Around this time last year, I wrote that 2009 would be quite a year. As 2009 comes to an end, I know why I am not a prognosticator. With the down economy, the convergence of so many coin programs, and the performance questions of the US Mint it is difficult to call 2009 a successful year; yet it was not a failure.

Some of the success of this year included the 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Coin, the District of Columbia and US Territories Quarters, and the Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent program. Although finding the cents and quarters have been difficult to find in change, these new coins had nice designs and was a chance for people to learn about Lincoln’s life and the history of our territories.

As the Lincoln Cent enters its 101st year of production, it will be given a new reverse. The Union Shield was selected as the symbol of a united country. The shield is featured in many of the frescos painted by Constantino Brumidi throughout the US capitol. Brumidi was the Artist of the capitol during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. The fresco shown here is one of the eight trophy panel from room S-128 (from the Senate side) of the capitol. It was design by Brumidi and painted by English artist James Leslie.

Starting in 2010, the US Mint will begin the American the Beautiful Quarters Program. It will be a program with 56 quarter-dollar coins featuring designs depicting national parks and other national sites. Although this program might be overkill, the designs show that the program has the promise to show new and interesting designs. The first five quarters for 2010 will honor Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Yosemite National Park in California, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon. It will be interesting to see if this program will catch on.

In the second year of the Native American $1 Coin program, the theme for the 2010 reverse is “Government–The Great Tree of Peace.” The reverse design features five bound arrows and the Hiawatha Belt. Hiawatha was the helper to the Great Peacemaker who negotiated peace amongst the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk tribes in the area now known as New York state. The alliance was known as Haudenosaunee, the Iroquois Confederacy, and is featured on the reverse. The words “Great Law of Peace” is also on the reverse to honor the constitution that created the confederacy. It is a wonderful design that follows up the great design of 2009.

Continuing the Presidential $1 Coins, 2010 will include coins for Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. We may see an increase of interest in these coins with the introduction of the dollar honoring Lincoln as we pass the (ho-hum) early 19th century presidents.

Along with the Presidential dollars will be the First Spouse Gold Coins. Along with the presidents will be gold coins to honor Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, Buchanan’s Liberty, and Mary Todd Lincoln. President James Buchanan was not married. His first spouse coin will be a reproduction of the Liberty Head Quarter Eagle designed by Christian Gobrecht minted and issued from 1840 through 1907. The reverse design depicts the future President as a boy working as a bookkeeper in his family’s small country store design by Artistic Infusion Program Associate Designer David Westwood.

To round out circulating coinage, no changes are in store for the nickel, dime, and half-dollar.

Commemorative coins for 2010 will include the 2010 Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin. The Boy Scout commemorative celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. The program will produce 350,000 silver dollar coins with the $10 surcharge will be paid to National Boy Scouts of America Foundation who issues grants to local council for the extension of scouting in hard-to-serve areas.

The American Veterans Disabled for Life will also produce 350,000 silver dollars in proof and uncirculated version to honor disabled veterans. The $10 surcharge will be paid to the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation to support the construction of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, DC.

Considering what happened this year, it will be difficult to predict what will happen to the American Eagle Bullion and American Buffalo 24-Karat Gold coins. Because of how the law is written, American Eagle bullion will be produced but we are not sure whether American Eagle proof coins will join them. I hope the proof coins will be produced in 2010, but with the current Mint administration, we will not know until they announce a commitment to their production.

I hope 2010 sizzles as much as 2009 fizzled!

Fresco image from Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the Capitol.
Coin images courtesy of the US Mint.

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