American Innovation Dollar Coin Introduced by the Mint - A Series Modeled on the Success of Previous Programs

Fresh off the heels of the Presidential Dollar Coin Program, the U.S. Mint has launched yet another dollar coin program.  Taking a page off of the State and Parks Quarters, the new dollars will feature all 50 State and D.C. and the five U.S. Territories. The announcement: The American Innovation $1 Coin calls for the minting and issuance of non-circulating American Innovation $1 coins for each state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory in the order each State ratified the Constitution of the United States or were admitted into the Union. The program’s duration is a 14-year period that begins in January 2019 and goes through 2033 at the rate of 4 coins per year.  14 Years.  But wait, there’s more!

To pique interest, there’s an inaugural dollar coin this year – a generic one, so to speak.  The introductory coin will feature a shared obverse design.  The obverse features a representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile with the inscriptions "IN GOD WE TRUST" and "$1."  Sound familiar?  Yes, it looks very similar to the Presidential Dollar reverse.  And, drumroll please, we have edge designs again – the edges of all $1 coins are incused with their year of minting, a mint mark, and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."  Either the Presidential Dollar program was more beloved that I thought, or the Mint ran out of time, or there aren’t very many creative people employed by the Mint these days. 

Like the Sacagawea/Native American Dollars and the Presidential Dollars, the coin will be struck in an alloy of 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese, 2% Nickel, Balance Copper.  The size is also the same.  I imagine they will also tarnish/oxidize the same. They’re quite expensive too – the Mint wants a whopping $6.95 for the Proof Introductory coin.  That would put the 2019 Proof Set of 4 at about $28, a far cry above the $18.95 they got for the Presidential Proof sets.

On to the reverse design.  From the Mint: “One of the Nation’s greatest strengths is its entrepreneurial spirit and the remarkable innovation and discovery it unleashes. The United States Mint is proud to celebrate innovation, honor the spirit of America, and introduce this new $1 coin program with the 2018 American Innovation $1 Proof Coin2.”  The reverse for the 2018 coin is to bear the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and AMERICAN INNOVATORS along with a representation of the signature of President George Washington on the first United States patent issued in 1790. Now, I saw the candidates for selection, here they are:

 

Cowboy hat aside, I thought there were some attractive, and practical-to-strike designs.  This is the winning design:

To be completely honest, this wouldn’t have been my choice, but thankfully, it’s only going to be struck for a few weeks.  Does anyone even know what was the first patent issued?

On July 31, 1790 Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by President George Washington. Hopkins was born in Vermont, but was living in Philadelphia, Pa. when the patent was granted. Fertilizer.  Hmm, I wonder if that will make a coin and if so, Vermont or Pennsylvania?

Anyway, the 2019 dollars will be: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia.  I did a little googling and came up with this:

 “Even though Delaware is the oldest state in the nation, there are few things that we can claim to have invented.”

  1. Space suits
  2. Jell-O gelatin and pudding mixes
  3. Chemicals
  4. Teflon coating
  5. Drugs (the legal kind)
  6. Baby wipes
  7. Fuel cells
  8. Tang, Crystal Light, and Kool-Aid mixes (for the Space Suits)
  9. Commercial food service equipment
  10. Feminine care products
  11. Shake 'N Bake
  12. Beer and booze
  13. Paint

I’m dying here.  Is it any wonder that the design candidates for Delaware haven’t been release yet?  I can’t wait to get to Alaska.  Hopefully, Kentucky will pay homage to Bourbon.

But seriously, I can’t help but wonder how viable this program is.  The Legislation for the Act was fairly rushed.  To me, it seemed miraculous that the Mint actually approved a design and got a coin struck in 6 months.  The coins are for “collectors only.”  No circulating coins – that will make it tricky for all the kids who jumped on the State Quarter bandwagon in 1999.  Will the Mint ever see a program that successful again?  It could be a boon to collectors.  I can already envision error coins and very small mintages.  Am I going to jump on this train?  Heck yeah, even if it is a trainwreck.  How about you?

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