Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right For the first time in history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on a U.S. coin
News / Weird & Wonderful

For the first time in history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on a U.S. coin

African American Lady Liberty
Photograph: U.S. Mint and Treasury

We've got two pieces of new for you: it's the U.S. Mint and Treasury's 225th anniversary (happy birthday!) and, to celebrate, the department is releasing a new $100 coin that will depict Lady Liberty as an African American woman for the first time ever on U.S. currency.

The 24-karat gold coin, which will be released on April 6, is the first of a series of commemorative ones that will feature Lady Liberty as Asian, Hispanic and Indian "to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States," announced the Mint in an official statement. The various coins will be made available every two years and will also be accompanied by a series of silver medals featuring the same images.

The coin was designed by artist Justin Kunz and sculpted by Mint sculptor/engraver Phebe Emphill. As seen in the above image, the design presents Lady Liberty donning a crown of stars alongside four inscriptions: "IN GOD WE TRUST," "LIBERTY," "1792" and "2017." The reverse side of the coin depicts an eagle in flight.

"As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty's representation," said the Mint's chief of staff Elisa Basnight. "We live in a nation that affords us the opportunity to dream big and try to accomplish the seemingly impossible."

But can the one-ounce coin actually be used in today's market? "Coins like this do not circulate for everyday use, but are minted for collectors in limited quantities," explains the New York Times. "There will be 100,000 of them with the black Lady Liberty. They will sell for far more than face value, depending on the value of gold, currently more than $1,000 an ounce."

Considering the importance of such historical moment, we find the value of this new coin to far exceed the price of gold and can safely say that, today, we are oh-so-proud to be Americans.