Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month!
In honor of Women’s History Month, this week’s blog topic will be focused upon women in the world of America Coins! Have you ever wondered how many different coins featured the portrait of a woman? Technically speaking, any coin with Miss Liberty on the back is showing a woman! I think we tend to forget this fact. Did you know that Miss Liberty’s real name is Columbia? It’s true!
The first United States Coin to depict a woman from American history was the Isabella Quarter issued in 1893. This was also the first quarter dollar commemorative coin ever produced by the United States. You probably won’t be finding one of these beauties in your pocket change any time soon because there were only 24,214 struck. Today these are very valuable coins with prices in the range from 550 to 10,000 dollars per coin. Good luck finding one at the grocery store!
Perhaps the best-known recent coin with an image of a woman is the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin struck from 1979 to 1981and then again in 1999. This is a rather infamous coin, because the public rejected it from the moment that it was issued. Although Susan B. Anthony is an important figure in American history, the coin suffered from a rather uninspiring design. Even today there are still millions of unwanted Susan B Anthony dollars sitting in the government’s vaults.
The United States Mint’s “First Spouses Go Bowling Coins” or the “Nations for Spouses Coin” are on the same schedule as the Presidential Dollars. Each coin features a portrait of the first spouse on the front and on the reverse, a unique design representing the spouses’ life and work. Best of all, each coin is struck in 24 karat gold and weighs 1/2 ounce with a $10 piece value. However, I would not suggest spending the coins for $10!
In the 2000’s, the United States Government began striking the Sacagawea Dollar Coin. The Sacagawea Dollar is the first American coin to have a golden color and a plain edge. This distinguishes the coin from other denominations so that you don’t spend the coin in a dark room for $.25 instead of a dollar!
The United States Mint issued several commemorative coins depicting women. The 1992 Olympic Half-dollar shows a female gymnast. The 1994 “Women in Military Service” Silver Dollar shows a woman from each one of the five armed forces. The 1996 Olympic Half-dollar shows two women playing soccer. Perhaps the best known commemorative to feature a woman is the 1995 “Special Olympics World Games” Silver Dollar. This coin shows Eunice Kennedy Shriver on the front, the founder of the Special Olympics. Another coin depicting a woman is the 1999 Dolley Madison Silver dollar. Finally, the 2013 Girl Scout Silver Dollar pays homage not to Thin Mints and Trefoils, but to the hard work, dedication, and valiant determination of the United States Girl Scouts.
The sky is the limit is far is what will emerge from the United States mint in the future. Stay tuned for more, as the US mint is destined to create many more beautiful coins dedicated to the hard work, service, and commitment of American women!