It’s been 83 years since Lady Liberty walked off the U.S. quarter, and there are those who think it’s time she return.
“We took Liberty off coinage in the early 20th century,” said Gary Marks, chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. “It is the Holy Grail of coin collectors to put Liberty and not dead presidents on circulating coinage.”
For that reason, the CCAC unanimously adopted a resolution at its March 5 meeting calling for Congress to authorize an American Liberty Coinage Program beginning in 2017.
The proposal is to keep Washington on the quarter and Roosevelt on the dime, but to mint additional circulating coinage of each denomination alongside them containing new images of Liberty.
The CCAC was clear that it wants minting of the Roosevelt dime and Washington quarter to continue during the new Liberty coin program.
“Each president on a coin has a constituency,” Marks said, “and any effort to take them off goes nowhere quickly.”
So the plan is to mint a new Liberty dime, as well as the Roosevelt dime, in 2017. It would be a one year Liberty issue, retired at the end of 2017.
In 2018, a new Liberty quarter would be minted, as well as the Washington America the Beautiful quarters. It also would be a one-year issue, retired at the end of 2018.
Then in 2019, a dime with a new Liberty design would be minted along with the Roosevelt dime of that year, and the following year a newly designed Liberty quarter would be put in circulation besides the 2020 Washington ATB coins.
The Liberty series would continue to alternate between the dime and quarter for a total of 10 years. During that time, five different Liberty dimes and five different Liberty quarters would be produced.
Also proposed is a new Liberty half dollar series issued as a numismatic product. The half dollar Liberty design would change every 10 years.
The Liberty coin program would also provide a new platform “for the advancement of American medallic art through a medium where Americans commonly encounter public art – the nation’s pocket change,” the CCAC resolution states.
Not only would the Liberty coin program appeal to collectors, it should also help the U.S. Treasury, Marks said.
“When the state quarters program was introduced, Mint seigniorage (the profit the Mint makes on each coin) went way up, and that money gets turned back to the Treasury to offset the deficit,” Marks said.
“So if we could produce a Liberty coin series that would generate a lot of interest, more coins would be drawn out of circulation and drive up seigniorage through increased production of coinage.”
That’s a good fiscal reason why Congress should act on the proposal, he said.
The program was introduced to Congress last year, but wasn’t successful. Marks said it will be introduced again in the upcoming weeks with more support.