2021 marks the first year for a new “Type 2” design on the reverse side of the American Eagle silver bullion coin issued by the United States Mint. Coin designer Emily Damstra chose two typestyles by American designers to best complement her striking new eagle illustration (replacing the “Type 1” drawing which had previously served for the first 35 years of the program). Trebuchet MS, designed by Vincent Connare, is used for the inscriptions “ONE DOLLAR • 1 OZ. FINE SILVER” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” P22 Mackinac Pro, designed by Mike Beens, is used for the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Read Ms. Damstra’s artist statement for a story of the design in her own words.
The passage there of particular interest to the topic of type design is her description of the criteria for selecting these fonts: grace, gravitas, and coinability. In this rarified field of endeavor, a font cannot be directly reproduced by the means we normally encounter. The letterforms must be engraved—sculpted for their final use by an artist. And so the resulting coins demonstrate a lifecycle that ends the same way it began, regardless of the tools used: a human hand and a human brain at work. A faithful and skilled translation of the two type designs was accomplished by engraver Michael Gaudioso.