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Lady Liberty: over 150 years on U.S. coinage and now back again

Seen on most U.S. coins from the 1790s-1930s, Lady Liberty will return on a new series

Lady Liberty: over 150 years on U.S. coinage and now back again – Littleton Coin Company blog

The obverse or “heads” side of most U.S. coins now depicts a prominent president – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and Kennedy. But for over 135 years from the 1790s 1930s, most U.S. coins featured Lady Liberty on the obverse. With an eagle as our nation bird on the reverse. These images were the wishes of President George Washington. And Lady Liberty is now returning on a new U.S. coin series…

George Washington’s influence on early coinage

Many early Americans had wanted to depict George Washington on U.S. coins. He was the hero of the Revolutionary War and the first U.S. president. But Washington opposed the idea. It was too much like European coinage that featured the reigning monarch. And our new nation had just won its independence from one of those monarchies.

In addition, the U.S. Constitution had established a new kind of democratic government. About equality and personal freedom. So Washington wanted images on our coinage that had equal meaning to everyone. Not images that honored him as the nation’s leader. Lady Liberty and our national bird were just what Washington had in mind.

Liberty represents America during colonial times

Lady Liberty became a symbol of America before the Revolutionary War. Patriot Paul Revere depicted her on a monument marking the repeal of the hated Stamp Act. He erected the monument under the “Liberty Tree” on the Boston Common. And Thomas Paine referred to her as “the Goddess of Liberty” in his patriotic poem “Liberty Tree.”

After the Declaration of Independence, Lady Liberty was depicted on state seals of New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. She was seen holding a Liberty Pole topped with a Liberty Cap. These images of freedom from slavery were later seen on many early U.S. coins. Since then, America’s most famous Liberty depictions are the Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol dome and the colossal Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The most beautiful U.S. coins depict Liberty

All of the U.S. coins considered to be the most beautiful feature Lady Liberty. Most were struck during the early 20th century. That’s when leading artists and sculptors were invited to submit new designs for U.S. coinage.

Weinman’s “Liberty Walking” motif was so popular in circulation and among collectors it was brought back on the Silver American Eagle of 1986 to date.

Lady Liberty returns on new $1 coins

A new American Innovation dollar series will feature a dramatic new image of Liberty on the obverse. Unique reverse designs will recall major innovations from each of the 50 states, D.C. and the 5 U.S. territories. (Littleton has produced a custom folder for the new American Innovation dollar series.)

Lady Liberty was conceived thousands of years ago in Ancient Rome. She was depicted on most U.S. coins for over 135 years. And she continues to symbolize America’s most treasured ideals of freedom. Now Lady Liberty will be featured on the obverse of every American Innovation dollar of 2018-2032!

Please add your comments or thoughts about depictions of Liberty on U.S. coins or the new dollar series:

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