In 2020, the Armed Forces Silver Medal series from the United States Mint will start celebrating branches of the military with 2-inch medals struck in 2.5 ounces of .999 fine silver.
These medals mark a first for the U.S. Mint as each will honor a military branch as a whole and for the entirety of its mission. Previous military medals commemorate special events like battles and anniversaries, and they are not in silver.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the U.S. Mint unveiled proposed designs for the first two medals, the 2020 Coast Guard Silver Medal and the 2020 Air Force Silver Medal. They were presented for review to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).
CoinNews will hold off on writing about CCAC recommendations until after members of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) have reviewed the same designs. This article focuses on the Coast Guard medal design candidates. Look here for the Air Force medal designs.
U.S. Mint descriptions and images of the 2020 Coast Guard medal designs follow:
Although the U.S. Coast Guard can trace its roots back to 1790, the Coast Guard we know today is a blend of a variety of organizations and services that developed over the years. On August 4, 1790, Congress approved Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to create the Revenue Cutter Service — a fleet of ten cutters whose purpose was to protect the revenue of our new nation.
Today the Coast Guard is a multi-faceted service protecting not only people and vessels, but also lighthouses, navigation aids, riverways, lakes, and wildlife, as well as inspecting and enforcing economic traffic, hazardous cargo, migrant interdiction, national security, and much more. As is said, the Coast Guard protects those on the sea, protects the nation from threats delivered by the sea, and protects the sea itself. They are always ready.
Obverse Candidate Design Images and Descriptions
CG-O-01 depicts a Coast Guard motor lifeboat speeding through rough water as an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter races overhead. The Boston Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, is seen in the background as a beacon of safety and security. Inscriptions are "U.S. COAST GUARD" and "SEMPER PARATUS," the Coast Guard motto, meaning "Always Ready."
CG-O-02 depicts a Marine Protector-class patrol boat on duty with its rescue boat deployed. The Coast Guard emblem is found at the bottom of the design, while the inscription "U.S. COAST GUARD" is arced across the top.
CG-O-03 features one of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters on patrol. The Coast Guard emblem is depicted above the bow of the ship. Inscriptions are "U.S. COAST GUARD" and "SEMPER PARATUS."
CG-O-04A and CG-O-04B depict a U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter at full throttle, speeding head-on toward the viewer, conveying the Coast Guard is "Always Ready." The inscription "SEMPER PARATUS" is arced across the top of the design.
Design 04B includes the additional inscription "U.S. COAST GUARD."
CG-O-05 features a Coast Guard rescue swimmer racing through rough water toward the viewer. Hovering overhead, the Jayhawk helicopter that lowered the swimmer waits to hoist the survivors. The Coast Guard motto "SEMPER PARATUS" is incused into the bottom of the waves.
CG-O-06 depicts a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the founder of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard emblem is seen on the left. Around the border are inscriptions, including "ALEXANDER HAMILTON" at the base of the portrait, and a quote from his proposal for the Revenue Cutter Service – "A few armed vessels…useful sentinels of the law."
CG-O-07 portrays a Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat battling the waves, while a Coast Guard helicopter flies overhead. The included Inscription is "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD."
CG-O-10 features the Revenue Cutter Massachusetts, the first cutter to enter active service. In the background is the Boston Lighthouse. The Coast Guard emblem is found at the top of the design, while the inscription "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD" arcs across the bottom.
Reverse Candidate Design Images and Descriptions
CG-R-01 depicts an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter coming to the aid of two flood victims on a rooftop, illustrating one of the many missions of the Coast Guard. The inscription "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD" is along the top border.
CG-R-03 features a rescue swimmer preparing to load a survivor into a rescue basket while a Coast Guard helicopter stands by to lift them both to safety. A burning vessel can be seen in the background. The inscriptions "HONOR," "RESPECT," and "DEVOTION TO DUTY" describe the Coast Guard’s core values.
CG-R-04 portrays a Coast Guard Icebreaker driving through the ice fields in the arctic. A polar bear provides a geographic reference to the area. The Coast Guard’s core values, "HONOR," "RESPECT," and "DEVOTION TO DUTY" are inscribed around the border.
CG-R-05 depicts equipment commonly used for search and rescue missions. A Motor Lifeboat is seen in rough water, while two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters keep watch from the air. The inscription "SEMPER PARATUS" arcs across the bottom.
CG-R-06 depicts Massachusetts, the first active duty U.S. Revenue Cutter, passing by a lighthouse. The Coast Guard Emblem is seen on the right side of the field. Inscriptions are "SEMPER PARATUS," "FIRST REVENUE CUTTER," and "MASSACHUSETTS."
CG-R-07 features a Morris-class topsail schooner sailing past the Cape Henry Lighthouse in the 1830s. The Coast Guard emblem is at the bottom of the design, while the inscription "SEMPER PARATUS" is arced across the top.
CG-R-08 alludes to the long history of the Coast Guard’s service by depicting the sea and a lighthouse perched on a coastal landscape in the distance. The central inscriptions of "WE PROTECT THE SEA," "WE PROTECT THE NATION FROM THREATS DELIVERED BY THE SEA," "WE PROTECT THE SEA ITSELF," and "HONOR, RESPECT, AND DEVOTION TO DUTY" summarize their mission and core values. The Coast Guard Emblem is centered at the bottom of the design and is flanked by 13 stars around the rim.
CG-R-09 features a life preserver ring as an outer border. The inner design is the distinctive Coast Guard racing stripe mark, which is found on almost all Coast Guard crafts. The racing stripes are depicted with a heraldic hatching tradition to indicate color. The horizontal stripes indicate the color blue, while the vertical stripes indicate the color red. The Coast Guard emblem, which is part of the racing stripe mark, is also in the center. Inscribed into the life ring are the Coast Guard’s core values, "HONOR," "RESEPECT," and "DEVOTION TO DUTY."
CG-R-10 depicts the current Coast Guard emblem.
Limits and Possible Bronze Versions
The U.S. Mint has indicated that the series of Armed Forces Silver Medals will not be subject to individual or program mintage limits, and that their designs may later appear on traditional 3-inch and 1.5-inch bronze medals.