What Does the Shield Stand For On US Coins?
The Shield Symbol Is On Coins of Old And Contemporary. But, What Does It Mean?
The shield symbol represents the STRENGTH of the United States. The thirteen vertical rows are symbolic of thirteen states the United States had at the time the symbol was created. The horizontal band across the top stands for the Federal Government.The stripes also represent pillars, which support the Federal Government. In turn, the Federal Government (the band across the top) holds the States together, closely unified.
In 1780 the shield design was drawn up by several groups of people who were given the task by our government shortly after the colonies separated from England to be independent. Those most closely affecting the final form of the symbol were two people. They are described briefly here:
Charles Thompson was a statesman and scholar who served on the first government of the United States. He had the greatest influence on the shield symbol.
William Barton was a scholar and artist. He had studied heraldry during his student career. This made him a top pick for the artist who would give the final shape to the shield.
Several early American coins showed the shield on the back.
The Two Cent Coin, shown above, clearly displays the shield. This coin was designed by the artist James B. Longacre. It was a very popular coin.
The Barber Half Dollar also clearly displays the shield.
On the Standing Liberty Quarter, the shield is once again displayed. This time the shield symbol is shown as a coat of arms on the larger shield. The Standing Liberty Quarter was designed by the artist Hermon Atkins MacNeil. He is famous for his statues which stand in many places in the US. For example, he sculpted the Lady Justice statue which stands in front of the United States Supreme Court.
The Kennedy Half Dollar proudly displays the shield on the crest of the American Bald Eagle. It not only shows the shield, but the full Seal of the United States.
The Lincoln Shield Cent boldly shows the shield. The photo to the right shows the 2019 minting of the cent.