Sculptor-Engravers Renata Gordon and Phebe Hemphill discuss their work on the 2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program.
Each year thousands of women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to earlier detection, increased awareness, and improved treatment, death rates from this disease have been decreasing since about 1989. Clinical advances resulting from research have led to increased survival rates, with death rates dropping over 34 percent since 1990.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 114-148), signed into law April 29, 2016, recognizes the many Americans who are impacted by the disease and the effort to prevent it through research. Authorized by the law, the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program includes a gold, silver, and clad coin, with the gold version being the first gold coin in the U.S. with a pink hue. The law also required a competition to select common obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the fight against breast cancer.
About the Competition
In response to a Call for Artists earlier this year, several talented American artists applied for the opportunity to submit designs for the new coin. Ultimately the Mint invited select artists to submit designs along with plaster models, which were evaluated by an expert jury chaired by the Department of the Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget, and composed of three members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and three members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). Both groups provided experienced and impartial expertise in advancing the state of public art and the interests of American citizens and coin collectors. Based on the designs selected by the expert jury, the Secretary of the Treasury chose the final design.
The winning design in the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Design Competition was created by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Emily Damstra.
About the Coins
Coin prices include surcharges of $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin and $5 for each half dollar coin, which the law authorizes to be paid to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, based in New York City, for the purpose of furthering breast cancer research funded by the Foundation.