The United States Mint unveiled images of the four 2021 American Innovation dollars bearing designs honoring innovations from New Hampshire, Virginia, New York and North Carolina.
Introduced in 2018, the multi-year series of $1 coins features reverse (tails side) designs that pay homage to America’s ingenuity and celebrate the pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. (See U.S. Mint information about the series and their release order.)
U.S. Mint-published images and descriptions of this year’s dollars follow.
2021 American Innovation Dollar for New Hampshire
Designer: Christina Hess
Sculptor-Engraver: Eric David Custer
The New Hampshire $1 Coin recognizes Ralph Baer and his creation of the first home video game console. This design depicts Ralph Baer’s brown box game "Handball" on the right side of the coin. The left side of the coin features "New Hampshire" and "Player 1" on an incused background. "IN HOME VIDEO GAME SYSTEM" and "RALPH BAER" encircle the outside of the coin in a text that is meant to pay homage to Ralph Baer’s Odyssey game. The design of the coin is also symbolic of an arcade token.
2021 American Innovation Dollar for Virginia
Designer: Matt Swaim
Sculptor-Engraver: John P. McGraw
The Virginia $1 Coin recognizes the engineering marvel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This design depicts a view of the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel as a cross section cut away, illustrating the ingenuity involved in constructing it. Inscriptions are "VIRGINIA" and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."
2021 American Innovation Dollar for New York
Designer: Ronald D. Sanders
Sculptor-Engraver: Phebe Hemphill
The New York $1 Coin pays homage to the Erie Canal. This design depicts a packet boat being pulled from a city in the East toward the country areas to the West. Inscriptions are "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "NEW YORK."
2021 American Innovation Dollar for North Carolina
Designer: Ronald D. Sanders
Sculptor-Engraver: Joseph Menna
The North Carolina $1 Coin acknowledges the first public institution of higher learning in the United States. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened its doors in 1795 and was the only public institution to confer degrees in the 18th century. This design features a stack of three textbooks with "First Public University" on the spine of the middle book. A lamp of knowledge is perched atop the books, and olive branches curve around the edge of the design. Inscriptions are "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "NORTH CAROLINA."
Common Obverse Design With Varying Privy Marks
Designed by Justin Kunz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, major obverse (heads side) elements are common across every $1 coin in the series regardless of their year of issue. They include a representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile along with inscriptions "IN GOD WE TRUST" and "$1."
The series has seen variations in privy marks found below "IN GOD WE TRUST.". The introductory dollar for 2018 lacked a privy mark. Those that followed have included a privy mark of a stylized gear, representing industry and innovation.
Depictions of the gear have changed every year, as highlighted in the photos and image above.
Incused Edge Inscriptions
Edges of all dollars are incused with their year of minting, a mint mark denoting where they are produced, and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."
Dollars Not Released into Circulation
Dollar coins have not been issued into circulation since 2011. The U.S. Mint strikes them only for numismatic products. The Mint has scheduled a release date of June 8 for the first of the four 2021 American Innovation dollars. Release dates for the other three have not been announced.