United States Mint Breast Cancer Awareness 2018 Commemorative Coin Design Competition
United States Mint Breast Cancer Awareness 2018 Commemorative Coin Design Competition

Official Rules:
United States Mint Call for Artists

Seeking Artists for a Competition to Design a Commemorative Coin in Recognition of the Fight against Breast Cancer

Applications Open: August 1, 2016
Application Deadline: October 17, 2016
Artists Notified if Selected to Submit a Design: November 14, 2016
Design and/or Plaster Submissions Must Be Received By: January 31, 2017
Winner Announced: June 2017

By submitting an entry in this competition, artists agree to be bound and abide by all of these Official Rules.

I. About the Competition

Public Law 114-148 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue $5 pink gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half-dollar clad coins in recognition of the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among American women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among nearly every racial and ethnic group. Thousands of men are also diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Clinical advances, resulting from research, have led to increased survival from breast cancer, with death rates dropping over 34 percent since 1990. This commemorative coin program offers an opportunity for our Nation to honor the fight against breast cancer. In accordance with the public law, the design for these commemorative coins will be selected by the Secretary based on the winning design from a juried design competition.

The competition will proceed in two phases. In Phase One, artists will submit a digital portfolio, consisting of no more than five examples of their work. An expert jury will review these portfolios and select not more than twenty artists to proceed to Phase Two, whereby they will submit one design and/or 3D physical model, both obverse and reverse, for the proposed coins. Phase Two does not require a 3D physical model; however, public law stipulates that preference will be given to designs that consist of or are accompanied by physical designs. The jury will ultimately select one artist’s designs for both the obverse and reverse of the coins. The same designs will be used on the pink gold, silver, and clad coin. The winning artist will be paid $10,000 for his or her designs. The winning artist will be named as designer in historical documents, the Certificates of Authenticity and promotional materials, and the artist’s initials will appear on the final coins (along with the initials of the United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver who will sculpt the selected design).

Artists are expected to distill the program’s design theme to its essence, representing a complicated subject on a very small palette.

In creating a coin design that will be translated into bas-relief sculpture, artists must take into consideration the idea of relief, depth and negative space. Although the design will begin as an illustration or physical model, artists must think three-dimensionally and consider that coins in three sizes will bear the design.

The United States Mint is seeking artists who can bring innovative perspectives and who can effectively utilize symbolism to create original artwork that is emblematic of the fight against breast cancer.

II. Eligibility: Who May Enter the Competition

To qualify for this competition artists must be:

  • a citizen of the United States or permanent resident
  • 18 years of age or older

Employees of the United States Mint, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and members of the jury and their families are not eligible for this competition.

The United States Mint reserves the right to disqualify, at any time, artists and their entries, if —

  1. the entrant engages or has been found to have engaged in criminal, infamous, dishonest or notoriously disgraceful conduct, or any other conduct prejudicial to the United States Government;
  2. the entry or entrant violates or does not fully comply with these Official Rules;
  3. the United States Mint determines that submitted material is not original; or
  4. the entrant is determined to be ineligible by the United States Mint in its sole discretion.

Disqualification could, among other things, result in cancellation of, and/or the requirement that the entrant reimburse the United States Mint for, any payment to which such an entrant might otherwise have been or might become entitled.

III. Phase One: Submit Portfolio Samples

To enter this competition, artists must submit an application through www.usmint.gov containing the required materials discussed below and on the application form. All interested artists must submit an application and upload three to five representative work samples by October 17, 2016.


1. General Contact Information

Artist contact information, including name, address, telephone number, and email address.

2. Samples of Work

Three to five samples of artist’s work submitted on electronic media (no physical artwork will be accepted). Please label each work submission with title of the work, materials, and dimensions. Please redact name and any other personally identifying information from the image and the filename. At your option, you may also label each submission with an arrow or the word “top” indicating orientation of the image.

Samples will not be returned. The United States Mint is not responsible for damage or loss of submitted materials, whether or not such damage or loss is caused by negligence on the part of the United States Mint or its employees or agents.

Artists are encouraged to submit works that highlight their talents and suitability to advance to Phase Two. Therefore, artists are advised to consider what is required of this project, including the evaluation criteria (below), when selecting work samples.

All submissions must be the artist’s original work.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Demonstration of ability to convey complex concepts with symbolism
  • Masterful application of ingenuity in interpreting the subject matter and conveying its theme
  • Demonstration that the artist is adaptable to different subject matters and themes
  • Demonstration of ability to render figures, portraits, animals, or landscapes with the use of perspective and scale

IV. Phase Two: Submit Obverse and Reverse Design and/or Plasters

Following a review of Phase One applications, the expert jury will invite a select pool of no more than 20 artists to complete and submit electronic and/or physical designs for the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin obverse and reverse.

Invited artists will be paid a fee of $1000 for this work and will be eligible to receive an additional $10,000 (and have their initials appear on the coin) if the artist’s design is ultimately selected by the jury and approved by the Secretary. All Phase Two designs must be accompanied by a completed and signed Rights Transfer Agreement that will be provided by the United States Mint with the invitation.


1. Coin Specifications

The $5 pink gold coin has a diameter of 0.85 inches (21.6 millimeters). The $1 silver coin has a diameter of 1.5 inches (38.1 millimeters). The half-dollar clad coin has a diameter of 1.205 inches (30.6 millimeters). Please consider the size of the coins when developing designs.

2. Design Requirements

Design submissions must—

  • be emblematic of the fight against breast cancer
  • not include the name or depiction of any living person, even with permission
  • not include names, emblems, logos, trademarks or other intellectual property associated with any specific commercial or private organization
  • be the artist’s own original artwork
  • not include the artist’s name, initials, logo, mark, or other identifier anywhere in or on the design (including plasters)
  • not be frivolous or inappropriate.

Artists may be responsible at any time for any necessary modifications to submitted designs as requested by the United States Mint. Changes may be requested for any reason, including historical/technical accuracy, appropriateness, or coinability.

3. Required Inscriptions


  • Liberty
  • In God We Trust
  • 2018


  • United States of America
  • E Pluribus Unum
  • One of the following denomination inscriptions:
    • Five Dollars (or) $5
    • One Dollar (or) $1
    • Half Dollar

Artists may choose to include additional inscriptions beyond the required inscriptions. Please remember that your reverse design must work for all three denominations.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Overall quality and creativity in interpreting the subject matter for a coin or medal
  • Appropriate use of symbolism
  • Clarity of idea and communication
  • Appropriate level of detail for the scale and material of coins and medals
  • Good design sense, composition and balance of space
  • Effective incorporation of required text

Design Submission Requirements

During Phase Two, artists may submit a digital design submission and/or a plaster model.

1. Digital Design Submission:

  1. Designs must be submitted digitally on a white background
  2. Submit files as JPEG or TIFF
  3. Submit high resolution files (300 ppi at 8 in. diameter)
  4. Shading: Artists may use any type of shading technique to convey the dimension of elements to include form, relief and structure as a “map for sculpt.” As techniques such as 2D shading cannot be executed in 3D sculpt, do not use techniques in your digital design submission that incorporate multiple levels of value traditionally used in illustration to convey color, photorealism and other visual enhancements.
  5. Borders: Major elements with substantial detail and volume should not be placed near the edge of the design. Too much relief and detail near the border of the coin increases striking tonnage and creates fill issues. Minor design elements (such as lettering, stars or laurel branches) are acceptable near the border.
  6. Fonts:
    1. Fonts must be shown in outline form to denote raised font. Fonts in black will be interpreted as incused (recessed) lettering.
    2. Fonts must be a product of Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Draw. The name of the font must be identified with the design submission along with the software program.
    3. Do not use fonts that create bridging issues in the minting process.
  7. Incused Elements: Incused design elements (including inscriptions), where applicable, must be applied only to a raised element off the field such as a portrait or other stand-alone element.

2. Physical Model Submission

  1. In accordance with public law, the jury shall give preference for design submissions that consist of or are accompanied by a three-dimensional physical design. To aid the artists in size and dimensions of the model, at the artist’s request, the United States Mint will supply each artist with one set of base plasters. An artist may choose to build up a sculpture on this base in his or her chosen durable medium or alternatively may make his or her own cast of the base with similar dimensions to work from. The finished model must be made of entirely durable material suitable for shipping, and must be produced as positive images of the submitted design. The United States Mint will provide artists with instructions for shipping completed physical models.
  2. Text as depicted on the submitted design is optional on the sculpture if a digital design is submitted containing the text.
  3. Artists are encouraged to take advantage of the 3D medium to produce designs that work better as sculpture than as drawings. Artists may utilize the following acceptable durable mediums: plaster (Hydrocal, pottery plaster, plaster of Paris, dental stone, etc.), resin, plastic or fired clay.

Phase Two Terms and Conditions

1. Originality and Reference Materials

  • All designs and physical models must be the single artist’s original artwork. He or she may not partner with another artist on any part of his or her submission.
  • The United States Mint discourages designs incorporating or derived from pre-existing works such as photographs, unless they are the artist’s own works. Although not encouraged, ancillary features in the designs may incorporate or be derived from pre-existing works, but only if such pre-existing works are in the public domain.
  • If a design affects any rights of any third party, the artist must obtain the party’s written permission to include his or her property in the design for use in this project, and to grant the rights requested in the Rights Transfer Agreement.
  • The United States Mint will not review or supply third-party releases.
  • With each design artists will be required to warrant that the design is original and not in violation of any other party’s rights, and that the artist has obtained all rights necessary to assign all rights in the design to the United States Mint without restriction.
  • The United States Mint cautions that because of license restrictions, reference materials obtained from stock houses or similar resources that purport to be copyright-free or royalty-free may not be available for unrestricted use or reuse.
  • Notwithstanding any other provision of these Terms and Conditions, reference material provided by the United States Mint (if any) may not be copied into artwork or otherwise. Preexisting materials (whether or not provided by the United States Mint) may be used only for reference (for example, to inform the artist of a subject’s physical characteristics, and to support historically/technically accurate clothing and environment), and must be provided in full with the design submission.
  • Along with each submission, artists must provide true and accurate copies of all references, sources and other supporting matter used in creating an original design.

2. Rights Transfer Agreement

Designs must be assigned to the United States Mint and will become its sole and exclusive property. Designs must be accompanied by a completed and signed Rights Transfer Agreement that will be provided to artists by the United States Mint with the Phase Two invitation.
With the Rights Transfer Agreement, artists will be required to:

  • Relinquish and transfer to the United States Mint in perpetuity all rights in designs submitted to the United States Mint, and in drafts, even if the design or draft was prepared before entering this competition or is not ultimately used by the United States Mint. This means that the artist will not retain any rights in the design or drafts, and will not be able to use or allow others to use them (or designs substantially similar to them) without specific written permission from the United States Mint in its sole discretion. For example, without permission an artist may not be able to display these designs or drafts on a web site, or license them for use by any third party. An artist also may not be able to use or license an unused version or draft, even if it existed before the artist entered the competition.
  • Ensure that designs are entirely original. (Designs and revisions must not be copied in whole or in part from other works, and outside materials are for reference use only.) If an artist’s design affects third party rights (such as an individual’s name or likeness), the artist must (without assistance, payment or prompting from the United States Mint) have obtained all consents necessary to ensure that the United States Mint, without further action, will own all rights in the design and its drafts at the point the Rights Transfer Agreement is executed. Necessary consents must allow the United States Mint to use and allow others (such as licensees) to use or modify designs in any manner in all media and markets worldwide for commercial or other purposes in perpetuity without further restriction, approvals, permissions or compensation.
  • Waive and agree not to enforce any “moral rights,” such as rights of attribution and integrity in specific designs and drafts, and waive any right to inspect or approve any finished product and any advertising, marketing, promotional material or merchandising products and materials.
  • Make warranties, such as those concerning design ownership originality, third-party rights clearances, and the artist’s power and authority to sign agreements.
  • Indemnify the United States government against any claims for breach of warranties or for infringement of copyright or other third party rights.
  • Release and hold harmless the United States Mint, the United States government, and their agents and assigns, from claims and/or liability.

3. General

The United States Mint is not responsible for any damage to, delay of, or loss of, work samples or designs during transit. Mail sent to the United States Mint through the United States Postal Service may be subjected to an irradiation process to protect against biological contamination. This process may cause irreversible damage to entries and render them ineligible for the Competition. Accordingly, we encourage artists who are concerned that this irradiation process may damage their work samples or designs to use a third-party commercial delivery service. The United States Mint is not responsible for work samples or designs damaged in this or in any other delivery process.

All materials, statements and information submitted in connection with the Competition must be timely, complete, legible, signed where required, true, accurate and not misleading.

Neither Phase One work samples nor Phase Two designs will be returned.

By entering this Competition and in consideration of the opportunity to submit a Phase Two design and receive a fee, artists consent to the collection and use of the personal information (such as name, likeness, biographical material and other identifying characteristics) for purposes such as identity verification, application processing, security vetting if performed, potential payment processing, and public posting of designs on the websites of the United States Mint, with the evaluation and selection process (including public advisory committee reviews), and with publicity and promotion of the Competition, final design and coins, and United States Mint programs generally.

V. Questions

Please direct all inquiries to the United States Mint by e-mail at BreastCancerAwareness@usmint.treas.gov.

Content last updated on