Designs for 2012 Infantry Soldier Silver Dollar

On October 27, the US  Mint announced the design selections for the 2012 Infantry Soldier Silver Dollar. The commemorative coin was authorized by Congress in 2008 to commemorate the legacy of the United States Army Infantry and the establishment of the National Infantry Museum and Solider Center.

The design requirements under the authorizing legislation call for the coins to be emblematic of the courage, price, sacrifice, sense of duty, and history of the United States Infantry.

The US Mint had initially provided 12 different obverse and 7 different reverse design candidates. The National Infantry Foundation, Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) were give the opportunity to review the designs and make recommendations. The final selections were made by the United States Treasury Secretary.

The design selected for the obverse features a modern infantry solider on rocky ground charging forward and beckoning troops to follow. This is intended to symbolize the “Follow Me” motto of the infantry. The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and engraved by Michael Gaudioso.

This design selection matches the recommendation of the CFA, which favored the design “due to the strong and familiar pose of the infantry leader and the recognizable setting on a rocky base.”

The CCAC had recommended an alternative design depicting three Infantry soldiers courageously charging forward while engaged in battle. A measure was introduced and passed to recommend removal of the solider appearing near the right edge of the coin.

While several members of the CCAC had commented favorably on the design eventually selected by the Treasury Secretary, there had been some questions about the facial expression and hands of the soldier. One member also noted issues with the proportions and compared the solider image to a mannequin.

The design selected for the reverse features the crossed rifle insignia, the branch insignia for the Infantry. The reverse was designed by Ronald D. Sanders and engraved by Norman E. Nemeth.

Once again, the design selection matches the recommendation of the CFA, which cited the “simplicity and clarity” of the design. Initially, the denomination was expressed as “$1” under the crossed rifles. The CFA had recommended spelling out the denomination as “One Dollar.” This recommendation was followed.

The CCAC recommended an alternate design featuring the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, which had garnered the most votes by a wide margin.

All of the 12 different obverse design candidates and 7 different reverse design candidates can be viewed within the articles covering the CFA’s recommendations and the CCAC’s review and recommendations.

The 2012 Infantry Solider Silver Dollar is expected to be available for sale from the US Mint in February 2012. The coin will be available in proof or uncirculated versions, with a maximum mintage of 350,000 across both versions.

Gold and Platinum Numismatic Price Increases

It seems likely that tomorrow, the US Mint will increase the prices of certain gold and platinum numismatic products. After a rapid series of price increases and decreases, the prices for these products have been stable since October 12.

The US Mint determines prices for certain gold and platinum numismatic products based on the average weekly London fix prices of the metal. Price tiers are established at $50 increments for gold and $100 increments for platinum. The weekly period runs from Thursday AM to Wednesday AM, and an additional requirement calls for the Wednesday PM price to agree directionally with any change.

The average market price of gold for the period (excluding the Wednesday AM price) is within the $1,700 to $1,749.99 range. In the most likely scenario, as long as the Wednesday PM is $1,700 or greater, then product prices will be increased proportionally by $50 for each ounce of gold content. Gold products which would have their prices increased include the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles, 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle, 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo, First Spouse Gold Coins, and 2011 commemorative gold coins.

The average market price for platinum (excluding Wednesday AM price) is within the $1,550 to $1,649.99 range. As long as the Wednesday PM fix price is $1,550 or above, then the price of the 2011 Proof Platinum Eagle will be increased from $1,792 to $1,892.

Price changes are usually made effective around mid-morning Wednesday.

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  1. J A says

    Unfortunately I’m underwhelmed by the infantry designs.

    I hope they can come up with better ones.

  2. says

    I think they could have done a better job with this. We had some decent to good art for the military coins this year, especially on the gold army and medal of honor coins. This design seems very generic and uninspired. I’m doubly disappointed since Joel Iskowitz, my favorite US coin design artist, was responsible for the obverse. He can and has done better, just look at the MoH and the 2011 platinum eagle. I was also not too thrilled by the CCAC’s recommendation for the obverse either.

    The reverse is even more painfully generic than the front. They should have gone with the CCAC’s design for the reverse, it is much more attractive.

    The Mint also really should have considered whether to release another military themed coin in 2012, right after they did two military coins in 2011, both of which were more attractive. Unless this one becomes a big rarity, I will probably give it a pass. I also agree with the criticism I have heard from some quarters that it is hard to tell what is being commemorated.

    Seems like after the cornucopia of nice, attractive silver products we had this year, we’re back to bland and unexciting releases for 2012. Too bad.

  3. EvilFlipper says

    Thats my issue with most moderns. Its supposed to be symbolic but they use “literal design” themes. Our country and most people rally behind symbols- not photographs. Thats why some presidential coins work. They symbolized something in it of themselves. First wives dont. Liberty does. The eagle does. No meaning behind these awful designs.

  4. EvilFlipper says

    How about a soldier holding a flag off the ground.or symbollically carrying one through the field like it was a wounded soldier.

  5. Two Cents says

    CaptainOverkill, I agree with all of your comments. Well put!

    EvilFlipper, you are right when you said coin designs are too literal. A bit of symbolism and artistry goes a long way.

    I find it curious that there is nothing in the designs to indicate what is being commemorated. To the layman, the crossed rifles on the reverse look generic, not something that represents the U. S. Infantry. On the Army and Marine Corps commems, it was clear who and what the coins were honoring.

    It would have been nice to incorporate the Infantryman’s Creed, which includes the phrase, “I am the Infantry! Follow Me!” That would have made the obverse design more appropriate and meaningful.

  6. says

    It’s not really the symbolism for me, EF, it’s just plain boring/bad art. You might have seen pictures of those French silver dragons that Louis posted this morning in the anniversary postmortem thread. Why the heck can’t we produce things like that? In fact, we KNOW we can do it – this year’s MoH and platinum eagle were great looking coins, enough that I spent a considerable chunk of change to get them. I realize not every coin is going to be a home run in terms of art, but we should be able to do much, much better than we do.

  7. Michael says

    A couple of points-

    Commemorative coin programs are approved by Congress, so the US Mint has no choice as to the themes or timing of the issues.

    The bill which authorized this particular program was introduced by a Congressman from Georgia, and approved by Congress in 2008. The National Infantry Museum and Solider Center, located in Georgia, receives surcharges raised from the sale of coins.

    I agree with many of the points raised about the selected designs. On the obverse they wanted to portray the Infantry creed “follow me” which could have been done symbolically, but design candidates featured a literal interpretation of an Infantry solider motioning to follow him. Some of the reverse designs, such as the one recommended by the CCAC, include the word “Infantry”.

    For commemorative coin designs, it seems that it is sometimes (or maybe often) the case that the beneficiary organization has a great deal of sway in the specific design candidates created and the eventual design selections. As an example, for the Boy Scouts Centennial Silver Dollars, the Boy Scouts of America expressed their support for a diversity theme rather than a continuity theme. Despite recommendations for continuity themed designs from both the CFA and CCAC, the final selection was a diversity themed design, which did not resonate with some collectors.

    In this case, I have not seen the input provided by the National Infantry Foundation.

    Unfortunately, US commemorative coins are created through a political process, and designs are conceived and selected with input from some groups or people who might not have aesthetics or symbolism as their primary concerns.

  8. Fosnock says

    Its politics and the amount of coins produced by the US Mint. You can only show liberty or a waving the flag so many times on a coin before it gets old. Then mint has to produce based on what Congress wants to commemorate so we currently have an overload on military commemorates but in the past we had such gems as a coin to commemorate Chief Justice John Marshall

  9. says

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the clarifications. I did know about the process by which the coins are submitted, but I did not know that the beneficiary organization had that much input into what came out.

    No wonder the Boy Scouts coin was so disappointing.

  10. EvilFlipper says

    Well I say, if your gonna go through the trouble of selling coins, make some that people actually want to buy. My brother is in iraq right now and he said the design sucked. He said they should do a VA commerative and on the reverse show all the homeless vets the VA dumps on the street so as to make it more literal. And then give the money raised to the vets themselves.

  11. Wylson says

    This year’s gold coins had very good designs. The silver dollars weren’t much better than these designs IMHO.

  12. fosnock says


    I’m surprised with your comment didn’t you tell your brother they had The American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin last year. The proceeds did not go to the vets but it went to support the construction of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., authorized by Congress in 2000.

  13. Two Cents says

    This commemorative coin was unveiled on Oct. 27, the same day the 25th Anniv. Silver Set was open for orders. Lost amid that day’s hoopla, the unveiling of the Infantry coin was done at the Columbia State University vs. Fort Benning Doughboys game in Georgia. Fort Benning is the home of the United States Infantry.

    A prototype of the coin was used in the coin toss, and was parachuted into the Doughboy Stadium before the game. Soldiers in Vietnam-era uniforms delivered the coin to Marv Levy, the Buffalo Bills’ former head coach (and WWII vet), who did the coin toss.

    The prototype used in the coin toss was actually a test piece with a finish not approved for commemorative coins. Though the Infantry test piece was struck at the Philadelphia Mint, it had the “W” mintmark of the West Point Mint where the Proof and Burnished Unc. coins will eventually be struck.

    Test piece are normally struck to “establish a pattern of consistency for metal fill,” according to Mint spokesperson Jana Prewitt, and are “melted after an amount of time that they are no longer needed for testing or reference.”

    Normally, test pieces have what the Mint describes as a “bullion finish,” but because this particular test piece was going to be used in the coin toss, the coin dies were wire-brushed to add luster. All of the test pieces will eventually be melted.

    Flyers promoting the coin were distributed in the stadium, and a special tent was set up to sign people up for information and updates on the commemorative coin. Whoever was responsible for publicizing the coin at this event did a bang-up job.

  14. Leo S. says

    To Evil Flipper

    I second the motion to get the money to the vets. I think that the vets would like a job, repect and some security rather than spending the money on a monument. If the money had gone to the vets, I would have purchased more of the coins. Too bad that we did away with the draft where everyone was supposed to put in 6 years to serve their country. Notice that I said “suppose” because even back then the rich and powerful got their kids soft jobs at the headquarters offices while the middle class and the poor did the fighting and dying. If everyone had to be in the service, we might not have gotten into so many useless and wasteful wars. Sorry Micheal for getting off the subject of coins but I had to vent on the subject of how this country does not take very good care of our vets.

  15. Zaz says

    Spare and minimalist design with an non-existent legend to add unnecessary clutter to an already tight space. True, it does not indicate who or what is being commemorated, but as an inch and a half coin, space is at a premium, and less is definitely more. Reminiscent of the Medal of Honor reverse, and will be outstanding in proof with frosted elements. The only criticism I have is the continued mixing of fonts on obverse compared with the uniform look of the reverse. It’s not a bad looking coin, all things considered.

  16. Dan says

    It is a shame that the coin did not dispaly the CIB or combat infantry badge. It is probably one of the most proud decorations worn by most. On a lighter side, a bit of history, maybe they should have put the battle cry of the 442nd regiment infantry battalions of world war II. They were one of the highest decorated regiments to serve during WW II. I only mention this because of all the commemoratives offered this year. Their battle cry was ” go for broke “.

  17. DCDave says

    How does the 1oz ’11 Unc-W AGE mintage compare to the 1 oz ’08 Proof Buff mintage? Wonder if my funds should pick up one more before the price increase later today and does anyone know if the ’11 burnished Eagle will continue sales into 2012?

  18. DCDave says

    The medal looks cool, but the Mint website does a poor job explaining that Nisei are second generation Japanese Americans that fought in Europe during WW2 while many of their parents and families were placed in internment camps back home. Prices are now raised for gold and platinum.

  19. Wylson says

    DCDave, the 2011 age burnished will be on sale until the 2012 is released next year or it sells out. I think they probably minted between 10K to 15K. based on 2008 sales.

  20. Matt L. DeTectre says

    Infantry coin is too literal as also stated by many commenters above. One of the best military related designs is the POW commemorative. Great symbolism with an eagle with broken chain on its leg flying through a ring of barb wire on its way to freedom. Maybe people now in decision making positions don’t understand symbolism nor do the artists doing the designs.

  21. Hidalgo says

    I just saw this week’s US Mint sales report. The way things are going, it looks like the Eliza Johnson uncirculated FS gold coin will have a lower mintage than the Julia Tyler unc FS coin. If so, how do you think that might impact the values of both coins?

  22. Mistermon says

    How much longer can we expect the Eliza Johnson to be available at the Mint? At an average of 30 per week, it will only take 10 wks (mid Jan 2012) to pass Julia Tyler.

  23. MarkInFla says

    Did everyone get the apology email from the Mint about the fiasco Thursday? They’re upgrading the web site and reviewing sales procedures. (Maybe one to a family next time?)

  24. Two Cents says


    I received the email apology yesterday.

    It’s hard for any company, much less the Mint, to accurately gauge the response of the buying public and to prepare for that response. Most companies can just make more of the product or order more of them from the manufacturer. For the Mint, however, once it announces the mintage limit, it cannot (or shouldn’t) change the mintage to accommodate a higher (or lower) demand.

    In the case of the 25th Anniversary Silver Set, the Mint sorely failed in its attempt to balance the mintage limit and demand. The problem was exacerbated by an antiquated ordering system. (This is also true of other low-mintage, high-demand coins.)

    The Mint needs more information to assist it in its marketing and manufacturing decisions. The Mint should seek out numismatic organizations, dealers, and collectors for their advice on what to expect from the buying (collector and non-collector) public. It should take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and historical awareness that numismatists can offer.

    The Mint already has two artistic groups helping it select coin designs – it should also have a numismatic group to help it make numismatic decisions.

  25. zack says

    Well not much to say. But my kids could have drawn better designs than that. Dont get me wrong. I am still going to buy one of these coins. No matter what it looks like I am an 11b and am DAMN proud of it. RAKKASANS

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