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Black woman to be portrayed as Lady Liberty on new coin

The new $100 gold coin featuring an African-American woman as the face of Lady Liberty for the first time in the history of U.S. currency, is shown in this photo in Washington, D.C., provided January 13, 2017. Courtesy of The United States Mint/Handout via REUTERS

The new $100 gold coin featuring an African-American woman as the face of Lady Liberty for the first time in the history of U.S. currency, is shown in this photo in Washington, D.C., provided January 13, 2017. Courtesy of The United States Mint/Handout via REUTERS

By Laila Kearney

(Reuters) – The United States Mint has unveiled a $100 gold coin featuring an African-American woman as the face of Lady Liberty for the first time in the history of U.S. currency.

The 24-karat gold coin, which marks the Mint’s 225th anniversary, was debuted on Thursday in the Department of the Treasury’s Cash Room in Washington, D.C.

It is the first in a series of gold coins featuring Lady Liberty, which has been used on American coinage since the late 1790s, as an ethnic woman, Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson said in a statement.

Other editions will use designs representing Asian, Hispanic Americans and others “to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States,” Jeppson said.

“We boldly look to the future by casting Liberty in a new light… looking forward to ever brighter chapters in our nation’s history book,” Jeppson said.

The coin’s heads-side design by artist Justin Kunz depicts the profile of Liberty wearing a crown of stars with the inscriptions “Liberty,” “1792,” “2017” and “In God we trust.”

Depicted on the reverse side, which was designed by Chris Costello, is an image of an eagle in flight. The inscription on the tails side include the nation’s motto, “E pluribus unum,” which translates to English from Latin as “Out of many, one.”

Phebe Hemphill and Michael Gaudioso, both based at the Mint’s Philadelphia facility, sculpted the coin.

The Mint, which is the nation’s only manufacturer of official coinage, is set to release the initial coin design on April 6. It will be issued biennially.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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