US Mint 2016 24K Gold Coins to Celebrate 1916 Designs

by Mike Unser on February 6, 2015 · 29 comments

1916 silver coin designs

Old, iconic designs may appear on gold coins next year

Three iconic silver coins could return next year in 24-karat gold under a plan the United States Mint is considering and presented last week to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).

Possible products include 2016-dated gold coins to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of the 1916 Walking Liberty half-dollar, the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter, and the 1916 Mercury dime.

"The United States Mint is considering offering each of these coin designs in .9999 24-karat gold," said April Stafford of the United States Mint. "On these potential products, the original 1916 designs would be featured on each coin as the artist originally intended."

If pursued, the exact size and weight of each coin would be determined through research and development, according to Stafford, and the potential finishes "might be proof, reverse proof, enhanced proof or uncirculated."

"I like this program," said CCAC member Heidi Wastweet. "We talk a lot on this committee about doing modern designs and looking ahead to the future, but we still do want to honor our heritage… I think this is a very exciting project and I’m looking forward to seeing it."

2016 Anniversary Gold Coins in Denominations of 50c, 25c and 10c

Anniversary coinage would have the same denominations as their companion 1916 designs, as proposed.

"So we have a gold dime," quizzed CCAC Chairman Gary Marks. "I’m loving it," Marks exclaimed when Mint officials confirmed that was indeed the intent.

Breaking out the gold coin denominations, there could be:

  • 2016 Walking Liberty Gold Half-Dollars,
  • 2016 Standing Liberty Gold Quarters, and
  • 2016 Mercury Gold Dimes.

A goal would be to match each gold coin to the size and diameter of their companion 1916 silver coin and use round fractional gold weights, Mint officials said.

"I think it would be a shame to try and put them on some other different size," Marks said. "It’s just not what they were designed for."

"Please stay to the original planchet diameter," CCAC member Mike Moran reaffirmed. "Please stay true to the designs," he added.

CCAC members sounded excited overall about these concepts.

Bare-Breasted Standing Liberty Design

Crafted by Hermon A. MacNeil, the original 1916 quarter design shows a bare-breasted Liberty which proved scandalous for some influential individuals of the time. The design underwent several changes and beginning in 1917 there were new quarters with Liberty wearing a chain mail vest to provide cover.

Initial thinking for the possible 2016 Standing Liberty gold quarter is duplicating MacNeil’s original design with Liberty’s breast exposed. Recognizing the possibility of renewed controversy, Mint officials asked for comments.

"I’d like to think we’ve come a little bit of distance since 1916 and we can handle what was intended for this coin," remarked CCAC Chair Gary Marks.

Adding to the discussion, the U.S. Mint’s April Stafford said that she would be remiss in not sharing comments from two members in a Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) meeting that was held just a week earlier. They described some of the proposed Liberty designs for 2015 High Relief Gold Coin as offensive, apparently too sexually portrayed for their liking.

"I find it amazing that in 2015 somebody is complaining about something that’s almost 100 years old," remarked CCAC member Mary Lannin. "That just blows me away."

CCAC members agreed that there shouldn’t be major issues in using the original Standing Liberty design, and urged the Mint in that direction.

Dates, Inscriptions and Privy Mark

Early U.S. Mint thoughts are to have dual-dated inscriptions on each gold coin, as in 1916 – 2016.

"That’ll be a little tough to fit that in particularly on the Mercury dime," noted Mike Moran.

Most members gave their support for just using 2016.

Moran asked Mint officials if they planned on saddling the coins with the inscription of .9999 fine gold.

"You’re going to ruin ’em, " protested Moran when the Mint confirmed that intention.

Mint officials seemed firm on the need for the inscription, citing potential regulation requirements and possible consumer protection implications.

"Maybe you can find someplace to put it that’s unobtrusive, I hope you can because I feel like you’re going to do this," lamented Moran who added: "hide it somewhere, don’t put it out there somewhere where it’s bold."

CCAC member Michael Bugeja introduced the idea of using a privy mark to relay the coin’s fineness.

Silver and Platinum Versions

Overall, CCAC members relayed strong approval for the coins. More excitement was generated when Mike Moran voiced an idea to make them in silver as well.

That thought looks to be legally quenched, however. The Treasury Secretary has broad authority to strike gold and platinum coins, but needs Congressional approval in making new silver coins.

Some members did suggest looking into platinum options.

Several said that the gold coins should be struck only in the same finish as the silver coins.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Victor DeCurtis February 6, 2015 at 7:41 am

Sign me up!!! Weight may be a concern, gold vs silver. However the slight variation in weight vs making them the same weight but thinner, defeats the purpose of reproducing what the original was. As far as finishes is concerned, why not just proof and unc. and leave it at that. Don’t play with icons, making these coins out of reach to many collectors. Oh, before I forget, a strict limit of one of each, offered, in both finishes. Maybe even three coin sets of Proof or Unc. in a special case.

Boz February 6, 2015 at 7:42 am


Jeremy J. Cobb February 6, 2015 at 8:33 am

Always been a fan of the bare-breasted variety! These are all such beautiful coins.

Mr Griffin February 6, 2015 at 9:43 am

Everything that was proposed sounds like an excellent idea! My only hope and wish is to be able to afford them when they are released. Being on a teachers salary has kept me from being able to buy gold coins. These three designs are probably my favorites. The only one missing, for me, is the Morgan Dollar. To see that one in pure gold would be awesome!

Jeraldd February 6, 2015 at 10:06 am

A gold dime should be somewhat affordable. A regular clad dime weighs 2.268 g. The nearest gold coin in weight is the one-tenth ounce Gold Eagle at 3.393 grams and it’s about $180 (proof).

Ilovesilver February 6, 2015 at 10:37 am

I wish they can make a pound or 5oz of gold coin for investor, also they can make LUNAR year silver coin for Far-East, One side is Walking Liberty ( meaning spreading American Spirit ), these other side is that year Symbol,-like 2016 is Year of Monkey etc..

I.L. McDougal February 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Buying these. Completely buying these. What a great suprise.

Munzen February 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Wow! VERY tempting, if finances permit.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful to see these designs re-created in silver as well, looking exactly like their ancestors did when new? And would they strike up well enough in cupronickel for either unc. or (gasp!) circulation issues, if only for a year?

I really hope the Commission majority ignores the bluenoses and goes with MacNeil’s original design. Geez, just about anything Miley Cyrus does is a &#$! of a lot more off-putting but I don’t see too many people actively trying to stuff her in a burqa. To paraphrase the old saying: if someone’s offended by looking at the coin’s design, they don’t have to buy it.

Bilbo February 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

If the mint has latitude in both gold and platinum – why not mint these in both metals?

I think the argument against the exposed breast is a little dumb. The 1916 coin was a circulation coin – these are collector only coins and if they want to mint them like the originals – there is no reason those that are offended need to purchase any.

Richard February 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I’ll be darned. Last year I suggested reminting them in silver, possibly as high relief proofs, perhaps with double dates. Got a noncommittal response from the mint. Guess someone else had the same idea.

Jack February 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Very exciting!!!!!

Curt February 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Replacing beautiful Lady Liberty with old dead presidents…THAT’S offensive.

Mike February 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I’m up for this production. Trying to match weight while maintaining original diameters can not be done, unless you make it hyper thin, complete originality is impossible, not to mention Au as to Ag. So make the dime thicker to accommodate a quarter ounce then stamp the .9999 Au on its edge, and likewise for the other denominations. Platinum was also mention, but why not use this anniversary to usher in, finally, Palladium. Gold historically has been associated with a 50 year anniversary so try something different.

TheCurseoftheRodain February 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Praise God I have been believing for the Mint to make these coins, how fabulous! These coins will be awesome. I also want them to make coinaget from the 100s too (think gold Liberty in an Indian headdress, or seated Liberty in gold, or a 3 cent Star of David in gold, etc.). Most excited about standing Liberty, my favprice design on any coin. Next the Mint needs to make an annual all silver proof set (meaning silver pennies and nickels and press dollars and sacagawea) and the same in gold.

TheCurseoftheRodain February 6, 2015 at 6:37 pm

They ought to be limtied to 50,000 each, like a true collectible, not mass produced to becombecome as common as sand…see values of gold Kennedys for your recent proof. See values of First Spouse line for proof of what happens on the 1 per household nonsense (that ridiculous restriction singlehandedly destroyed the 2nd are market and thereby the entire line). 50,000 mintage of each of the 3 coins, 5 to 10 per household = win for collectors.

US Mint sales since 2007 are proof of what happens the Mint bends to the will of the whiny and the complainy, the whiners and complainers are responsible for destroying US Mint sales. Again, 50,000 and 5 to 10 per household = perfect formula for the collector to win (because after all, no one hopes their coin values stay the same or go down, no, as with any investment, they buy them so that they increase in value, and mint to demand coins never increase, again see the values of the Gold Kennedys and the values of the silver coins that have been mod and the rpgb as well).

RonnieBGood February 6, 2015 at 7:05 pm

These will be a huge hit.

Ilovesilver February 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm

how many premium will add per coin ???
will it be one ounce coin ?

US mint can make gold Circulation coin with $1000 Face value and make it with Mirco-chip or laser printed security number on edge,
I am sick with Fake dollar bill

Joe February 7, 2015 at 2:18 am

Mexico’s silver ‘ onza ‘ libertabs coins are bare-breasted they don’t have a problem with them.

Kenneth L.Luck February 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm

It makes no since to me for all the uproar over the making of the 1916 quarter. The founding fathers loved the many styles of art. Nudity would be a bit much but the way the coin is designed would be great for the heritage of our coinage. Also, let us not jump to conclusions about the silver.

Namvet4 February 9, 2015 at 8:25 am

“A goal would be to match each gold coin to the size and diameter of their companion 1916 silver coin and use round fractional gold weights, Mint officials said.” Do you honestly believe the Mint is capable of producing 24K Gold coins in exact, or close to approxiimate, size and weight and still maintain the integrity of the original design? I do not at this time. Just my 2 cents . . .

Jeff February 10, 2015 at 1:26 am

The Kennedy gold was good from a dimensional standpoint, so the half dollar should be no problem. The dime and quarter are to be 1/10 and 1/4 ounce gold respectively, so they should scale with no significant issues. The mint has been doing their homework.

Vachon February 10, 2015 at 5:57 am

I’m against this idea entirely. I’m not a fan of these off-metal resurrections nor NCLT nor do I like being reminded that the Mint is incapable of putting out generational quality circulation designs any longer (that is, designs that last for at least 25 years) or that Congress refuses to make authorize circulating coins with honest purchasing power. Let’s hearken back to the days when this country could do just that with some overpriced trinkets masquerading as coins instead of rectifying the situation today…

These are the coins of my great-grandparents’ generation (World War era values). The Presidential coins are that of my grandparents’ (distinguishing leaders of democracy as opposed to fascism/communism). Neither my parents’ generation (could’ve been Cold War values – distinguishing democratic values like life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and justice for all as opposed to communist ones) nor my own have gotten to leave “our” mark in our nation’s coin designs (optimism concerning the coming millennium?). It’s a real shame in my opinion…

Gary February 28, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Vachon — That’s a very thought-provoking comment. I’d never thought of our coinage that way before. Thank you for sharing.

Ben April 27, 2015 at 9:12 am

GREAT !!one more set from the mint I will never be able to buy !! I have a 100 dollar coin budget so like the gold Kennedy I will just have to look at them from afar!!

Jay May 20, 2015 at 4:57 am

I just read another article on getting rid of the penny? Well I’m agreeing with that! It’s obsolete and maybe in its place to remember good old Lincoln is to make a gold penny!! Just like the seated liberty you are referring ? Damm why not all the up to date coins still in circulation? The penny, Nickel , dime, quater ? And half dollar but the 1964 JFK! ? That’s my idea

Jack June 30, 2015 at 8:46 am

Looks like I won’t be paying some bills next year, I’m getting these coins no matter what, LOL ! ! !

Mark July 1, 2015 at 5:54 pm

I like these coins as well, but I would also like to see them issued in silver. This would make it more affordable. It would also be nice if they released clad versions of the dime and quarter to general circulation. It would be fun to come across these !

CoinNut September 21, 2015 at 8:25 pm


Jeff Kinner June 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm

To start with. For decades they had the idea of getting rid of the penny, but for one you have taxes and if something is 1.00 and you have 7% tax, thats 1.07! states would have to get rid of lower taxes and you would be paying more for items not to mention the taxes would be rounded up higher to equal the buying amount. 100’s of billions of pennies are made every year. We have trillions if not more of pennies going back to 1959 as wheat cents are saved. Now on to the Mercury dime which i bought a 70 graded one. Even though it says 10 cents on it as face value. Its a bit smaller the the $5 eagle gold. But it was made thicker to be the same weight as the $5 gold and its considered a 1/10 oz. according to the mint. As far as the Walking Liberty it should be the same as the original 1916. It will be about the half oz size of gold and the half close to a oz. It will be hard to make the other two as like the mercury dime, they had to make it thicker to be 1/10 of a oz. As far as making the liberty and half in silver, congress would never pass it as a unc. coin of each could be easy to mistake for the original ones and you would get grading in very high numbers. There are only 3 grading companies that are legit and its Anacs which was with the Ana created by congress and ngc and pcgs. But even then you must look at the coin not the grade as i see 64 and 65 grades which are beat to hell which nicks all over the focal points. They are more like 61’s!Most every other company is either out of business or got busted for grade cheating. ICG got busted on HSN when they were selling silver eagles ms70 1of 500. The problem was the mint never released them yet! I read in coin mags where the owners of NGC and PCGS graded their own coin giving them high or perfect grades. NGC claims to have coins looked at by 3 graders and then the owner before they get a grade. That’s humanly impossible as 10’s of million’s of coins are graded there a year. They produce 40 million silver eagles so far this year and 90% get graded.

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