American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin Unveiled (Updated)

by Mike Unser on January 12, 2017 · 201 comments

Kicking off a yearlong celebration of its 225th anniversary, the United States Mint unveiled the 2017 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin in a ceremony today at the Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C.

2017-W $100 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, Obverse, Edge and Obverse

Images of the obverse, edge and reverse of the 1792-2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin

Highlights of the 225th anniversary coin include an ounce of .9999 fine gold, an increased level of detail, a proof finish, raised edge lettering with stars, and a 1792-2017 duel date.

Then there is the design. Its obverse or heads side depicts Liberty as an African-American woman, facing left, wearing a crown of stars in homage to the bronze Statue of Freedom topping the dome of the U.S. Capitol, representing the traditional hopeful ideas of liberty while offering a hint of the possibilities that the future may hold.

American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, Crown of Stars

The coin’s crown of stars pays homage to the Statue of Freedom

Crown of Stars of Statue of Freedom

The crown of stars on the Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol dome

U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Justin Kunz created the portrait while U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill sculpted it. Their initials, JK and PH, appear on the design along with surrounding inscriptions of LIBERTY, the years 1792 and 2017, and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

2017-W $100 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, Obverse

A closer look at the coin’s obverse or heads side

The reverse or tails side depicts an American eagle in flight with circling inscriptions of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, 100 DOLLARS, and 1OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD. Toward the bottom left is a ‘W’ mintmark, denoting its production at the U.S. Mint facility in West Point, New York.

2017-W $100 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, Reverse

A closer look at the coin’s reverse or tails side

Initials of CTC and MG complete the artwork, representing U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Chris T. Costello and U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.

Adding to its collectible appeal, edges of the high-relief gold coin show raised lettering of 225TH ANNIVERSARY and 13 five-point stars.

2017-W $100 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, Edge

The gold coin’s edge has raised lettering and 13 stars

After reviewing candidates, the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommended both designs in March 2016.

The 24-karat gold coin is scheduled to launch sometime in the spring. Companion silver medals with the same designs should follow by summertime. It extends the high-relief $100 series, with the first issue in 2015 capturing sales of more than 49,000. Two silver medals followed in 2016 and quickly sold out.

Photos of 2015 $100 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin

Here are several CoinNews photos of the 2015 $100 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin. Its sales reached 73.3% of maximum within the first day.


Photos of 2016 American Liberty Silver Medals

CoinNews photos of companion 2016 American Liberty Silver Medals

The April 2, 1792 Act of Congress authorized Bureau of the Mint and the construction of its first building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Update (Jan 12): In a news release, the U.S. Mint announced that the 225th anniversary gold coin will launch on April 6. In addition, the bureau said the coin is:

"The first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms-including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States. These 24-karat gold coins will be issued biennially."

The news release also stated that the gold piece will ship in a custom designed, black wood presentation case along with a 225th anniversary booklet and a Certificate of Authenticity.

Update (Jan 13): The United States Mint published a video showing production stages of the gold coin, as well as some completed examples in their packaging. The Mint’s footage is embedded below.

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CoinCense
Guest
CoinCense

Why did they put an Oriental person on this coin? That does not make sense either!

Dustyroads
Guest
Dustyroads

During the official unveil of the 2017 HR Liberty gold coin, the pictures the Mint provided of the coin excluded the edges. Why would they do that?

Danny Morano
Guest
Danny Morano

NO COMMENT!
DrWho7

Dustyroads
Guest
Dustyroads

Reeded edge would have looked better…

Danny Morano
Guest
Danny Morano

Will be collecting more Foreign coins from now on.
DrWho7

Jason Bourne
Guest
Jason Bourne

I am not interested in this coin. Buy gold bullion and save the outrageous premium.

M.B.
Guest
M.B.

I’m going to try to say something good about the coin, and that is I like the eagle in flight on the reverse and it’s made of my favor metal; Gold! As far as the obverse of the coin, I’m honestly surprised it made it into the final selection process. Can’t say I like or care for the mints preference here in this regard… cheers!

Seth Riesling
Guest
Seth Riesling

Today is exciting for me as it is only the second time I have been in the US Department of the Treasury’s historic Cash Room. The building has been closed to the public since the 1970s & I last visited on a private tour by myself at the invitation of Treasury Secretary Katharine Ortega in the late 1980s after a major renovation of the inside of the building which houses many important works of art & a large display of rare banknotes, including a Specimen $100,000 note. The Treasurer’s office back then had an 1800s German bankvault door leading to her office & as I waited in a seat next to her secretary’s desk, I noticed a copy of Coin World newspaper on the coffee table. She later told me it was required reading for her each week. Today’s invitation-only event was attended by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew & Deputy… Read more »

one fine dime
Guest
one fine dime

This coin is fantastic, absolutely stunning.

I wish the eagle on the 2008 bald eagle commemorative silver dollar had been of a similar level of artistry to this coin or that of the 2015 Liberty issue.

Does anyone know specifically WHY the silver issue has to be a medal and not a coin? Also, the 2016 silver medal was issued as proof only, how come? I prefer business strikes. In any event, I will be keeping an eye out for when the silver medal goes on sale!

Thanks for this reporting.

Scott the Robot
Guest
Scott the Robot

The notion that this is “historic” because more diversity is needed in numismatics is wrong. Off the top of my head, I can think of several coins portraying diversity on the obverse: Gold Buffalo, first lady gold coins, Sacagawea. Not to mention that the Platinum Eagle portrays the statute of liberty, which I do not view as any particular race (though obviously female). If the US Mint wanted to celebrate diversity by portraying an African-American woman, why not choose a historic figure? Harriet Tubman/Rosa Parks? Needless to say, I do not like this coin. The only reason I might buy it is because I think the mintage will be very low because of low demand.

David Fields
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David Fields

So white Liberties can be anonymous figures, but people of color have to be famous? Why is that?

A.H. Juneti
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A.H. Juneti

Seth: I, too, have visited the room more than once, but that does not lead me to being enamored with this coin design. I’m sure the design will sell due to the novelty. Is that the angle the Mint is taking now? Sell whatever you can to raise money?

Hewhodontknow
Guest
Hewhodontknow

Wow! Cool coin…and the eagle is just stunning.
Nice choice!
Does anyone know if this is in fact the very first coin issued by US mint with raised edge lettering?

lonnie
Guest
lonnie

the reverse is beautiful, the obverse is a total disaster, a reeded edge would have been better. what was the mint thinking? it is a disgrace to the u.s. mint and coin collectors. the mint will not sell out of this ugly coin!

Chas Barber
Guest
Chas Barber

Seth, what was the model on the 2015 HR, she appeared African American @ least when I looked @ the mint’s Obverse #11 which was apparently adapted there is no ? Anyway, this is a nice looking CROWDED coin. Too much on both sides & the new .9999 is a great idea but should have been on the edge. I am just not motivated to buy with the mint AU&% premium, etc. IMHO a classic flowing head liberty or such would motivate collectors, this is not anything to draw us collecting flies into the mint`s pile…… .but we’ll see!! I am sure that the speculators & HSN guys will go mad, but @ the $# it is not exactly like buying a $50 proof AG Eagle…..it’s a lot of $$$$$$$$$

Danny Morano
Guest
Danny Morano

Coin may go for $2,000.00 to $2,500.00 from the mint. The secondary market and graded coins is anybody guèss, $3,000.00 plus? Good luck to them. I don’t feel sorry for fools.
DrWho7

Art
Guest
Art

What a beautiful coin! I cant wait to get my hands on one.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Love it! The eagle is incredible. Glad they did not go with a reeded edge.

Millhouse1973
Guest
Millhouse1973

Beautiful??? Really???? I guess the days of classic beauty are far behind us. I’m all for modern designs but this coin is perhaps the ugliest coin the mint has ever produced!!!! I am embarrassed to be a coin collector!

Scott
Guest
Scott

Very disappointing design. I won’t be buying any. sad

joe#2
Guest
joe#2

Mixed comments. Ya gotta love it. If we all loved it or hated it, It would be dang boring. I have been into coins since the early 70/s. Boy, Have things changed. I’m tired of the same old lady liberty and the buffalo. Gorgeous coins, But, wow, Enough is enough.. IMO,. I’m glad to see something different. I happen to like or perhaps later on in time love the piece. I hope this baby comes out in proof. I’m as well happy with no reeded egde. IF the mintage is no more than 7,500 to 8,000, Would think very seriously on this one. Good luck all.

Dustyroads
Guest
Dustyroads

Actually, I believe the 2015 HR Liberty was the first African American to appear on a coin depicted as Liberty. No by the way, that wasn’t Angelina Jolie…

Bustywidow
Guest
Bustywidow

I have to say i think this coin is beautiful, however, will not be buying it because I am saving for a new car…prioritities…

Nick
Guest
Nick

Reverse is quite stunning! The obverse far to politically correct. I’m surprised Lew didn’t have Barack on the coin. Oh I forgot that ‘s coming in bill form!

Dwight
Guest
Dwight

Augustus Saint-Gaudens used Hettie Anderson as his model for Liberty on the obverse of his classic 1907 gold $20 Double Eagle. Harriette (“Hettie”) Eugenia Anderson was born in 1873 in Columbia, South Carolina, and lived most of the rest of her life in Manhattan’s Harlem. She was a beautiful young African American model. She was a popular model for famous American sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens (designer of the 1907 Eagle & 1907 Double Eagle) and Adolph Alexander Weinman (designer of the Mercury Dime and Walking Liberty Half Dollar). Hettie Anderson was also the model for “Victory” on Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ William Tecumseh Sherman Monument (1903) at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Manhattan’s Central Park.

Segar
Guest
Segar

I decided last year that I wouldn’t be buying any more coins from the U.S. Mint, mostly because they are overpriced. This coin just affirms that I made the correct decision.

RonnieBGood
Guest
RonnieBGood

Very disappointed.
In the commentary…

Amangi
Guest
Amangi

One of the ugliest coins I have ever seen in my life! I can go into details, but anything said would be misconstrued to fit the reader’s mentality. Unfortunately, this will probably end my love affair with the USMint’s offerings. This really smacks of political collusion, and narrow foresight on the Mint’s part. For a 225 year anniversary, they had a golden opportunity at their feet ( pardon the pun ) , but I truly think they blew it. The Mint needs to pay better attention to the buying public’s demographics as to who is actually buying their coins, and modify their market offerings to match the demographics.

phorensic
Guest
phorensic

There was a youtube video of them striking them and showing it off, after about 3 hrs the U.S. Mint deleted the video about 2 weeks ago.

KR
Guest
KR

2016 was supposed mark the end of my coin collecting hobby, but this coin is a must have. Gorgeous.

joe#2
Guest
joe#2

Dusty…. Ya gotta love salivate metal…lol

Drew S
Guest
Drew S

One of the posts said “it is a disgrace to the u.s. mint and coin collectors”

I’ve been feeling that way for quite sometime, subjecting myself to a few of the posts written on the boards.

I honestly hope that those who say you’re quitting the hobby or no longer buying U.S. coins stick to your word.

Millhouse73
Guest
Millhouse73

This is America and I have the right to change my mind if the mint produces a coin that is worthy of my hard earned money. This coin is garbage, worth it’s value in gold alone and nothing more! If someone thinks that it’s beautiful than they have the right to buy as many as they like (within the mints household limit of course) but I think a lot more people would cringe at the sight of this coin then lay $2K down to purchase this overpriced hockey puck. Can’t wait to see the next one in the series! The mint is saving a lot of collectors a lot of money producing these ridiculously unappealing coins.

Dustyroads
Guest
Dustyroads

Joe#2, Salivate he does.

hstone39
Guest
hstone39

So many disgusting comments about this coin. In case ya’ll don’t know, there’s different race of people that live in this country too. Black people built this country too. But hey, don’t buy the coin and leave the rest out there for others to buy.

Jason Bourne
Guest
Jason Bourne

The new 2017 Liberty is extremely disappointing on the merits of the design. The olive branches, the shields, the arrows have significant meaning to the founding……sorry, the existence of this country that ultimately gave us Liberty. So where are those symbols now? The artistry has completely missed the true meaning of what this country stands for, regardless of what supposed skin color Liberty represents….and by the way, she is gold, (not black, white, or yellow, or red). C’mon Man!!!! U.S. Mint could have done better than this after 225 years of doing business. With so much detail that has been created on so many other coins in this country, we should expect that the premium coins would at least match, if not exceed in detail and meaning what we have seen over recent recent designs. I am passing on this one.

Jake Jamison
Guest
Jake Jamison

Hope they didn’t spend hundreds of billions conceptualizing and designing this coin. It would have been better had they left the obverse a blank slate rather than stamp on a Michelle Obama knock-off. Put liberty back on where it belongs. This coin is a disgrace.

joe#2
Guest
joe#2

as far as i’m concerned, The coin can have marilyn Monroe on it. With 100,000 mintage, PASS PASS PASS

Dwight
Guest
Dwight

African-Americans have previously been featured on U.S. Mint coins such as the 1946 until 1951 Booker T. Washington silver half dollars, from 1951 until 1954 Booker T. Washington & Washington Carver silver half dollars, the 1997-S Jackie Robinson silver dollar & the 1997-W Jackie Robinson gold half eagle, and the 1998-S Crispus Attucks silver dollar.

Dwight
Guest
Dwight

The 2014-P Civil Rights Act of 1964 silver dollars also featured African-Americans.

jim
Guest
jim

Too bad they couldn’t use a real US coin to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the US Mint – like a copy of the first coin minted.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I think I’ll pass on this one! I might change my mind of they would Officially call it the first in a series of “SJW Coins”

Rich
Guest
Rich

Ugliest coin ever. What a waste…..

Michael Short
Guest
Michael Short

I do not see a need to buy this coin. It is obviously being used to send a political message we don’t need rather than using classic design that is easier to accept. Get the politics off our coins. I like the remakes or our older coinage program so a seated liberty or a bust design would have been much better.

Millhouse73
Guest
Millhouse73

Wow! This is not about race! It’s about an ugly coin. I would be more more inclined to buy this coin if it had a picture of an iPhone on it. After all, isn’t the iPhone the new symbol of America, freedom, and liberty. They would probably sell 70 million coins (that’s how many iPhones Apple sold in their last quarter). If the coin had an iPhone instead of that awful portrait (I refuse to call that liberty), they would sell millions of them. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s probably true. The mint won’t sell more than 20,000 of these hockey pucks. Wait and see. True beauty lies in the classic designs that were sculpted as iconic symbols of America, not this piece of garbage. Take a good look at the platinum eagle for one of the most beautiful depictions of Liberty. This one can’t even hold a torch… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

Ugly PC coin. Overpriced.

Eric
Guest
Eric

The coin could have been worse. It might have featured Miley Cyrus sitting naked on her wrecking ball or Lady Gaga with her bullet girdle.

Seth Riesling
Guest
Seth Riesling

Mike Unser & CoinNews readers FYI –

This Proof high relief gold coin will be offered on April 6, just four days after the 225th annivwrsary of the founding of the Mint on April 2, 1792. It is part of a series issued every 2 years with a different ethnicity of Lady Liberty depicted for all races in the USA. Exciting!

-NumisDudeTX

one fine dime
Guest
one fine dime

This coin is “a disgrace to coin collectors” you say. Not in the least buddy. But these thinly veiled racist comments sure are! How utterly sad all you pathetic old white dudes are so racist but instead of just keeping it to yourself you want to whine to high heavens about how “ugly” this coin is (btw, I’m a mid 40s white dude myself). You all know darn well that if the design was essentially the same but an obviously anglo looking white woman graced the obverse you’d all be cheering about it. Face it people, you live in America, a racially diverse country! You call this design politically motivated. By that logic, are all the anglo looking representations of liberty from classic American numismatics political as well? An attempt to ensure european-american representations are on our money? Just one big conspiracy out to take away your white “privilege” eh?… Read more »

Millhouse73
Guest
Millhouse73

I love diversity!!!!!! I just hate ugly coins!!!! There are beautiful men, women, and children of every race and ethnicity and from every corner of the world. This coin does not reflect any beauty! The mint missed the boat on this one. Again, no pun intended. Talk about being on a soap box. Don’t fall off “mid 40s white dude” wink

one fine dime
Guest
one fine dime

Since you’re an expert on ugliness snd beauty why don’t you tell us what makes a beautiful coin and why this one is ugly. it’s easy to rant and complain, what’s harder is understanding numismatic asthetics to a degree that you can actually explain why you find something like this to be sooooo unappealing.

I’m all ears to you and all your fellow numismatic critics here.

Millhouse73
Guest
Millhouse73

Of course if the mint is shooting for ugliness, they hit the nail right on the head, but I don’t think that was the case. Everyone has an opinion about everything and I’m sure there are coin collectors who think this coin is beautiful . . . .. . .. . . . .. (just threw up in my mouth a little), but the mint should really should get an idea of what numismatists really want on their coins. Yes, THIER coins, because after all, the coins the mint produces ultimately end up in our hands. Not this one though. They can keep it. Hope they don’t make to many just to melt them down for the next disaster!

Millhouse73
Guest
Millhouse73

Not an expert, just a long time coin collector and like I said there are definitely people who think it’s a beautiful coin and I suppose we should celebrate what few people feel beauty is, but the mint could have used a better image of and African American Liberty. I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m part of the majority here. Not that it matters. The mint clearly doesn’t care what the majority of coin collectors want. Not sure they every have.

Joe+Brown
Guest
Joe+Brown

Do you walk down the street, & say to yourself, that one is all right looking, that person is ugly, then you *sea yourself in a mud puddle, & say! I’m a freaking super stud, i am the one! Keep kissing the mud puddle!

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