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Long Beard's Blog

20 Nov 2020

America Turns 200!

Coins-United States | Long Beard

To me, these coins--like all our coins--are symbols of our nation's 200 years of freedom. They are small pieces of our historical and cultural heritage--passing from hand-to-hand and linking us to the cherished ideals of our forefathers. LIBERTY was the cry of the American Revolution--and LIBERTY has been so proclaimed and inscribed on each and every coin since the creation of the U.S. Mint in 1792. -Mary Brooks, Director of the U.S. Mint, June 9, 1975. (From the Gerald R. Ford Library Collection) Enjoy!





In 1973 an open contest to the American public was announced by the Department of the Treasury for the purpose of designs for three U.S. coins honoring and celebrating the forth coming 200th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence The quarter, half dollar and dollar. Upon selection, each of the artists would receive $5,000 as well as one of the first coins struck from the press at Philadelphia during an initial release ceremony. Circulating coinage (business strikes) will be struck at Philadelphia bearing no mint mark and at Denver bearing a D mint mark,. Of which, all bear a dual date of 1776-1976 on the obverse with production beginning in 1975. As a result, no coin of the three denominations were struck bearing the date 1975. Proof versions, consisting of copper-nickel clad and 90% silver clad were reserved for San Francisco and having an S mint mark. Winning selections for each design were announce March 6, 1974 with production beginning in August of 1975. Anticipation was so high that Mint Director Mary Brooks ensured enough 1974 dated coinage be retained to ease any shortcomings should a collector and general public rush ensue.




The Quarter Dollar

A colonial drummer boy reverse designed by Jack L. Ahr. Mr. Ahr studied at the Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio and continued his studies at John Herron Institute of Design at Indianapolis, Indian followed by the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois. He opened his company, Jack Ahr Design and Sales in 1972 which specialized in custom products such as sales and employee incentives awards. In the 16 years prior, Mr. Ahr was employed as an artist and director for numerous companies, industrial markets, schools and universities designing such items as rings, medals, pins and commemorative medallions.




the Half Dollar

Independence Hall was selected from a design submitted by artist Seth G. Huntington. Mr. Huntington was the Director and Manager of the Custom Art Department at Brown and Bigelow of Minneapolis, Minnesota which specialized in world leading calendar and advertising design. He also works as a sculptor and potter creating highly detailed pieces sculpt in wax and cast in sterling. Mr. Huntington graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as well as having served on the faculty at the West St. Paul Arts and Science Center.




The Dollar

Dennis R. Williams' design of the Liberty Bell and moon grace the reverse of the Eisenhower. At 21, Mr. Williams was in his junior year at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio working on a degree in sculpture. Coincidentally, as he was having design issues, his instructor assigned the task of enrolling him in the contest.





As most of you are aware, I chose my blog post somewhat carefully to be interesting, informative and as enjoyable to read as they are to write. This one, I must say, was truly a pleasure researching and writing as it discusses the individuals behind the coin. Specifically, ordinary citizens designing a coin to represent ordinary citizens. Some how it does not get any better! Thanks for reading and the forth coming replies.



The three coin obverse image is courtesy of Coinweek. I felt it appropriate for the Bicentennial logo.

Comments

ZanzibarCoins

Level 4

Great blog, with some great information! I love these coins, and I snatch up any that I come across. :) My favorite is definitely the Eisenhower dollar, although that is probably just because I collect Ike's, and have always really liked them. I do love the drummer boy on the quarter, but there is just something about the design of the Eisenhower dollar's reverse that I love. Lol

Longstrider

Level 6

Great informative blog. Amazing how many people here have a sentimental memory to go with this set. Unlike most people I love the big 'ol Ike. He is a big favorite in my neck of the desert. Thanks..

TheNumisMaster

Level 4

I own a few of these sets. I enjoyed collecting those coins when I was first starting out in numismatics. Thanks for sharing!

Kepi

Level 6

Great blog! I like the $1...Liberty Bell and Moon design. Thanks for the information.

Long Beard

Level 4

The idea for this particular blog came about from a post on another forum. A new member, and I would presume younger, posed the question about a "drummer boy" quarter. Reading the post I don't believe he knew what they were or why they exist. What I am grateful for, giving credit to the Mint, is that every coin and product was struck and released in such high numbers that even today they are easily obtainable on even the tightest budget. As Stumpy eluded to, these coins have a value far greater than monetary, even to those born after 1976. I myself was eight when these were released in 1975, one year into the hobby, and finding one today still excites me in the same way as back then. Over the years I have pulled every coin from circulation as they found me and put them in coin tubes, literally a hundred or so combined. I wish to thank Sun for the post since now I'll set them free by handing one out to any younger person I encounter. I am thrilled that this has brought back such memories for you guys. I had not seen that coming as I wrote it. Thank you, and keep collecting!

Mike B

Level 7

I guess allot of own this set and we all should. It's history patriotic and what we stand for. With our next anniversary coming up the way the mint is turning out coins . I'm afraid the designs will not stand up for our c.ountry. Others have the same feeling. I just pray they don't have these low mintages. Make enough so Americans can buy them. The value will be in our heart. Thanks. !! Be safe be well.

Stumpy

Level 4

Oh Long beard, the memories your blog brings to me!! What a time in our young lives these coins represent! First, the set our insurance agent gave my Dad, I still have it and his name label "Tommy T. Ray" is still prominently attached to the outer package 44 years later. Then the sets my Dad ordered, one for me, one for him. I will have to put a proof set at the top of my "to get" list, somehow, I haven't gotten one over the years! Great blog, wonderful memories. Thank you for that! If your desire was to stimulate thought, appreciation, and love for these coins and what they represented, you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. The memories associated with this particular set literally makes my eyes water!

The quarter still catches my eye when i see it in circulation. Im' excited what they will have for the 250th anniversary.

"SUN"

Level 5

These are nice coins and sets to introduce people to the hobby. Great blog

Mokie

Level 5

As a young collector in the early 70's, the prospect of real commemoratives after 21 years was intoxicating. My Dad bought all the bicentennial medals and I even have that set of pewter "first" medals they issued. Of course I also got the proof and uncirculated silver sets as well as the 1975 and 1976 proof sets. I must say, even at that time, I was not entirely impressed with the designs. I did like the Quarter but the Half Dollar and Dollar were dull to me. I am hoping we have some interesting designs in 2026. I am also hoping they are circulating commemoratives as well.

Golfer

Level 5

Still have the 5 proof sets I ordered from the mint. They made a lot of them, so they are easy to find at a good price. Still love my sets though. Its amazing that the quarter is still found in circulation today all the time ! Nice post, brings back great memories.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

This is a wonderful blog, thanks so much for writing about this. I graduated high school in 1976. The Bicentennial was such an important and celebrated event. I remember it well, it was a time when we celebrated America for it's greatness and everybody was proud to be an American. My church celebrated the 4th with an all day picnic and we had all sorts of competitions. My best friend and I won the 3 legged race and each got an Eisenhower Bicentennial dollar and I still have mine. Those were good times for our country. I miss that. Now I'm singing a sadder sing of freedom. How times have changed in only 44 years. For our younger members that must seem like an eternity. I couldn't envision that passage of time when I was 18, but it went by pretty quick. You know, I still find Bicentennial quarters in my change, a few each year, in pretty good condition too! Thanks for sharing. I should have known about these coins but I didn't. It was a really good read!

CentSearcher

Level 4

Great informative blog. My personal favorite is the drummer boy design. Stay Safe!

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