U.S. & World Coin News and Articles

US Mint Artistic Infusion Program

In my previous article I asked the readers of the PCGS eCollector what changes could be happening for TrueView in 2014. I received a number of emails, and a number of people agreed that having more options for a background on the TrueView download page would be a nice addition. A number also seemed to like the possibility of having a coin photographed through the holder if a reholder is not desired. I've spoken to Don Willis about your feedback, and I plan on meeting with our technical staff to see how we can implement some of these changes.

In the meantime, and at the risk of shamelessly plugging my services, with the introduction of our new hologram at the end of the month it be an ideal time to include TrueView as part of your $5 reholder special submissions.

January 10th, 2014 was the application deadline for the US Mint's Artistic Infusion Program. According to the National Endowment for the Arts website the program seeks to "[take] coin and medal design in new directions and trying new approaches as part of our endeavor to ensure that the designs on United States coins and medals are of the highest quality to best represent our country for years to come. "


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The AIP started in 2003, and whether the program has had an impact on the state of US coinage is debatable. Certainly there has been an increased amount of coin designs every year since then (hence the need for more artists), but I think most of us can agree that we would like quality over quantity. According to a MarketWatch article on the subject, "an advisory body found that Mint artists were too regimented to be very creative, consigned to the same old styles on coin after coin." While this damning statement may be a journalistic flourish, the prospect of new and exciting coin designs that break the mold is a very attractive one.

However, one must keep expectations for the program realistic, according to the article:

"Lots of designs might be inspiring but not "coinable" - for example, if one portion might outweigh the rest of the coin and prevent the metal from flowing correctly. It has to work well within defined borders, not like a watercolor that can ooze to the edges of a canvas. And it has to be recognizable on a very small surface."

The requirements, and conditions of the program are also quite intensive. Having the requested designs is one thing, but in addition there needs to be a resume, personal statement, 10 samples of other artistic work, and specific eligibility requirements:

  • Has at least five years of relevant work experience, or has received specialized training in his or her artistic field, such as a degree or certification.
  • Derives a portion of his or her individual earned income from his or her art or areas related to his or her art.
  • Has experience in digital art techniques such as use of Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, Wacom tablets or similar technology
  • Has a professional portfolio that includes published or publically displayed art.

This would be a tremendous effort on the part of the applicant. Surely such an individual would have a great enthusiasm for coins and medals, and would very much look forward to their work.

For me, I would love to design a US Coin... however, not being a US citizen, I am ineligible for the program. But I didn't let that stop me from playing around with a design.


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I've thought a lot about making a Miss Liberty coin design. We haven't seen Miss Liberty on a circulating coin in a long time and I think that's a shame since I think most of us value our liberty more than we do politicians (influential to the cause of Liberty though they may have been). However, cultural standards of beauty have changed since she last appeared on a coin. So what would a modern Miss Liberty look like? Who should she be? I racked my brain about it for a while, and could only think of one person who would be my Miss Liberty - my wife. She is my favorite American after all. So I made a design based on a wedding photo of her, mainly using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop with the use of a Wacom tablet.

When I was happy with my finished design I showed it to one or two fellow collectors who thought it was cool, but the real test was my Miss Liberty herself. What was her response to my design? While flattered her feedback was "My mouth looks weird." Oh well. I guess it needs some tweaking.

If you have any coin designs you'd like to share, feel free to forward one to me at [email protected].

Sources:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-us-mint-is-looking-to-collect-a-few-more-artists-2014-01-09

http://arts.gov/grants-individuals/united-states-mint-call-for-artists

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