What is the best US Mint coin design so far this year?

The topic of U.S. coin design has been in the spotlight recently, following public complaints from some members of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).

Shortly after the criticisms, the US Mint opened its doors to some members of the press to explain their coin design process and allow some of their sculptors to respond. Here’s a video segment posted on Wallet Pop and an article from Numismatic News.

A week later, the CCAC voted to form a subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence at their June 28 public meeting. So far the CCAC and subcommittee have adopted a list of 17 characteristics of design excellence and created a visual reference guide. The goal of these efforts will be to help “ignite the renaissance” in coin design. Responses to the subcommittee have ranged from positive to skeptical.



As a change of pace, I thought it would be interesting to have a poll allowing readers to vote for the best US Mint coin or medal design so far this year. By my count, there have been 11 different coins or medals released for circulation or issued with a unique design on at least one side of the coin.

I wanted to make this a “mid-year” poll, so I did not include the second half designs for America the Beautiful Quarters and Presidential Dollars, even though they have technically been issued in the component proof sets. I will likely revisit this topic with a second half or full year design poll at the end of the year.

Images of each coin or medal issued with a new design during the first half of 2010 appear below, followed by the poll.

2010 Lincoln Cent
2010 Hot Springs Quarter
2010 Yellowstone Quarter
2010 Millard Fillmore Dollar
2010 Franklin Pierce Dollar
2010 Native American Dollar
2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar
2010 Boy Scouts of America Centennial Silver Dollar
2010 Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold
2010 Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold
Women Airforce Service Pilots Medal


 



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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Although the design is good.It surprises me to see so many people pick the Sac ball park token that no one wants in their pocket.I don't think I want to make a final decision until Lincoln comes out.I think the Lincoln Gold will rule the year and sell out quick as will the dollars and medals.

  2. Craig says

    Can I vote for 'None'?

    I've grown exceedingly frustrated with the Mint over the past few years. Both the Presidential Dollars + National Parks Quarters seem like such a cash-grab attempt to follow on the coat-tails of the State Quarters. Additionally, the fact that the Presidential Dollars even exist is downright dumb, in my opinion. Folks barely want the Scajawea goldens. Wait, most don't even know they exist.

    Sorry to vent, but this post really made me realize how quickly the Mint's product offering has slipped.

    Can't wait to hear what excuse they come up with for not doing some kind of 25th anniversary American Eagle set!

  3. Anonymous says

    I did not think any of the 2010 designs hit a grand slam. I'd say a double at best. A rather disappointing year— save perhaps for the soon to be released one ounce platinum proof.

  4. Anonymous says

    If there's no 25th Anniversary Eagle sets next year, I'm sure the reason cited will be a shortage of blanks due to having to fulfill public demand for the bullion versions first by law.

    All we have to do to get proof and collectible bullion versions made is to somehow convince the precious metals investing public to ease up on their demand. Piece of cake, right? 🙂

  5. Anonymous says

    I vote present as most lack significant inspirational symbolism in combination with the pot metal they are stamped on. Quarters are getting a little old. No ASE proof. Too bad Sac dollar can't be a silver proof. Maybe I am just a disgruntled protest cry baby non vote.

  6. Anonymous says

    The blind justice design for the platinum would be the best design for this year. If that one isn't chosen, they're beyond hope. The park quarters also have very good designs.

  7. Anonymous says

    Where can I see the design of the 2010 Platinum? I remember seeing the designs that were being considered, but I never saw which one was chosen…..btw…I thought there some great designs to choose from. I'll go back and see if I can find the designs and give "my" input for what it's worth.

  8. Anonymous says

    R-01 was the design I was referring to in my post (2:03). That one was recommended by the CCAC. The CFA recommended the torch design because it compliments the obverse or some such reason. While true, it's not even remotely as striking and the platinum obverse is rather unspectacular to begin with. They shouldn't be complimenting it; they should be trying to replace it.

  9. Anonymous says

    Does anyone know when the Platinum design will be known? It's less than a month away to be issued.

  10. Anonymous says

    Given the designs shown, my choices are 1)The Sac dollar. This is really the only Native reverse design that I've liked so far. 2)The new penny reverse. 3)The WASP medal. However I don't care for the depiction of the large female figure. It looks to generic and cartoon-ish. Same goes for that sad bison depiction on the Yellowstone quarter.

    All that being said, I wish there were better choices.

  11. steve1942 says

    Sad, my vote goes to a medal, not a coin. With the subject matter, we could have done better.

  12. Anonymous says

    I was going to vote for the Sac, but the font just ruins it all for me. I choose Lincoln Cent instead since it's a neat throwback to earlier coinage, and I do like shield nickels and two cent pieces.

    After all the products release, it would be a close call between James Buchanan's Liberty and the platinum eagle (assuming they pick one of the good designs, oh wait…. then I suppose this is an unlikely finalist).

  13. Anonymous says

    Can't believe the Sacagawea dollar is ahead at this point.

    Different strokes for different folks I guess….

  14. Anonymous says

    I vote the AGB proof ahead of everything listed. It's a classic design unlike everything else. A second would probably be the gold spouse Buchanan coin (due to the obverse design). Yes…the gold spouse Lincoln will sell out, but only due to flippers jumping in.

  15. Anonymous says

    All are unworthy of addition to my coin collection of past and former issues and designs. I haven't ordered or bought any in almost 2 years. Show me uninspired designs and 5th rate garbage and I'll show you money tucked away in my wallet. The U.S. Mint plummeted from the number one spot to that of last in my opinion. What a pity, who's responsible? The Director? Fire him or her.

  16. Anonymous says

    I really liked the 'Shield' reverse on the Lincoln Cent. It had a great 19th Century nostalgic feel to it and I think it looks great on a small coin.

  17. Tim says

    To the people who are voting for the Boy Scouts and Disabled Veterans coins, you do realize this is a poll on how good the coins look, not "which coin depicts the most popular thing"?

    I have to assume you are voting for them simply because you like the Boy Scouts or support disabled veterans, because those coins are as ugly as sin, and your taste can't be that bad.

  18. Anonymous says

    Craig, I agree that some of the coins are a cash-grab attempt, but on the other hand that is what every mint in the world does with every release of every coin. Every coin is made for the sole purpose of making money, in multiple literal senses.

    I agree that the presidential dollars are dumb, but I'm glad they are making dollar coins that aren't Sacajawea. I didn't see the point of putting such an uninspiring figure on a coin simply because they wanted to dig through history to find a politically correct woman figure.

    If they wanted to make dollar coins popular they should have put an already popular figure on them, and not hope that an interest develops in her because everyone just decides to go read history books. The reality is that nobody cares about Sacajawea and never will, so her being on coins in your pocket is just confusing and weird.

  19. Anonymous says

    It would be nice to see a return to Lady Liberty on our circulating coinage. It seems like we've been doomed with ugly coinage for so long.

    The Roosevelt Dime (64 years) and Jefferson Nickel (72 years) need a rest. These two pitiful and ugly coin series (which is what they are whether you want to admit it or not) need to end. If I had the option, I'd love to cancel the America the Beautiful quarters program (oops, I hope I don't get sued by that slime of a director Ed Moy and the mint for using the name).

    What’s also funny is that of all programs to create for the dollar program back in 2007, we ended up putting MORE presidents on coins. How unique! Pfft. These yellow tinted tokens are a sad excuse for a coin. There are rocks that look better than them. The only good thing to come from this series are the first spouse Liberty coins.

    It's no wonder old American coinage is so popular. There is no inspiration, art, or Americana on our coinage today. It is ugly, pitiful, and political. The stiff and chintzy requirements keep real designers and artists out of their program. Proof? Just look in your pockets. Then compare that to the magnificent coinage of the past.

  20. Anonymous says

    I don't know, I always thought the vast majority of old American coins was dull and ugly, until Teddy Roosevelt gave it a kick in the pants. Then we went to dead presidents on coins, and it got dull and ugly again.

  21. Anonymous says

    i like a nice clean design many of the coins are way to busy with lots of stuff on them the 2010 cent is a very clean design

  22. Anonymous says

    Man, these blog comments have become nothing but a constant barrage of whining! I'm going to have to quit coming here anymore, reading nothing but bad attitude comments day after day after day is starting to wear me down! Nothing but bad feelings all the time. It truly does take it's toll.

    Just for once, I'd like to read comments on these blogs that have a happy vibe to them.

  23. Anonymous says

    Well it's not too surprising seeing critical commentary of the US Mint. I mean just look what's being offered. It's like a car wreck on the side of the road lol

  24. Anonymous says

    To the commenter above who sees too many negative comments. Most people here see the same thing the mint commissions are seeing. To wit: uninspiring designs, literal representations instead of symbolism, lack of creativity, and there is a concern the mint is selectively eliminating some designs before the commission ever sees them. These commissions and committees are composed of art experts, coin experts, and historians. I have a separate complaint and that is the scrap metal like material many coins are composed of for the general collecting public. The commems so far are silver and there are still some gold coins but these are out of reach for most and unimaginative other than the buffalo and liberty spouse which are reproductions of classic coins.

  25. Anonymous says

    Hey Michael,

    No offense meant here.But when I look at all your notable auctions.All I see is people bidding that have more money then brains.Some or all of these auctions are just plain over rated ms or pr 70 coins where people are paying for a label rather then the coin.So when I look at these so called notable auctions.All I can do is thank god I'm not stupid enough to fall for these plastic coated over graded scam jobs produced by PCGS and NGC.I sure hope others spend their money more wisely and buy the coin and not the scams.Your notable auctions only prove one thing to me.A fool and their money soon shall part.

  26. Anonymous says

    The Women Airforce Service Pilots Medal is a good design however it is not a coin since it has no face value. Had it been a coin I think it would have done well.

  27. Anonymous says

    I'm glad to see the post above on the notable auctions. I've also been wondering about this for quite a while. It's quite amazing that people fall for this, and I might add particularly in the case of PCGS plastic. They seem to be arrogant enough to state on their price guide that the prices are meant for "PCGS graded coins ONLY!" WOW! What are we to believe that PCGS opinions on our coins are the last word??? And should a particular coin be more valuable just because there are many of them out there but just a small handful in PCGS plastic. You are so right – "A fool and his/her money are soon separated." Especially if they consider the plastic and label and ignore the coin itself.

  28. Anonymous says

    Maybe we should all write letters or emails to the Mint regarding the pathetic designs they've been putting out. Everyone who reads this should write one and they should all tell five people they know to write too. If they are completely flooded with these comments from the people that collect what comes out from it, maybe they will be more compelled to change. More inclined than they are with what they hear from the CFA and CCAC. I think change will come when they hear the outcry from the people.

  29. Anonymous says

    As sort of a related post, I have noticed a few interesting things on one of the Mint's best designs in years: the UHR Gold Eagle.

    The premiums on the First Strikes and Proof-likes have leveled off and/or are now dropping. However, the MS70s appear to be creeping up in price. This is truly one of the most unique coins released by the Mint in decades. It shows that the Mint has the technology to manufacture amazing coins, but not the creative ability to design them (the UHR's design was taken from a century ago).

    IMO, naysayers of the UHR are only upset that there was a relatively high mintage, which has nothing to do with the coin's design. If its mintage was more in line with the 2008 W AGB, then there would be universal applause (except for the few expected contrarians).

  30. Anonymous says

    The only reason the 70 grades are creeping up is because the amount of idiots who believe in that crap plastic labeling is creeping up.There is no such thing as a perfect coin.If you believe there is.Go spend some of that idiotic money on a coin scope and you'll know why there is no such thing as a so called scam ms70 grade.
    Collect because you love the design or the history.But if you bank on TPGs to carry your big yields in the future.Your betting on a loss.Eventually people will wake up and see these scammers for what they are.

  31. Anonymous says

    I really do wonder about the folks who drop big money on "First Strikes" and other such vague monikers such as CAC labels etc. In the long run they encourage scammers for who the profit motive is much much greater than the intrinsic value of the coin and what it symbolizes. To me it is hard to understand why and how we would as true collectors trust a TPG opinion rather that have our own for the coins which we possess. I actually really like to hold the original mint encapsulated coin and examining it rather than have it slabbed with a label. In most cases I tent to pay much more attention to coins I can handle and tend to put aside my slab units. A true shame. Recently I received a mint state quarter dated 1965. The coins has excellent surfaces to my naked eye and the edges are prefectly ribbed without any wear. It got me thinking how a coin woudl have lasted so long in circulation without a hint of its real age. I keep this coin and look at it often as if trying to uravel its history. The UHR is a very nice coin but hardly unique. As a matter of fact I would (if I could afford it) much rather own an original St Gaudens from the early years.

  32. Anonymous says

    The coin that you have been looking for is finally available on eBay. One is raw and in its original capsule from the Mint (unslabbed), its seller claiming and saying all sorts of wonderful things about its condition but the photo is crappy and the seller said that was his best he could do. Another one, pretty average photo but slabbed MS69 from a so-called top grader. Oh, and the seller is half way around the world from you. But you must have the coin, can't wait no longer. Now, go ahead, buy the raw one (sarcasm).

  33. Anonymous says

    I think that the designers at the mint have become so taxed by all of these rotating reverse designs – they've run out of good ideas or just need a break. Our coinage has reached a point where it lacks order and is difficult at times to identify what you have in the palm of your hand. Every time I see something that I don't recognize in my pocket change – my first instinct is that its foreign.

  34. Anonymous says

    One man said to another man "Hey, did you hear that the mint is coming out with a new quarter this year?" The other man said "Yeah, so what." Moy how times have changed.

  35. Mark says

    The problems with the coin designs recently are the same as the Charles Barber era in the late 19th century. Congress is setting too many rules and true artistic competition is not being encouraged. However we have to guard against some of the extreme, abstract numismatic art coming out of Europe. I agree that we need to revisit the concepts of allegory and symbolism. It's a bad sign for culture when we have to completely rehash old designs instead of building off of them to create new beauty. Saint Gaudens and AA Weinman took the best of classical and Renaissance coinage and gave them a modern and distinctly American flavor. One of the other problems today is the absurdly low relief of the designs and the almost computerized look of most of the designs. Some look like they were put together with Powerpoint clip art.

    Also if we're going to have a series of coins they need to have different artists for each coin to avoid the cookie cutter appearance of the Presidential series. I'm not whining, I'm pleading that the Mint take these cries for change seriously. Teddy Roosevelt where are you?

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