United States Mint Unused Coin Designs, Part 1

For the past several years, Mint News Blog and Coin Update have taken a look at the initial design candidates for all of the commemorative and rotating design coins issued by the United States Mint. Over the next two posts, we will take a look at some of the more distinctive or interesting unused coin designs.


To start, here is an alternate design for the 2011 U.S. Army $5 Gold Coin, featuring a full length portrayal of three soldiers, with a Revolutionary War era soldier in the center. The actual design for this coin featured a full length portrayal of five soldiers, which was a lot to pack into such a small sized coin.


This is an alternate reverse design for the 2012 Proof Platinum Eagle featuring a portrayal of Liberty which is much different than typical. The design is intended to represent the theme “For the Common Defence.” The actual coin design carried a depiction of a minuteman holding a rifle and a book against the backdrop of an American flag.


Here is an alternate reverse design for the 2012 Native American Dollar, which was to carry the theme of “Trade Routes in the 17th Century” and the historic spread of the horse. The design is based on the ledger style of Native American art with all design elements in a circular arrangement. The actual design carried a profile portrait of a horse and Native American in traditional format.


Here is an alternate design for the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter from the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. A waterfall takes central focus within the design. This may have made for an interesting appearance in proof format with the falling water shown mirrored surrounded by the remaining design in frost. The actual design for the coin took focus on a Puerto Rican parrot, which was surrounded by forest foliage.


This design was an alternate for the 2013 Native American Dollar, representing the Treaty with the Delawares of 1778. The image of a turtle dominates the design area, as the symbol of the Delaware Tribes’ oldest clan. The turtle rests upon an encircled design extracted from one of the Delaware Tribes’ wampum belt. The actual coin design depicted a turkey, wolf, and turtle with thirteen stars.


Here is a variation of the selected design for the 2013 Proof Platinum Eagle, which depicted the theme “To Promote the General Welfare” with an elegant portrayal of an allegorical Young America. The actual design for the coin carried the same figure, but against a backdrop of three interconnected gears, which were supposed to represent the federal, local, and state government.


This was one of the reverse design candidates for the 2013 Five Star Generals Silver Dollar. It was based on the World War II Victory Medal and shows the allegorical figure of Nike standing victorious with a broken sword in her hands. The actual design depicted the Leavenworth Lamp to represent the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.


This design was one of the candidates for the 2013 Fort McHenry National Monument Quarter of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. For this coin, the Mint actually generated two separate sets of candidates after the first set was criticized by the reviewing committees. This design from the second set features a cannon in the foreground of a view from within Fort McHenry with a flag in the background. The final selected design depicted fireworks and a flag to represent the Defender’s Day celebration.


This potential reverse design for the 2013 White Mountain National Forest Quarter featured the image of a moose dominating the foreground with a lake and mountains in the background. The final selected design featured a view of mountains and a lake with some trees to either side of the foreground.

Part 2 of this article will follow later this week.

Facebook Twitter Email


  1. Mr. Kairu says

    I would agree on most of them… but I personally liked the White Mountain that was chosen. Simple yet elegant. 🙂

  2. A Bob says

    Give me some moose on the parks commemorative next year. Nice bold animal designs please. No Eagles that look like seagulls.

  3. fmtransmitter says

    @Dusty: Yes, I agree, I stay away from World 5 ounce when I can get US pucks, they are the best bang for the buck IMHO…

  4. vaughnster says

    Teddy Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens must be rolling over in their graves. Some of the designs look better suited for game tokens.

  5. says

    I always enjoy these reflective posts. While I feel the army gold coin did turn out well, I also believe the rejected design looks better. I feel the same way about the “Common Defence” platinum coin as well. I was quite unhappy with how that design turned out.

    The chosen design for the Five Star Generals silver dollar was similarly terrible, and had the rejected design been used I am certain the piece would have had better sales. As it is, the only good thing about the Five Star Generals coins was the “test drive” of the mint’s enhanced laser proofing technique that served as the percursor to the enhanced silver eagle.

    The Fort McHenry design (which is also superior to the one they picked) reminded me also of the mess that was the 2015 Saratoga AtB choice. I am a bit surprised not to see that in this post, but perhaps Michael is planning to use it in part two later this week.

  6. Tinto says

    I really like the Army design … too bad they didn’t use it on the gold or even on the dollar …

  7. gary says

    @Ends In Error — in reply to your post from the last thread, the Hawaii P-Mint 5 oz. now goes for $750-$800, the Acadia P $575-$625, and the Denali $325-$375. (ALL IN OGP) Hope this helps.
    FYI all of these have appreciated decently in the past couple of years. It’s still not to late to get back into the series as some of the backdates can be had at good prices with some patience! A complete set in OGP makes for an impressive display.

  8. rpk says

    In case anyone missed out on the first group of Truman and Eisenhower gold First Spouse coins like I did, it appears that the second batches of these coins have been produced and are now in stock again with more than 100 of each available.

  9. Bill says

    Mr.Kairu there are several Dansco Type books on E-Bay under Books and Publications

  10. cagcrisp says

    I would NOT put a lot of faith in the Mint numbers just released. Only 4 items are different than the excel spreadsheet. Most of the Golds items that I follow Appear to have not been updated properly. A LOT of negative numbers. Look for a Large adjustment Upwards next week…

  11. says

    I also favor the chosen White Mountain ATB quarter over the rejected design with the moose in the foreground. Three things: 1) The moose takes up an enormously large area of the rejected coin’s design, 2) moose are certainly not exclusive to the White Mountain Forest of New Hampshire, and 3) it is a National Parks series not a native animals series.

  12. Zaz says

    Anybody notice the spreadsheet numbers are way off? The gold spouses particularly. Numbers seem to be from taken from February?

  13. Dustyroads says

    Me too, I like the designs we have. The `13 Platinum Eagle may have been a slight improvement without the big industrial age gears.

  14. says

    Yellowstone, Ft. McHenry, and Volcanoes ATB’s all share a common theme: they depict objects or particles shooting up into the sky. The depiction of steamy water erupting from a geyser, firepower exploding over a fort, and exploding lava coming from a volcano is difficult to depict with realism on a coin. I would have preferred other designs for these coins –without the aerial displays.

  15. Zephin says

    Yesterday at 1:00 P.M.I received an e-mail from the Mint that my two sets of MOD was shipped.

    Order date was 5/04/15 just after 5:00 P.M…..Oder# USM03215***

  16. Sith says

    I had not thought of that for the El Yunque candidate coin. I absolutely hated Volcanoes but once I saw the released proof product I had to admit a lot of posters here were right from the get-go, and the coin was stunning.

  17. gatortreke says

    @Sith: I don’t particularly like the Volcanoes design, doesn’t move me at all and I have the quarters plus both 5oz coins. I guess the difference of taste is what makes markets.

    I really like the Ft. Henry design above, the cannon practically jumps out of the design. It would make for an excellent enhanced uncirculated coin.

  18. mattarch says

    It would be interesting if the blog post discussed whether the CCAC or CFA voted for these designs, or how close the votes were

  19. Dave SW FL says

    Was there a price decrease on gold mint products over the last 2 weeks? On a cruise and then traveling , so I guess I missed it if it happened.

  20. fmtransmitter says

    I never have done this before but yesterday I found out our vending machine takes $5’s and gives quarters back. I got two turkey quarters and they were so perfect IMO that I put them in protective place. I could not see a single bag mark on either side. That is rare as I always put away ATB quarters as a savings plan but I always see a nick or two. These were at least 69, maybe 70. Fly turkey, flyyyy….

  21. cagcrisp says

    IF Walmart expanded Sales of the Marshal coins nationwide, that could be a Game Changer…

    excerpt from the link:

    “Alice Alt, director of development for the Marshals Museum, also said the U.S. Marshals commemorative coin sales have been healthy with the silver dollar proof recently being named the U.S. Mint’s best-selling commemorative coin of the year. The silver dollar features a marshal holding a warrant that reads “Wanted in Fort Smith.” The coins so far have raised $2.6 million of the $5 million in surcharges allowed by the U.S. Mint.

    The museum is partnering with Walmart to sell the commemorative coins at sporting good departments at the Walmart on Zero Street in Fort Smith and the Walmart in Greenwood. Alt said she hoped that it would lead to a national distribution deal with all Walmart stores.

    “The coin push continues,” Alt said.

    The museum has until the end of the year to meet its $5 million goal in coin sales surcharges. Dunn said he expects the first payment of surcharges to be received later this summer.


  22. D Rittenhouse says

    If the Marshals Service museum had been serious, they would have paid a visit to the Bentonville AR DeathStar a year ago so that Walmart could have purchased the coins from the Mint at a discount (i.e. “Prepaid”) for resale at its retail locations.

    BTW, Walmart and the Mint had a collaboration on dollar coin distribution once upon a time.

    Here’s an excerpt from the Marshals Service coin law.

    Public Law 112–104
    112th Congress

    An Act To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Nation’s first Federal law enforcement agency, the United States Marshals Service.

    (1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall accept prepaid orders for the coins minted under this Act before the issuance of such coins.
    (2) DISCOUNT.—Sale prices with respect to prepaid orders under paragraph (1) shall be at a reasonable discount.

  23. Clark says

    Distribution of anything by Wal-Mart is huge. Five years ago, when I was a v.p. for Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Wal-Mart was distributing over half of all Coca-Cola products sold in North America, which was 100s of millions of cases a year and probably a lot more today. If Wal-Mart were to sell numismatic products, or even bullion, on a system wide basis, potential sales could hit unprecedented levels and reach completely new and previously untapped markets and demographic groups. However, it sounds like they are only doing local trials. Here’s hoping those trials wildly succeed .

  24. Clark says

    BTW, I don’t understand why Wal-Mart would be selling Marshal coins at the sporting goods depts at Ft. Smith and Greenwood stores. There are so-called “Money Stores,” banks, jewerly counters, etc. within Wal-Mart that would seem more appropriate, but I don’t pretend to know how Wal-Mart thinks or operates.

    Also, Amazon.com’s ongoing efforts to sell coins doesn’t look all that successful so far: prices are high and they don’t promote coins much, if at all. Still, Wal-Mart and Amazon are very different business models so who knows what might happen. Interesting stuff!

  25. cagcrisp says

    @Clark, Walmart likes to test things in Arkansas before they move to other parts of the country. The two stores mentioned in the article are closest to the site of the proposed museum.

    The newest concept to be tried in Arkansas is a drive through grocery store. Online you purchase your grocery and the groceries are waiting on you when you arrive at the store. They have one in operation in Bentonville. Not as much selection, but the same cost and you don’t have to go in…

  26. GoldFishin says

    @KCSO, CLARK. CAG- Wal-Mart and US Mint Coins? I have mixed feelings about this, IF it were to ever become a reality. My first gut reaction was……WHAT?……..there’s goes the hobby….all we need is a FranklinMart right next to the cheap shotguns or kitty litter, I will be liquidating my collection and putting the money in real estate, or something else.

    But, After thinking about it for a few more minutes…..I thought there could be an upside if US Mint coins were ever to become a popular item for the walmartians. Not only would it introduce the hobby to millions of new customers, which could theoretically increase demand for older dated moderns and classics, but it would make it very, very, difficult for the goobermint to ever try to seize the public’s bullion again. With millions of Americans holding bullion or commemorative coins purchased at Walmart it would be political suicide to try to do such a thing.
    I have to think about it some more…just pondering out loud.

    @KCSO- my wife and I were at the beach this past weekend with another couple and we were getting ready to go to the local Walmart to pick up a few things. My wife hates saving money and going to Walmart 😉 , but our dear friends showed us this video which completely changed out way of thinking and instead of dreading the trip, we actually had a blast. 😉


  27. Ends in Error says

    Forget all your pipedreams of a Wal- Mart driven bullfest in US Coins. As soon as WM stocks Pogs , the game will be over.

  28. Samuel says

    interesting video–search” two women fight in xxxxxxxx” at utube. you cant sell coins in the xxxxxxxx.

  29. VA Bob says

    Bought a 1987 US Constitution $1 and $5 coin set for my dad at a Kmart here in VA the same year (jewelry department). It didn’t do much for Kmart’s financial future.

  30. KCSO says

    GF – that’s frigg’n hilarious, thanks for sharing, I needed that!

    With the exception on the books, I thought adding the Marshall coins to Wally’s World inventory was ingenious, see.., ya got guns, whiskey jars, a hot chick, and hand cuffs.., all on one coin! Heck yeah, I’d put that smack in the middle of the sporting goods section, it’ll sell like hot cakes, a good ole boys dream token! 😉

  31. Clark says

    Cag–Thanks for clarifying. A pilot at Wal-Mart’s home base makes sense.

    Goldfish–I agree with your second thoughts. As much as I hate to admit it, our hobbyreally isn’t growing. Some might even say it’s dying. It takes a lot of time, passion, a love of history, and money–all things most people lack these days. IMO, anything that expands interest in coin collecting is sorely needed to keep the hobby going. Apart from the intrinsic value of their precious metal content, our collections’ values largely depend on people wanting to collect what we have…now and, especially, in the future.

    I don’t know if Wal-Mart selling coins to mass market consumers will help, but it can’t hurt to create new sales and distribution channels.

  32. Erik H says

    They used to sell coins at Woolworth’s and Sears back in the day. There is a coin store at the Clearwater Sears store in Florida (not owned by Sears).

  33. Ikaika says

    Walmart selling US Mint coins would be one way to create awareness of their products. Can’t imagine going to Walmart to purchase the 5 oz ATB or the Jackie FS 🙂

  34. Dustyroads says

    No comment on the Wallmart thing.

    As zaz said earlier, the Blue Ridge Parkway is up for pre-sell from a few distributors. APMEX has the 5 oz. on Ebay with free shipping. That’s a good deal if you like APMEX, because you will have to pay shipping if you buy from their website.

  35. Ends in Error says

    When WalMart slashes Coin prices 75% to clear dead inventory , numisfreaks will be in luv.

    Yeah lets go with WalMart stocking up.

  36. Sith says

    @Dusty – I had a talk with their customer service, a while back about that disrepency, and other things. Not saying it was me, but they have since improved customer service, ship times, and more importantly they started to offer free shipping when you order over $99. As the current batch of ATBs is over 100 bucks…

  37. Sith says

    Never understood why certain dealers, and APMEX is not the only one, that offer better deals on E-bay, than their own websites. It makes no sense to me.

  38. Rob says


    Ebay is a competitive marketplace and dealers need to price their listings to be more attractive to the buyer. Coin buyers want the best deal possible even if it is only $1 less on a $500 item or free shipping (which seems to be expected anymore). It is all a big game to make quick sales. On their own website they don’t need to be AS competitive. They still do, but not to the extent where a customer can easily compare prices through Ebay.

  39. Dustyroads says

    Sith, APMEX doesn’t offer free shipping on pre-sale items. I was about to take advantage of an e-mail offer for the Blue Ridge with free shipping, then I read the fine print.

  40. D Rittenhouse says

    hw said
    Earlier today, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) announced its latest 2015 $2 Triple Deuce Currency Set offering to be sold on June 16, 2015. Cost is $59.95 which is $5 more than last year. Limited to 3,000 sets. Here is the link:


    Thanks for the alert. It appears that Set will be the first product from the BEP’s Moneyfactory store to include a Series 2013 $2 note. I don’t really understand why all the notes in that Set aren’t Series 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *