Women’s History Month: Lady Liberty is a Black woman on new $100 gold coin

American Liberty 225th Anniversary 100 dollar gold coin.

American Liberty 225th Anniversary 100 dollar gold coin.

A new commemorative coin from the U.S. Mint and Treasury features a fresh depiction of Lady Liberty. With a crown of stars in her hair and a toga-like dress, she’s as patriotic as ever. She’s also, for the first time on an officially minted coin, portrayed as a black woman.

The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms-including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.

These 24-karat gold coins will be issued biennially. A corresponding series of medals struck in .999 silver, with the same designs featured on the gold coins, will also be available. The one-ounce coin will be encapsulated and placed in a custom designed, black wood presentation case. A 225th anniversary booklet with Certificate of Authenticity will accompany each coin.

Mint spokesman Michael White said the gold coins will be sold for about $1,500, a price based on the price of the metal. The Mint, White said, also will sell silver versions of the coin, which will cost about $40 to $50. Both can be purchased at the Mint’s website, www.usmint.gov come April 6.

Department of the Treasury officials, including Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, joined United States Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson in the unveiling of the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin.

Struck with a proof finish at the West Point Mint, the one-ounce gold piece launches at noon ET on April 6, 2017. The coin’s pricing information was revealed in a document dated Feb. 27 and published Mar. 3 in the Federal Register.

The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin design is unique in that it portrays Liberty as an African-American woman, a departure from previous classic designs.

The obverse (heads) design depicts a profile of Liberty wearing a crown of stars, with the inscriptions “LIBERTY,” “1792,” “2017,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

The reverse (tails) design depicts a bold and powerful eagle in flight, with eyes toward opportunity and a determination to attain it. Inscriptions include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “1OZ. .9999 FINE GOLD,” and “100 DOLLARS.”

The obverse was designed by Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Justin Kunz and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, while the reverse was designed by AIP Designer Chris Costello and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.

“We are very proud of the fact that the United States Mint is rooted in the Constitution,” said Jeppson. “Our founding fathers realized the critical need for our fledgling nation to have a respected monetary system, and over the last 225 years, the Mint has never failed in its mission.”

Congress created the Mint in 1792 by passing the Mint Act, which also established the first mint in Philadelphia. Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Sarah Bloom Raskin said the first coins, half dimes, were struck in 1793 and were believed to be made out of silverware donated by first President George Washington and his wife Martha. Today, the Mint stands as the nation’s only manufacturer of legal tender coins.