions, making for fuller designs and less clutter. The how’s and where’s are now answered, based on examining the mock-ups. They have inscriptions of:
◾AU 24K 1/10 OZ. on the 2016 Mercury dime,
◾AU 24K 1/4 OZ. on the 2016 Standing Liberty quarter, and
◾AU 24K 1/2 OZ. on the 2016 Walking Liberty half-dollar.
There was also some mention of excluding the period after each ‘OZ’ to improve the overall balance. For those without an electrical or chemistry background, ‘Au’ is the elemental symbol for gold. The abbreviated method seems better suited to the limited space available, especially on the dime.
It sounds like the 100th anniversary products will be restricted to 24-karat gold. Silver issues would require a change in the law. Some CCAC members voiced support for platinum versions, but that suggestion doesn’t seem to be sticking. And with a strong emphasis on replicating the original 1916 designs as intended by sculptors Adolph A. Weinman and Hermon A. MacNeil, it appears that the U.S. Mint is leaning heavily toward business strikes only, meaning no proof or uncirculated versions.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

RonnieBGood November 13, 2015 at 9:23 am

With emphasis on the following:
Another goal of the Mint is to match each gold coin to the size and diameter of their companion silver coin from 1916. AND:
The U.S. Mint is leaning heavily toward business strikes only, meaning no proof or uncirculated versions.

Regardless, these are on my “Must Have” collecting list for 2016!!!
Ronnie

RonnieBGood November 13, 2015 at 9:28 am

My biggest question would be that if these will only be available in “Business Strikes” will they then Only be available from Dealers like the current Business Strike Silver Eagles are sold?

Hope Not!

Tinto November 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

@RonnieBGood

I think the Mint is gonna try to satisfy the big dealers and big buyers somehow … just like the HR Liberty gold with their HH limit of 50. and make it look like they’re trying to serve the collecting folks …. The Mint is probably getting or gotten the big dealers’ advice … wouldn’t surprise me one bit …

Ed November 13, 2015 at 10:57 am

Correction to my previous comment: Since 24k Gold is denser than 90% Silver by 86.7%, that means for the sizes of the dime, quarter and half dollar to be minted in pure gold for 2016, they will have to be 86.7% of their 1916 original designs in 90% silver. In other words, they would be 13.3% smaller by either reduced diameter or thickness or some combination of both in order to meet their required pure gold weights of 1/10 troy oz. ¼ troy oz. and ½ troy oz. respectively.

jim November 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

As another comparison, specifications for the only other 24K 1/10 oz gold coin (i.e. 2008 gold buffalo $5) that has been minted are .1 troy oz, 1.19 mm thick, 16.5 mm diameter. Smaller in both dimensions than the dime. Matching size and diameter of the 1916 silver dime with 24K gold and keeping the amount of gold to .1 oz is an impossibility. I’m betting the mint will hold to the .1 oz limitation and sacrifice dimensions. Expect the same for the 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz coins.

As to silver sets, I’m not up on all the legislation but I think the mint has some latitude with coins it already makes and will produce silver sets for the masses who can’t afford the gold coins or are aced out by the dealers, etc. at sale time. I think the gold coins will look beautiful even at business strike but will be just as happy getting a proof silver set.

Ed November 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm

I agree with Jim that the sizes of the 2016 pure gold dime, quarter and half dollar would have to be similar to the 2008-W Buffalo Gold fractional sizes. The ½ troy oz. 2008-W Buffalo Gold had a diameter of 27 mm & thickness of 2.24 mm. The ¼ troy oz. 2008-W Buffalo Gold had a diameter of 22 mm & thickness of 1.83 mm. The 1/10 troy oz. 2008-W Buffalo Gold had a diameter of 16.5 mm & thickness of 1.19 mm. In order to make a pure gold Walking Liberty Half Dollar with same diameter of 30.60 mm as the 1916 silver version, then it would be the same size as last year’s 2014-W JFK 24k Gold Half Dollar that weighed 0.75 troy oz.

Munzen November 13, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Ed – many thanks for taking the time to analyze so many possible options. FWIW I _am_ a mathematician as well as a collector so I really appreciate your thoroughness.

I guess if I had my druthers I’d prefer if the Mint aimed to keep the coins’ diameters as close to the originals as practical. They’ll generally be packaged, slabbed, etc.; even if the thickness is reduced below 1 mm it would seem (at least semi-naïvely) to not be detrimental to their integrity.

Seth Riesling November 13, 2015 at 9:59 pm

RonnieBGood –

In reference to your informative comments about the U.S. Mint’s preliminary plans for these 2016 gold versions of the original 1916 silver coins & CoinNews previous & current articles on the subject, i have the same concern as you do about the Mint’s use of the term “business strikes.” As a numismatic definition this designation has typically only been used to describe coins made for circulation or in very recent years for “circulating-quality” coins sold by the Mint in rolls, bags & boxes at a premium over face value as part of their Numismatic Program versus their Bullion Coin Program. Yet, it was a shock to me that the term “Business Strike” was printed on the Mint’s Certificate of Authenticity for the 2015-W $100 American Liberty High Relief 1-ounce .9999 fine gold coin sold at a hefty $400 premium over spot gold content. This coin was a special limited-edition high relief coin struck in the manner of an Uncirculated coin & is NOT a “business strike” in any way. I think someone at the Mint is confusing the terms “Uncirculated,” “Proof,” & “business strike.” Hopefully the Mint’s next press release on these 2016 gold centennial coins will be more informative about this matter.
Enjoy this great numismatic hobby/industry/science everyone!

– NumisDudeTX

Ed November 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm

In regards to the size of the 2016 U.S. Mint pure gold half dollar, quarter and dime, their weights have been specified as 1/10 troy oz. for the gold Dime, ¼ troy oz. for the gold Quarter and ½ troy oz. for the gold Half Dollar. Their diameters are supposed to be the same as their 1916 specifications originally minted in 90% silver. However since pure gold is 86.6% denser than 90% silver, the pure gold coins will be thinner than their silver coin counterparts. For reference, the 90% silver half dollar had a diameter of 30.6 mm and thickness of 2.15 mm. The 90% silver quarter dollar had a diameter of 24.3 mm and thickness of 1.75 mm. The 90% silver dime had a diameter of 17.9 mm and thickness of 1.35 mm. However, because the density of gold is 19.3 g/cc , the pure gold half dollar with a diameter of 30.6 mm would have a thickness of 1.1 mm. If the pure gold quarter dollar has a diameter of 24.3 mm, its thickness would be 0.87 mm. If the pure gold dime has a diameter of 17.9 mm, its thickness would be 0.64 mm. In other words, the pure gold coins would be approximately half as thick as their 90% silver counterparts.

RonnieBGood November 19, 2015 at 8:18 pm

Ed & Jim,
I believe that is exactly what we will get. Gold coins that will be the same diameter as their respective 1916 (silver) coins but will be thinner as required to accommodate.

joera November 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm

TO ALL FELLOW COIN COLLECTORS,
I really DO NOT think the US MINT has a special deal or anything else to do with the “Big Dealers” in getting more than the House Hold limits or anything else that gives the “Big Dealers” an advantage. The Dealers pay people to order for them and then buy the sets for a higher price. I know this because I had an email sent to me by Modern Coin Mart to do just that. I asked “What about a set for me?” I got no answer. I use to collect HOT WHEELS and let me tell you that they have the exact same problems that we have with our coin collecting hobby. The HOT WHEELS site also crashes and slows down to a crawl. And just like our coins showing up on eBay for “Presale” the HOT WHEELS are also listed as “Presale” days before the sale even goes on. That is just my opinion and I have no proof of it just like no one else has no proof that the Mint has a “deal” with the “Big Dealers.” It kind of reminds me of the people who really believe that the U.S. never really landed on the moon. But again that is just my thought on that issue as it is only my thought on the issues in collecting coins, HOT WHEELS or anything else where there is money to be made.
Now I would like to hear what other people really think about this issue of the U.S. MINT having deals with the “BIG DEALERS.”

Richard February 14, 2016 at 1:51 pm

I’m a newcomer to the numismatic scene and have started buying only coins that I like. When I find a specific coin I like, I’ll buy it, even if it means pulling it out of a set, if I don’t like the rest I won’t buy the rest. One of my recent purchases that I am completely in love with is my March of Dimes 2015 P Silver Rev-proof PF70 dime. I’m happy to hear that there will be a minting of a 100th anniversary Mercury dime, seeing as how that is one of the coins that got me interested in this great hobbie that is coin collecting.

Dufflehead February 25, 2016 at 3:17 am

Having collected these coins in my youth they are the most beautiful minted coins the U.S. has ever produced. I don’t like to see them cast in gold, would rather see them in silver and of their original dimensions and make it a 3-coin set.

Chris Moore March 9, 2016 at 4:45 am

I think the coins will remain the same size…at least very close to the original size. However, the composition will be different. The mint was authorized to change coin composition. I beleive it was approved by our President B.H.O. A few things I ask…first limit the production. Second, give us normal people a shot at making purchases…not to big sellers. Lastly, keep the original design add the weight or composition letters on the reeded edge…perhaps use some type of special minting like Scottsdale used on their limited one oz bars. They had a reeded edge type of design on one side (obverse) when looking straight on it looked like an oval but if angled the date would appear more visible.
-CM

Dwight March 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm

As it turns out for the specifications of the 2016-W Gold Winged Liberty Dime to be released on Thursday April 21, 2016 @ 12:00 PM EDT. its diameter is 16.5 mm, its thickness is 1.19 mm and its weight is 1/10 troy oz. By comparison the 1916 Mercury Dime had a diameter of 17.9 mm, thickness of 1.35 mm and its had a weight of 2.5 grams of 90% silver.

jim March 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

As predicted above the dimensions match those of the 2008 $5 gold buffalo (also 1/10 oz 24k gold). I still wish they’d come out with a silver version same as the original 1916 mercury dime only with the 2016 date. Or with a set of gold and silver coins so that people can compare the two.

Springer April 1, 2016 at 3:39 pm

So, about three weeks before issue date, when does anyone think the Mint will release more information on the Gold Winged Liberty Dime? Would be nice since the release date is so close now.

Barry April 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

The U.S. Mint going to sell the 1/10 oz Mercury Liberty Gold Dime for $205.00 Dollars, on April 21, 2016

Joseph Brancoccio May 13, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Will any of the gold coins be proofs

Bilelle July 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm

To Chris Moore,
Now that the mint issued the 2016 Proof Mercury Dime in the manor they did how do you feel snout the minitower listening to the little collectors?
Bilelle

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