One of the most beautiful coins ever minted by the United States is the Winged Head Liberty Dime designed by Adolph A. Weinman in 1915 and minted from 1916 through 1945. It is more commonly known as the Mercury Dime.
Another beautiful design is one of nature, the snow crystal. In the early part of the twentieth century Wilson A. Bentley photographed thousands of snow crystals that were published in 1931 as a book which I highly recommend by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
Both the coin and the crystals were made available to everyone at around the same time, which seemed to me an added incentive to merge these two exquisite forms of art together in a coin, the Silver Snow Crystal.
The Silver Snow Crystal is a design that was meant to be submitted to the United States Mint, but it was not clear if it would be produced with my involvement, so I decided to have a small amount privately minted.
Since I had never created a coin sculpt I chose to work with a very talented artist that contracted with the mint by the name of Charles L. Vickers. He has since created beautiful works for the United States Mint.
In 2001 I created my first coin sculpts, one for the Star Spangled Banner Medallion and one for the Silver Snow Crystal Reverse that was used for the 2001 and 2002 strikes.
The coins were originally offered as collectibles in protective capsules, but were ultimately also made into jewelry and ornaments.
To offer variety the 1999 mintage was created in an Uncirculated Strike in addition to the Proof Strike. To obtain the Uncirculated look the engravers ground down the dies which resulted in a softer looking finish since the sharp edges around the art were removed. There was a small amount struck before the crisp detail was gone, and these were offered as Brilliant Uncirculated.
For one specific project the Silver Snow Crystal was made into twenty custom ornaments and presented to the Office Personnel of Berkshire Hathaway. The inscription reads "a snowball's beginning" which has two equally significant interpretations: 1) every snowball begins with a single snow crystal, 2) "a snowball is beginning".
The upper and lower inscriptions are reversed from each other to cause the snow crystal to spin or roll when the holder turns the ornament to read the words, resulting in the action of creating a snowball. The fact that it is a Silver Snow Crystal exemplifies the snowball of prosperity and well being.
I still envision the Silver Snow Crystal as a collectible dime, and I remain open to working with the United States Mint to make this beautiful concept available to everyone.