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African-Americans on US Coins: Circulating Coins (Part 3)

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
In the past two articles, [ Part 1 and Part 2 ] Hubert and I have catalogued the history of african-american representation on U.S. commemorative coins. But commemorative neologism is a recess product of the Mint and has rarely been widely distributed. today, very few people outside of the numismatic community are even aware that African-Americans have ever graced our national neologism. In depart three of our series, we tear down the obscure of secrecy and reveal the identity of the model behind our most celebrated circle mint, an african-american exemplary that one celebrated sculptor compared to a “ goddess ”. We take a spirit at a cryptic third serviceman, who appeared on a canoe aboard two celebrated explorers, arsenic good as Washington D.C. ’ s front-runner son, a Jazz musician whose music broke racial and cultural barriers .
We besides take a attend at what might have been, telling the history of a black aviatrix whose daring exploits captivating Americans before Amelia Earhart took flight ; an Underground Railroad activist who was set to join America ’ s most celebrated suffragette ; a freeman who criticized Thomas Jefferson for his hypocrisy on matters of liberty ; an abolitionist and author ; and a well repair who served as America ’ s soul and conscience at a clock time of intense strife and social change .
If you ’ d like to catch up on the whole narrative before you begin, read parts one and two.

Not Without Controversy – The first historical African-American appears on a business strike U.S. coin

The master artwork featured Lewis & Clark ( left ), while the mint coin features a third gear man, Clark ’ randomness slave York. Original artwork by Paul Jackson, all rights reserved.
The first diachronic african-american to appear on a circulate United States coin was William Clark ’ south slave York. Based upon the measly amount of information we have about him, we know that York was roughly the lapp long time as Clark and lived with him throughout childhood. York was Clark ’ s “ body slave ” – that is, if you can imagine such a thing, a exploited – and in the sheath of York, a constantly put down, personal valet. Brian Hall, who researched extensively the way York was treated by Clark and Lewis for his novel I Should Be highly glad in Your ship’s company, says Clark ’ s “ unfeelingness toward York sits awkwardly with his depiction as an american champion. ” [ 1 ] In fact, it is the very delineation of York rowing a canoe in the shadow of Eero Saarinen ’ second St. Louis Gateway Arch that is emblematic of the cruelest aspect of York ’ mho life. After having accompanied Lewis, Clark, and their personally-selected group of adventurers and military men, York expected some consideration for his contribution to the celebrated journey. Each of the other members of the group was compensated. Lewis was given a significant political placement as the second american governor of the Louisiana Territories ( replacing the faithless James Wilkinson ). Sacagawea is said to have settled with her conserve Charbonneau in St. Louis ( at Clark ’ s request ), bearing a boy and a girl before dying from illness in 1812. Some oral traditions have her return home to Shoshone country and animation to the ripe honest-to-god senesce of 96. But the freedom York seek was denied him by Clark, who ordered him to leave his wife ( slave marriages not being legally binding ) and come with him to St. Louis .
What happened to York after this steer is anyone ’ south estimate. The black explorer the Arikara people dubbed “ Big Medison ” could have met any number of fates. Clark told Washington Irving in 1832 that he had set York detached but that he had failed as a free man and was trying to make his room back to St. Louis to return to Clark ’ s service when he died. As with the Sacagawea fib, some speculate that York made his room back out to the frontier and lived a noble life amongst the native peoples. possibly this myth sits well with the american person and the mysterious nature of the American frontier .
however, how York came to be included in the design is one of the great stories surrounding modern neologism .
When the Mint revealed the design that had been selected for the Missouri quarter, Columbia, Missouri-based watercolorist Paul Jackson was incensed. Jackson, who several months earlier had submitted the winning submission, was appalled at the artistic liberties Mint sculptors had taken with his piece. While in another high-profile contest ( for the Bicentennial commemoratives ) Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro made respective changes to the winning designs “ to better facilitate their neologism on high speed presses ” [ 2 ], those artists were still credited for their designs. In this case things were different .
In Jackson ’ s mind, they had dumbed down his carefully considered patch of art, and worse so far, taken accredit for its plan. He launched a campaign at the state capital to convince Governor Bob Holden ( D ) and his wife Lori Hauser Holden ( who publicly spearheaded the plan contest ), to convince the Mint to use his master plan alternatively. When that went nowhere, he traveled to the nation ’ s capital to see if he could be a more visible thorn in the Mint ’ south side. Jackson was onto something. respective artists from other states had seen their celebration bend to disappointment when mint sculptors altered their designs and took credit for their knead. He continued to speak out and fortunately for him, the media began to take notice .
Despite what Jackson believed he was signing up for when he entered the contest, the Mint was perfectly within their rights. The artwork submission guidelines stated that the Mint would produce drawings of all plan concepts. even though Jackson ’ s artwork was clearly an improvement over every translation attempted by mint artists, the Mint was under no obligation to use any original artwork from an outside artist. furthermore, the 50 States commemorative Coin Program Act – Public Law 105-124 – stated that each of the 50 designs were to be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after reference with the Governor of the State being commemorated. This didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate preclude the Mint from making an exception, and surely a font can be made that if the Mint ’ second artists weren ’ metric ton improving or finishing a design concept but merely plagiarizing a finish up assemble of artwork, then some credit on the coin should have gone to Paul Jackson. Of course, Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro shared no credit with Michael Collins, the interior designer of the Apollo 11 mission insignia, when he lifted it for use on the reverse of the Eisenhower and Susan B. Anthony dollars .
so how did York make it onto the coin ? The answer is shrouded in mystery and involves an artist ’ sulfur hurt feelings, claims of plagiarism and unfair profit-taking, all of which caused enormous embarrassment for the U.S. Mint and the State Quarter program. We reached out to Paul Jackson to ask him about his design and find out his feelings on the matter, and to find out if there were versions of his plan that did include York. Jackson responded, saying that he had tinkered with the mind of including York on the mint, but felt that putting another person on the mint made it excessively crowded. thus alternatively he put Lewis and Clark together in a canoe, a design think of to be emblematic of the Corps of Discovery ’ randomness expedition, not a actual representation of the group. He felt that Mint engraver Alfred Maletsky changed the design fair adequate to be able to take credit. He cites a conversation he had with a Mint official that told him that to have his initials on a circulating U.S. mint could be worth millions of dollars and that they had no interest in bestowing such an honor onto him. [ 3 ]
Whatever the Mint ’ second motives and whether or not you believe Jackson ’ s account of the meeting, [ don ’ thyroxine want to sound besides harsh but at the same prison term merely b/c person spoke to us is no reason to take their word over all others ] it ’ sulfur clear that Mint Director Ed Moy was aware of the meaning of including York in the Mint ’ mho version of the Missouri overrule. In an interview session Moy had with the media commemorating the handout of the District of Columbia stern, Moy pointed out that the D.C. draw was the inaugural circulating U.S. coin to have an african-american going “ solo ”. A CNN article quoting Moy goes on to mention the significance of the Missouri quarter further in the fib. [ 4 ]
The Missouri quarter is a common coin. The Philadelphia and Denver mints combined to produce more than 450,000,000 pieces [ 5 ] with untold millions sold to collectors in rolls and bags or pulled out of circulation in mint state bank rolls. Coin dealers will be opening government-packaged Missouri quarters for the following hundred years, so the prospects of the coin becoming a highly sought after numismatic curio are quite distant. That said, register set collectors looking for the coin in MS-68 have pushed the Philly dismissal into the thousands of dollars ( it ’ sulfur quite elusive ) and the Denver strikes go for a couple hundred when you find them [ 6 ]. NGC attributes Prooflike examples and has seen fewer than ten-spot from both mints combined. For those who are interest in buying a superior quality version of the coin without spending real money, a dainty MS-67 version in an NGC or PCGS holder can be had for about the cost of the fictile. We wouldn ’ triiodothyronine recommend outgo any more than that. Proofs are abundant raw and in PR-69DCAM with the standard modern-coin selling premium for coins holdered as PR-70DCAM .
besides of note were some 250,000 State Quarters ( $ 62,500 worth ) stickered with Paul Jackson ’ s original plan. The Mint was so displease when they heard that the artist had circulated his own design that U.S. Mint spokesperson Dave Hecox was said to have phoned the Associated Press to report that Jackson was under Secret Service investigation for the crime of defacing money. No such charges stemmed from the action, and in fact, when Jackson tried to turn himself in to the Secret Service, officials there were unaware of any such probe. [ 7 ] Exonumists will credibly be concerned in this piece of U.S. numismatic history .

The Duke – One of two African-Americans considered…

Flying “Solo” At Last
Sixty-three years after Booker T. Washington was posthumously bestowed the honor of being the first african-american to grace a United States commemorative mint, legendary Jazz musician and Washington, D.C. native son Edward Kennedy “ Duke ” Ellington became the first african-american featured as the sole figure on a circulate United States coin. Two extra african-american figures were considered, Maryland-born freeman Benjamin Banneker ( 1731-1806 ) and slave-turned american statesman Frederick Douglass ( 1818-1895 ) .
Whereas Banneker ’ s contributions to the construction of the union city are the stuff of myth and legend ( he purportedly recalled L ’ Enfant ’ s city design from memory, while others claim he wrote America ’ s beginning almanac ), Douglass ’ south shock on american history is beyond reproach. He wrote a number of autobiographies, gained bulge as one of his era ’ s great orators, and stood as clear, incontrovertible evidence that it was the slave ’ mho oppression and miss of education ( it was illegal at the time to teach slaves how to read ) – and not any genic or natural disposal – that justified their less condition as men and women .
As for Duke Ellington, the “ Duke ” was a pioneer design in american music. He began performing professionally at the old age of 17 and finally assembled a isthmus whose music transcended racial and social boundaries. Ellington recorded hundreds of songs with some of the twentieth hundred ’ s most significant melodious figures. Ellington was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for traveling the earth carrying the message of exemption through music .
The three figures were put up for a public vote, and the option was fresh music to Washingtonians ’ ears .
 “Taxation without Representation”
No floor involving the District of Columbia and its long-standing feud with the union Government would be complete without some element of intrigue. The District, which has a population comparable to states such as Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and over 100,000 people more than Wyoming, has bristled for years over its miss of political representation in Congress. The challenge grew more public when in 2000, the District changed its license plate blueprint to read “ No Taxation without Representation ” [ 8 ] owing to the particular status the District holds under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution .
Voting rights activists and civic leaders inside the District saw the commemorative one-fourth design as an opportunity to broaden awareness of the District ’ s miss of a right to vote in Congress. The attempt to include the “ No Taxation ” motto was undertaken by Mayor Adrian Fenty, although it was wide supported in the District and was included in about one-third of the submitted ideas for the coin ’ second dedication, according to city officials. [ 9 ] The Mint rejected the marriage proposal about immediately, saying in a affirmation that “ although the United States Mint expresses no position on the merits of this emergence, we have determined that the proposed dedication is clearly controversial and, therefore, inappropriate as an component of design for United States neologism ”. [ 10 ] ultimately, the dedication “ JUSTICE FOR ALL ” was chosen- an odd inscription to accompany the Jazz legend, to be certain, but one that they figured would surely offend no one .
There were two proof versions of the District of Columbia quarter minted to go along with the business strikes. The intended for circulation business strikes were made in significant quantities. The combined 172,400,000 coins minted from Philadelphia and Denver were the most of any design minted in 2009. [ 11 ] The typical rate exemplar of the two quarters is MS-67, with no examples grading higher. [ 12 ] As for the Satin Finish coins included in that year ’ second Uncirculated Mint Sets, submitted coins tend to be graded MS-68, with 15-20 % grading MS-69. [ 13 ] When coins tend to come courteous, such as these, we don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate see the efficacy of paying a hearty premium for a mint that ’ s only marginally nice. Proofs are abundant, with most raw and graded examples being of PR-69DCAM quality, and better persevered and better smitten examples holdered as PR-70DCAM. A market premium exists for PR-70DCAM coins in PCGS holders, but it ’ mho slight .

Emblematic of Liberty – Hettie Anderson and America’s most beautiful coin

Unknown to most for many years, the celebrated female figure depicted as Liberty on Saint-Gaudens double eagle ( 1907-1932 ) was african-american exemplar Hettie Anderson .
Striking Change
Were it not for trace evidence left behind in the form of sketches and personal commensurateness, the truthful story of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the creation of his celebrated double eagle might not have been told. Saint-Gaudens, as it ’ south been well documented, was brought in to reshape the face of american coinage at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. His influence was far reaching and elevated the character of american neologism, through his own work and through the workplace of his contemporaries and acolytes. The Saint-Gaudens double eagle stands as his touch coin. A bold design, it features a exultant Liberty carrying the blowtorch of exemption in one hand and an olive branch in another as she ascends to the lead of a cragged hill. Resplendent rays of sunlight diversify from behind and in the distance the most celebrated landmarks of America ’ sulfur capital city can be made out. Surrounding her are 47 stars, each one representing a state of matter. The design was then elegant and grand that Augustus wanted the date to be depicted in Roman numerals and the relief to be therefore gamey that the coin presses of his day could barely produce it. Whatever initial resistance Saint-Gaudens got from the Mint, most notably from Chief Engraver Charles Barber and Treasury Secretary Leslie Mortier Shaw, President Roosevelt overruled it. The overrule was evenly captivating. Saint-Gaudens used an Art Deco-style baptismal font evocative of the font John F. Flanagan would use subsequently for the inverse of his Washington quarter. A bluff eagle dominates this side, captured midflight as the sunlight crests on the horizon, its rays again majestic and omnipresent .
Written out of History
William E. Hagans, who spent a number of years researching the life and work of swedish artist Anders Zorn ( 1860-1920 ), held a key objet d’art of data that helped numismatic scholars determine barely who it was that Saint-Gaudens used as a exemplary on his celebrated $ 20 aureate piece. The clue came in the form of a sketch, made extemporaneously in 1897, that shows the bored sculptor sitting on the edge of the model ’ south resist .
[ 14 ]

A moment in time captured by Anders Zorn : Saint-Gaudens takes a collapse ; double eagle model Hettie Anderson, nude in the background, in lay .
In the background lies Harriette Eugenia “Hettie” Anderson, an african-american model who Saint-Gaudens referred to as a woman with the design of a goddess. [ 15 ] It was already known that Saint-Gaudens used her as the model for the figure of victory in his memorial to Sherman. By this fourth dimension, Hettie had posed for a phone number of artists in New York, including Saint-Gaudens ’ protégé Adolph Weinman. But her association to the double eagle was hardly known outside of Saint-Gaudens ’ closest class, friends and colleagues – and his family, at least, tried to keep it this way. Homer Saint-Gaudens, the artist ’ south son, edited her out of his founder ’ randomness bare autobiography. In drawing connections to Hettie and the double eagle, Hagan solved a about hundred old mystery that was hiding in plain spy. Ten years after the Supreme Court established a built-in basis for classify but equal in Plessy v. Ferguson and two years before the National Negro Committee convenes ( leading to the establish of the NAACP ), Hettie Anderson, an african-american model from South Carolina, became the iconic symbol of Liberty on America ’ s most last coin. A invention that prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to write that Saint-Gaudens ’ double eagle “ is the best coin that has been struck for two thousand years… [ a coin that ] will serve as a exemplar for future coin makers…. ” [ 16 ]

What could have been? Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and Bessie Coleman considered for golden dollar coin.

( L to R ) Bessie Coleman, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr .

The conversion of the dollar mint was a long time coming. even though the Susan B. Anthony dollar plan was stillborn, some members of Congress were convinced that a publicly-accepted dollar coin was possible, if certain changes were made to its design and typography. The theme for a golden dollar coin dates back to before the release of the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979, but it took about eighteen years before the program became a reality .
During the design summons, a Colorado-based graphic artist named Daniel Carr submitted a few of his plan proposals, including one which featured a portrait of early twentieth century african-american aviatrix Bessie Coleman. Coleman was a high-flying stunt pilot who barnstormed across the United States performing daring tricks in presence of paying audiences – that is, until a care supervision on the part of her mechanic and agent, William Wills, caused her Curtiss JN-4 biplane to lose restraint, hurtling Coleman 2,000 feet to the ground without a chute and sending Wills and the plane plummeting to the ground. Carr ’ s Coleman design received national attention when a bombastic mock-up was featured in a June 9, 1998 Washington Post article by Bill McAllister covering the Treasury Department advisory committee meetings on which design would grace the 2000 fortunate dollar .
It was during these hearings that abolitionist Harriet Tubman was considered as a likely buddy for a retool Susan B. Anthony dollar ( which presumably would feature portraits of the two suffragettes in jugate ). The colossal failure of the Susan B. Anthony dollar program still fresh in the minds of the design circuit board made the idea of retaining any connection to that mint indefensible. Furthermore, some, including Delaware Senator Mike Castle ( R ) blamed the failure of the dollar program on the fact that Susan B. Anthony “ remains an obscure historical visualize to most citizens in malice of being the most politically correct choice at the clock ” [ 18 ]
After a few rounds of vote, Lewis and Clark Shoshone Indian scout Sacagawea was chosen to grace the beginning new coin of the twenty-first century. Daniel Carr ’ s Bessie Coleman proposal and the proposal to add Harriet Tubman were relegated to historical footnotes .
interestingly, it was three years after the liberation of the Sacagawea dollar that New York Representative Charlie Rangel ( D ) proposed to change the blueprint to feature slain Civil Rights drawing card Martin Luther King, Jr. Rangel, seizing upon the perceive failure of the Sacagawea dollar program, saw an opening to promote an important african-american national digit .
The Act, known as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1 Dollar Coin Act, cited King ’ s numerous accomplishments as a advocate for peace, social reform, and non-violent activism, and called for a newfangled dollar coin that featured a compare of King on the obverse and a turn back emblematic of King ’ s philosophy. [ 19 ] The beak was tabled in committee ( along with another Rangel proposal that called for a commemorative dollar honoring Thurgood Marshall ) .
Rangel had a point in nominating King for the coin. Martin Luther King, Jr. is surely one of the most crucial figures in advanced american history and is better known to contemporaneous Americans than a extremity of Lewis & Clark ’ randomness expedition. It ’ sulfur besides plainly amazing that King has never been honored on a United States commemorative coin – and lone time will tell if this criminal omission international relations and security network ’ thymine rectified with the forthcoming Civil Rights Act Commemorative dollar slated for a 2014 publish .
The Future
What lies ahead for United States coinage is anybody ’ second guess. It seems likely that we ’ ll see the elimination of familiar denominations before we see sweeping changes of the people on our circulate coins. The Lincoln cent is one of the hobby ’ s most gather designs and has been in production for more than a hundred years. The Mint did toy with a sum redesign of the coin in the mid-1950s, but nothing came of it. Jefferson has owned the nickel since 1938 and only recently underwent a design renovation. Roosevelt and Kennedy were memorialized on the dime and half dollar curtly after their deaths, and it ’ s intemperate to imagine any of these important historical figures being evicted from their spots on U.S. coinage in favor of person new. A a lot more probable scenario is that lesser denominations will be discontinued ascribable to their increasingly low purchasing baron .
With the negative seigniorage that the nickel and penny are experiencing, it ’ s only a topic of time before either 1 ) a new composition is introduced, or 2 ) the coins are phased out. In the consequence that this does happen, a call will be made to introduce new, useable neologism. When that time comes a choice will have to be made as to who is represented on these new coins. We hope that Americans will rightly consider the contributions of those important figures not so far memorialized on our money. In England, the obverse of their national coinage bears the image of kings and queens. In America, it ’ mho high time that a certain King gets his due .
[ 1 ] Hall, Brian. “ The Slave Who Went with Them ”. Time Magazine. 8 July 2002 .
[ 2 ] Slabaugh, Arlie R. United States Commemorative coinage : The Drama of America As Told By Our Coins, second Edition. Whitman Publishing Co.,1975. Print .
[ 3 ] hypertext transfer protocol : // Accessed 7/9/2012
[ 4 ] “ Jazz man is first african-american to solo on U.S. circulating coin ” 24 February, 2009. Accessed 7/9/2012
[ 5 ] Yeoman, R. S. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2013. Atlanta : Whitman. 2013. print .
[ 6 ] auction history. Accessed 7/9/2012
[ 7 ] hypertext transfer protocol : // Accessed 7/9/2012
[ 8 ] hypertext transfer protocol : //
[ 9 ] Sheridan, Mary Beth. “ Mint Expected to Balk at Voting Rights Message. ” Washington Post. 26 February, 2008 .
[ 10 ] “ U.S. Mint Rejects D.C. Quarter Design Inscription, ‘ Taxation Without Representation ’ ” 27 February 2008. Accessed 7/11/2012 .
[ 11 ] Yeoman, R. S. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2013. Atlanta : Whitman. 2013. photographic print .
[ 12 ] Population totals from Accessed 7/12/2012 .
[ 13 ] Ibid .
[ 14 ] hypertext transfer protocol : //
[ 15 ] Nichols, Rose Standish. “ Familiar Letters of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, ” McClure ’ s Magazine 31, no. 6 October 1908 : 603-616 .
[ 16 ] Taxay, Don. The U.S. Mint and Coinage. New York : Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications. 1966. Print.

[ 17 ] Images pulled from : , , and
[ 18 ] McAllister, Bill. “ few Votes for Suffragette : Susan B. Anthony Garners Little Support As Panel Ponders New Design for Dollar Coin ” Washington Post. 9 June, 1998 .
[ 19 ] hypertext transfer protocol : // ? c108 : H.R.1016 :

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