Yesterday, the United States Mint announced the design selections for the upcoming 2015 March of Dimes Silver Dollar. The commemorative coin was authorized to mark the 75th anniversary of the non profit organization founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat polio, which now works to improve the health of mothers and babies.
Under the authorizing legislation, up to 500,000 silver dollars may be issued in proof and uncirculated qualities during the one year period beginning on January 1, 2015. The designs for the coins are to be “emblematic of the mission and programs of the March of Dimes, and its distinguished record of generating Americans’ support to protect children’s health.” Even more specifically, the legislation provides that the design shall “contain motifs that represent the past, present, and future of the March of Dimes and its role as a champion for all babies, such designs to be consistent with the traditions and heritage of the March of Dimes.”
The US Mint had originally released a large slate of design candidates for the program, including 22 different obverse and 18 different reverse designs. Many of the candidates carried depictions of mothers and babies. Some carried images of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and/or Dr. Jonas Salk, who discovered and developed the first successful polio vaccine. A number of candidates also incorporated images of the Roosevelt Dime, the Mercury Dime portrait, or the dime books associated with the organization’s fundraising efforts. Images of all design candidates can be found in his article.
As provided by the authorizing legislation, the design candidates were reviewed by both the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The final selections were made by the Secretary of the Treasury, taking into account he recommendations of the two groups as well as the March of Dimes Foundation.
The selected obverse design features profile portraits of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk. The depiction of the two leaders in the fight against polio is intended to represent the past of the March of Dimes Foundation. The inscriptions read “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, and “2015”. The obverse was designed by Paul C. Balan and will be sculpted by Michael Gaudioso.
The selected reverse design features a depiction of a baby sleeping peacefully in the hand of its parent. The image is intended to represent the Foundation’s present and future mission of advancing work that supports healthy pregnancies and addresses prematurity. The inscriptions read “United States of America”, “March of Dimes”, “$1”, and “E Pluribus Unum”. The reverse was designed and will be sculpted by Don Everhart.
During their review, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee had recommended the selected obverse design featuring the portraits of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk. For the reverse they had recommended an alternate design showing a mother cradling a baby in her arms. Full coverage of the CCAC’s review and recommendations can be found here.
The Commission of Fine Arts had recommended an alternate obverse design carrying an image of Dr. Jonas Salk, a 1946 Roosevelt Dime, and a dime fundraising card. For the reverse they had recommended an alternate design showing a dime being inserted into a collection card slot and a pair of leg braces and shoes. Coverage of the CFA’s recommendations can be found here.
Although the designs for the upcoming silver dollar will not incorporate any dime images, it is still possible that the US Mint may create a special numismatic offering incorporating one or more dimes. Over the summer, the Mint had distributed a survey to customers gauging the potential demand for a numismatic product containing a special silver proof dime and/or reverse proof silver dime, possibly carrying the “W” mint mark.