Earlier this week, the United States Mint announced the designs for the 2012 Star Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins. The program includes a $5 gold coin with a maximum mintage of 100,000 and silver dollars with a maximum mintage of 500,000.
Under the authorizing legislation, the designs are to be emblematic of the War of 1812, particularly the Battle of Baltimore that formed the basis for the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner. This became the official national anthem of the United States by congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.
The US Mint initially provided ten obverse and eight reverse design candidates for the $5 gold coin, and six obverse and nine reverse design candidates for the silver dollar. These were reviewed by the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). The final design selections were made by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The review by the CCAC had taken an unusual tract. Rather than considering the design candidates for the coins specifically indicated by the US Mint, the committee reviewed all sixteen obverse and all seventeen reverse designs together, before identifying designs for each coin respectively. They gave consideration to the designs that would produce well based on the sizes of the coins, and obverse and reverse designs that would compliment each other.
Below are the official design selections as well as information on the recommendations made by the CFA and CCAC. Comprehensive coverage of the recommendations and images of all design candidates can be seen here for the CFA and here for the CCAC.
The Star Spangled Banner $5 Gold Coin obverse depicts a naval battle scene from the War of 1812. An American ship appears in the foreground, while a damaged and fleeing British ship appears in the background. The reverse design features the opening words of the Star Spangled Banner against a background of fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. The obverse wad designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Joseph Menna, while the reverse was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
The CCAC had recommended the same obverse design that was chosen. This was initially identified by the US Mint as one of the design candidates for the silver dollar. The CCAC recommended a different design for the reverse, which included flags with fifteen stars and fifty stars shown together.
The CFA had recommended the obverse design that was actually chosen for the silver dollar. For the reverse they had recommended a design featuring an abstraction of the flag with the words “O Say Does That Star Spangled Banner Yet Wave”.
The obverse of the Star Spangled Banner Silver Dollar features a depiction of Liberty waving a flag with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. Fort McHenry appears in the background. The reverse design depicts a waving modern American flag. The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, while the reverse was designed by William C. Burgard II and sculpted by Don Everhart.
The CCAC had recommended the same obverse design that was chosen. Initially, this had been identified by the US Mint as one of the design candidates for the gold coin. The CCAC also recommended the same reverse design that was chosen. Members of the committee felt that this obverse and reverse pairing “would convey a message about the endurance of the Republic and the of the flag from the time of the War of 1812 to the present.”
The CFA had recommended an obverse design featuring a large image of a ship with the inscription “Privateers in the War of 1812” based on the high quality of the drawing. They had recommended the same reverse design that was chosen by the Treasury Secretary.
The release date for the Star Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins has not yet been announced by the United States Mint. Under the authorizing legislation, the coins may be offered only during the calendar year beginning January 1, 2012.
The release date for the other commemorative program for the coming year, the Infantry Solider Silver Dollar, has recently been indicated as February 12, 2012.