Treasury Secretary Jacob J. “Jack” Lew is serving his final days in office.
The Barack Obama Administration is winding down.
Come Jan. 20, 2017, or shortly thereafter, a new team of Cabinet secretaries will be installed to carry on the work of government.
One of the historical mile markers for every Treasury secretary is an official medal.
On Nov. 17, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee made its design choices for Lew’s medal.
The obverse and reverse selected were the same ones deemed most appropriate by the Commission of Fine Arts.
The CFA is the other government body that consults with the Treasury secretary in coin and medal design matters.
The front-facing portrait with an American flag behind Lew strikes a patriotic note.
The banner below the portrait provides historical context, “76th Secretary of the Treasury.”
On the reverse is another patriotic theme.
The Statue of Liberty is in the foreground and the main building on Ellis Island is behind.
Lew’s father was an immigrant from Poland.
An inscription reads, “I would fight for Liberty so long as my strength lasted.” The name of the author, Harriet Tubman, appears below the building.
Tubman is important to Lew as a former slave, abolitionist and women’s rights pioneer whom Lew has slated to appear on the $20 Federal Reserve Note when it is redesigned in 2020 or thereabouts.
After the medal is presented to Lew, collectors will likely have the opportunity to buy bronze duplicates for their collections.
A three-inch bronze medal honoring the 74th Treasury secretary, Henry M. “Hank” Paulson Jr., who served President George W. Bush during the financial crisis, is available on the United States Mint website. Price is $39.95.
Collectors might appreciate having a Lew medal . It can be a reminder that he was the Treasury secretary whose view of Alexander Hamilton's portrait on the $10 changed for the better when the Broadway play, "Hamilton," became a hit.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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