This post was modified on the evening of March 17 to add the image-comparison slider, and to modify the language about the obverse design, which suggested a more exact replication than actually exists.
In an article by Paul Gilkes, Coin World has shared U.S. Mint mock-ups (shown above) for the 2017 palladium bullion coins. The obverse closely follows (with a few subtle differences) the classic Winged Liberty dime obverse by Adolph A. Weinman. The word LIBERTY encircles the field above the effigy, while IN.GOD / WE.TRUST is placed in the lower left field, the designer’s initials in the lower right field, and the date, 2017, below Liberty’s neck. The matte gray surface of the mockup makes it easier to see certain details that are often obscured by wear or glare on the tiny silver coins: for example, the horizontal braid under the back of Liberty’s cap, and the folds in the back of the cap’s fabric.
The reverse recreates the main design of the American Institute of Architects’ gold medal reverse, with a few interesting differences. The dramatic, left-facing eagle and the rock it stands on are essentially the same as on the medal, as is the laurel sapling. And as on the medal, the eagle appears to be using its beak and right claw to pull the laurel from the rock. (On Weinman’s similarly designed Walking Liberty half dollar reverse, the sapling is a pine, representing a young America, and the mighty eagle is protecting it. Although I haven’t found a specific reference to the symbolism on the AIA medal, it would appear that, at minimum, the eagle is unimpressed by accolades.*) Added to the original design are a raised rim and the legally mandated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, placed above the eagle, and 1 OZ. Pd .9995 FINE / E PLURIBUS UNUM, placed below. (“Pd,” of course, is the abbreviation for “palladium.”) The final mandated element is the denomination, $25, which is placed at the far left.
The fineness, metal, and motto, which are incused, replace Weinman’s name and the date, which were raised elements on the medal. Another reversal of relief is seen in the section of the laurel below the eagle’s claw: on the medal, the base of the plant and beginning of its roots were raised, whereas on the mockup, they are recessed into the rock, along with the surrounding text. The wedge-serif typeface throughout the reverse is in keeping with the Winged Liberty dime’s original typeface, which is replicated (again, with subtle differences) on the obverse.
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) was scheduled to meet in D.C. yesterday (March 15), but inclement weather caused a postponement of the meeting and of the review of the mock-ups. The Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the Mint’s mock-ups today and kindly shared them with Mr. Gilkes. Meanwhile, the CCAC’s meeting has been rescheduled for March 21 at 10 a.m.
To read Paul Gilkes’s original article, which includes the Mint’s comments on the proposed design as well as additional information, click here. ❑
* In the comments, RSF writes, “The reverse design was commissioned for an American Institute of Architects award. It follows that the eagle is in the process of gathering building materials.” That seems quite plausible, and I wish I had thought of it myself.—Editor