Gold has been a treasured precious metal throughout human history. Even dating back to ancient times, it has held a significance of beauty and status that set it apart from all other precious metals. Gold was also the metallic basis of many circulating coins through the early 20th century.
In today’s world, gold coins are at the top of almost every coin collector’s or coin investor’s want list. Some are more likely than others to be found in circulation. One collection of coins the experts at Gold Guys commonly see is the American Arts Commemorative Series.
American Arts Commemorative Series Medallions are a series made up of ten gold bullion medallions. They were produced by the United States Mint beginning in 1980 and ending in 1984. These coins were sold to compete with other bullion coins including the South African Krugerrand.
After the United States Department of the Treasury started selling portions of the national stockpile of gold, this series was first suggested by North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Iowa Representative, Jim Leach, proposed that the medallions portray notable American artists. The bill containing the authorizing legislation into law was signed by President Jimmy Carter on November 10, 1978, regardless of objections from Treasury officials.
Here are some of the coins included in the collection.
U.S. Mint 1/2 oz Gold Commemorative Arts Medal Marian Anderson
The 1980 American Arts Commemorative Series Gold medallion celebrating the life of Marian Anderson. She is recognized as one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century, performing concerts and recitals in major music venues as well as with famous orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. As an African American woman, she was widely credited with assisting the breakdown of color barriers in the musical arts.
The medallion was struck by the U.S. Mint in .900 fine gold. It contains exactly 0.5 Troy oz gold and 0.055 Troy oz of copper. Its total weight is 0.555 Troy oz.
U.S. Mint 1 oz Gold Commemorative Arts Medal Grant Wood
The obverse design of this medallion features a portrait of Grant Wood wearing his glasses and an open-collared shirt. On the reverse side is an image of his most notable painting American Gothic on an easel. The painting depicts a farmer holding a pitchfork with his daughter standing in front of their house. The obverse is inscribed with “Grant Wood”, while the reverse reads “American Arts Commemorative Series” and the date “1980”.
The Grant Wood American Arts Gold Medallion represents one of the inaugural issues of the series. There was no notation of the gold content or an issuing authority included on the pieces, a mistake that would be rectified later in the series. The medallions were struck in a composition of 10% copper and 90% gold with a plain edge.
1982 Louis Armstrong American Arts Gold Medallion
Amidst a number of notable design changes, the series entered its third year of issue with a coin honoring musician Louis Armstrong. He was known for playing the trumpet and cornet, as well as composing and singing. He is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in jazz, with his impact extending into popular music near the end of his career.
The obverse design of the one-ounce medallion features a right-facing three-quarters portrait of the musician. He appears in his youth with a jovial expression and broad smile. The reverse side features the image of a trumpet with musical notes and the inscription “Ambassador of Jazz”.
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