2014 America the Beautiful Quarters Design Candidates

As the first of this year’s America the Beautiful Quarters was released earlier this week, I wanted to provide readers with a look ahead to some of the potential designs for the 2014-dated releases of the series.

Designs for each release of the program are created through a somewhat lengthy process. The process starts with the United States Mint contacting the head of the federal entity responsible for the supervision, management, or conservancy of the National Park or site to be depicted. The entity head will appoint a federal official to serve as a liaison for the site who will assist the Mint with identifying source materials for candidate designs. These source materials will be used by the Mint to produce various candidate designs, while consulting with the liaison to ensure historical accuracy, authenticity, and overall composition of the candidate design.

The next step of the process is where the general public generally receives their first look at the potential designs for each quarter. A selection of final design candidates are submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, the chief executive of the host jurisdiction for the site, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for review and comment. Next, the Director the Mint makes a final recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, after considering the comments and recommendations of the previous reviewers. Then, the Secretary of the Treasury makes the final decision.

At this point in the process for the 2014 America the Beautiful Quarters, the design candidates have been reviewed by the CFA and CCAC whose recommendations are known. The designs have also presumably been reviewed by the Secretary of the Interior and chief executive of each host jurisdiction. The recommendations offered by the CCAC and CFA are shown below.


For the 2014 Great Smoky Mountains Quarter, the CFA recommended the design shown above.

The CCAC did not make a recommendation from the four candidates provided. The committee approved a motion recommending that the US Mint provide new designs with specific request for “artists strive for more balance between images and negative space and less fine detail as suitable for a quarter dollar sized coin.”


For the 2014 Shenandoah National Park Quarter, the both the CFA and the CCAC recommended the design candidate shown above. The CCAC made a request for the Mint to remove the three rows of mountains appearing in the background since they obscured the focal point of the design.

ut1 ut2

For the Arches National Park Quarter, the CFA recommended the design above at left, while the CCAC recommended the design above at right.


For the Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter, the CFA recommended the design shown above.

The CCAC once again did not provide a recommendation, finding that the provided candidates “would not produce well on a small quarter dollar sized coin as they were too cluttered and lacked sufficient negative space.” A motion was approved to recommend that the US Mint provide new designs.


Both the CFA and CCAC recommended the design above for the 2014 Everglades National Park Quarter. The CFA requested that the cloud be removed from the background. The CCAC also recommended removal of the cloud as well as removal of the foliage appearing the the upper most horizon.

Further details on the reviews and recommendations can be found here for the CFA and here for the CCAC. The articles also include images of all design candidates for each coin.

In past instances when the CCAC has not made a recommendation, the US Mint has sometimes simply chosen from the remaining alternatives usually following the recommendation offered by the CFA. There have been a few instances when the US Mint provided a new round of design candidates which both the CCAC and CFA were able to review.

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  1. Mint News Blog says

    TN-03 was the recommendation of the CFA.

    The CCAC did not make a recommendation since the candidate with the highest point total did not exceed their 50% barrier- in order to be officially recommended a design must receive at least 15 points in their voting.

  2. Frankie says

    Thanks, I saw that too. But it still doesn’t make sense to go with the design receiving fewer points. They might as well have picked any of the other designs then…

  3. george glazener says

    Oh my God, these are Gorgeous..!!

    I can especially relate to the Great Smoky Mountains Park design. That image really captures the scenery & heritage of this park, which I have visited extensively. Shenandoah too…! The Everglades one is spectacular too. Imagine that one in the 5 oz version. UT-02 is my pick for Arches. Again, that’s the iconic “arch” in that park. These will really inject some collector interest in this series.

  4. george glazener says

    That’s not a lodge, that’s a pioneer settler’s home, aka “log cabin”. Very much a prominent feature in the park. There are several visitor centers which contain these beautiful homes from the colonial period. Cades Cove, TN is one such place, the Visitor Center at Cherokee, NC is another. I know this park well, and that scene really nails it….!

  5. Don says

    These are great designs, probably the best in the ATB series thus far. I particularly like the cabin and split rail fence, no doubt a representation of the old pioneering community of Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s an outstanding auto loop tour for Park visitors.

  6. says

    Holy cow, these are fantastic! The only one that doesn’t blow me away is the Great Sand Dunes, but even that is just “adequate” as opposed to bland or bad. 2014 could very well be the best year yet for AtBs. I wish we could just “skip” the 2013s somehow and move on to them.

    I have to disagree with the CCAC on the Smoky Mountains design; the CFA made an excellent choice and I am looking forward to seeing it blown up and put on the five ounce coin.

    Great post, Michael. 🙂

  7. Jim_D says

    @george glazener

    I agree that UT-02 is the obvious choice for Arches National Park.

    I disagree with the CCAC request to remove the mountain lines from the Shenandoah National Park design. They could easily make the mountains with rougher to finer dimples or something that keeps them in but not glaringly so.

  8. Pool Shark says

    1) Smokey Mountain design looks great; it was the best of the candidates.

    2) VA-05 was the best of the Shenandoah designs; but they need to lose the hiker.

    3) UT-02 better get the nod for Arches; On a coin, UT-01 will lok like someone shot a hole through it…

    4) CO-06 was actually the worst of the Great Sand Dunes designs; I much preferred CO-2 or CO-03 (without the hikers):

    5) What? NO ALLIGATORS???!!!

  9. stephen m. says

    The great smokey mountains is very nice looking and the eagle on it looks like it should be there. I’m a bird lover and the everglades is just awesome.

  10. Gary says

    2014 LOOKS GREAT!! I actually might be in for all five unless silver hits $100 an ounce..Then may just have to pick one?

  11. Dan in Fla says

    Sorry to be OT but has anyone heard anything new about the buffalo proof set that was coming out? Will it be in May when the 2013 Buffaloes come out?

  12. Don says

    As far as the Arches National Park design, I believe that the UT-02 design is the much more desirable of the two proposals. Besides looking better, it is the image of “Delicate Arch”, the most iconic and well known of all the arches in the Park.

  13. fosnock says

    Damn and I just order my Philharmonics, and the next wildlife series comes out and the 5oz…oh well

    The 2014 designs are head and shoulders about this years designs…but most agree the black bears looks better that the current design.

  14. old folkie says

    I agree with most, these are all great designs, I actually liked the” hikers and footprints over the sand dunes” design better than this one but it is very good. I remember reading very childish comments from the art critics knocking park superintendents for suggesting hikers be placed in some designs. I have to admit I’m losing respect for these groups that pick, “the best designs”. They are beginning to sound like art snobs, “hikers are trivial”, “remove the mountains” , “remove this detail, and that detail” . These are art that represents real places and the natural beauty in them and their connections to real people. So the view from the Stoney Man Cliffs actually is quite a view because of the mountains…… but remove them because they distract from the coin’s overall aesthetics, that’s ridiculous, you don’t remove what makes the park beautiful. And those details they don’t like, the wildlife, the flowers, the hikers, that make the parks real. I don’t think we need the “art snobs” at all. Let the park superintendents pick the designs, let the park visiting public pick the designs, let the coin collectors pick the designs. Oh yeah and that first Arches design that shows Double O arch doesn’t even show the second arch that is there and misses the beauty of the sandstone fins that you actually see thru the arch. Having looked at all the possible designs earlier I think the artists did a great job, far better than any up to this point. Next year should truly be the best representative of the America the Beautiful idea, with true National parks and excellent artwork. Again, to the mint’s artists, thank you, I think you did very well indeed.

  15. DCDave says

    “The CCAC made a request for the Mint to remove the three rows of mountains appearing in the background since they obscured the focal point of the design.”

    Seriously? The Shenandoah’s are a mountain range, so what exactly is the point of removing the image of the beautiful mountains in the backround that you actually see when you are in the park?

    Is the dude with the backpack the “focal point” of the Shenandoah National Park? Someone needs to do some explaining to me on this one…

  16. DCDave says

    @Cleveland: I don’t see a release date for the 5 oz White Mountain on the Mint website, I see that date for the 3 coin White Mountain set.

  17. saucexx says

    I think UT-2 and VA-5 are prolly my favs but I could do without the hiker. Aesthetically I like CO-6 but it seems too derivative of Glacier and Mt Hood (CO-3 and CO-5 are nice too). TN-03 is ok, I prefer TN-01 and FLA-04 is my least fav. I think I’d have gone with FLA-6

  18. gatortreke says

    I live near the Smoky Mountains and have hiked numerous trails in the park. Of the designs provided, TN-03 is the one that makes me automatically think of the park, TN-02 does as well to a lesser extent, the rest not so much.

    I also agree with DCDave that the mountain ranges in the background of the VA designs is what differentiates the east state mountains from the west state mountains. It’s much easier for artists to project the majesty of the west state mountains because of the height and size variability, much less so for the east state mountains. I think the background mountain images are important to the overall design, they really illustrate this aspect of the east state mountains. Just my opinion.

  19. Ikaika says

    @ ClevelandRocks

    Where did you get the info on the White Mountain 5oz release date? It is still to be scheduled in the mint website.

  20. Dan in Fla says

    The U S Mint is really screwing up by not offering the 5 ounce White Mountain. Seeing as I do not collect presidential clad coins I suppose That I can save my money for silver or gold eagles in April. Thanks Michael, I sure hope they come out with the Buffalo set too. Although it would probably be cost prohibitive to many folks maybe even myself.
    On a different post I was referring to a broken capsule of a gold buffalo. The mint sent me a new one that just happened to fit.

  21. HistoryStudent says

    The ATB set includes all types of federally administered sites.

    The ATB set is more beautiful because “we the people” GOT to put our shoe leather on, in, around, and through the real thing. WE alos love the nature-life.

    If “we the people” never visited them, or saw pictures of them, or knew of them they would be nothing.

    Keep at least the hint of people and animals on the coins.

  22. ClevelandRocks says

    I was told that by Customer Service, but I think DC is correct (3 coin set only) and Mint Customer Service is confused. I think the mountain range in the background of the VA coin looks nice too and would keep it.

  23. Don says

    Some of the posts have suggested losing the hiker in the Shenandoah Park design. The hiker guy doesn’t really bother me, althought it doesn’t excite me either. Substituting an animal, such as a deer or black bear, would probably be a better choice than the solo hiker.

  24. Jess says

    I am so disappointed in the Everglades coin. When I think of the Everglades I think of Alligators,not a pelican!!! If they don’t pick a coin with a gator on it, it well be the worst decision, EVER.
    I agree with Don, a hiker??? Come on, these are suppose to be NATURAL PARKS, not about humans, who destroy everything about nature. Might as well have the guy throwing down some garbage or packing a assault rifle.

  25. old folkie says

    What I find ridiculous about the “hiker” on the Shenandoah coin is I have been to that spot dozens of times over the past 5 decades and never have I seen anyone stand behind that formation to admire the view, they walk up to the tip, they crawl up to the tip or they get out there and sit to admire the beauty of it all. I have pictures of my kids at this exact spot and it will be neat to make a custom frame for the picture and the coin for each.

    I can’t help but wonder if this dislike for hikers and wildlife and “details” comes from people that simply don’t know the Parks. People that have no real grasp of the beauty, great and small, that these Parks actually have, or the wonders contained within. While I like the Smokies design a lot, having been to Cades Cove, and it’s hard to picture a Smokies trip without bears, my favorite is the salamander, dogwood, and hazy mountains. That would have been a great companion to the Coqui Frog and the Parrot. With all that said I like them all except the CFA choice for Arches, that isn’t even a good replication of the actual site, and I agree with the “bullet hole” analogy. (how would any group not bullied by a single individual pick that design anyway?)

  26. Tom P. says

    I can’t wait till they get to the states with crappy National Parks (including the state I live in now). So far there have been “real” National Parks.

    Things will get ugly (literally and figuratively) in a couple of years.

  27. says

    I have been going to Cades Cove since the early sixties and have yet to see a bear in the Cove. Strangely enough, I see the cabins every time. TN-03 nails it for me. Looking forward to the five ouncer. GO VOLS!!!

  28. Pool Shark says

    Perhaps I have a different understanding of the National Parks. I was under the impression that they were amazing slices of the most beautiful/unique/unusual examples of undisturbed nature in America. The main reason they were declared off-limits to development/settlement was to preserve them in their natural state for future generations to enjoy. While humans are a part of nature; it is the undisturbed state of the Parks that make them special; NOT the humans who visit them.

    I guess if we really wanted to accurately portray modern visitors to the National Parks on our coins, we would also show the SUV they drove in, and the trash they left behind as well.

    Maybe I’m overreacting, but I’m very disappointed with the “Lilipution” appearance of the upcoming Mount Rushmore design, and I hate to see other beautiful scenes of the Parks with numans thrown in for no apparant reason; they’re merely a distraction from the natural surroundings.

    Show the wildlife that resides in the Parks; not the human visitors…


  29. Zaz says

    @Tom: I don’t quite agree because these “parks” like Tallgrass in Kansas and Homestead in Nebraska may not have the pictorial qualities or iconic imagery of the earlier “real” parks, these are simply challenges for the designers and superintendents to come up with “emblematic” images representing the park that coinable yet interesting and arresting.

    Re: the hiker, he’s appeared before on the Grand Canyon quarter, and it’s not about him, so what’s the deal?

    The Everglades selection is outstanding and will look marvelous as a 5oz bullion or collector coin with the medal finish.

  30. old folkie says

    The vast majority of National Parks owe their existence to one or two passionate humans that certainly hiked and walked through the parks. The parks were preserved for the enjoyment of the people to enjoy the beauty and nature of those Parks. I would much rather see wildlife than people but the attitude of the reviewing boards seems to trivialize the importance of people. A set of National Park coins without a hiker here or there would be a misrepresentation of those Parks. I just can’t believe with the beauty they have to work with that they can’t include some scenery with a touch of the flora and fauna, and if a human and traces of his existence, whether it be hikers, cowboys, pictographs, or cabins adds to it’s history so be it. That said, again I am actually very pleased with most of the designs. Quite honestly I wish the designing process was open to the public, and the designs picked by the public and not a couple committees and a Treasury Secretary that probably hasn’t even visited the Parks. I never even imagined an Everglades Park without Alligators, the Smokies without bears, Shenandoah without White Tails, Dogwoods, Mountain Laurels, and waterfalls, but we can’t have it all and I’d rather have more than less…and I do believe it can be done with good artwork. And, even without an alligator the everglades coin with the anhinga and a spoonbill should be a true work of art and a great representative scene for the Park.

  31. Robertson says

    The Wisconsin quarter’s design was mainly the public’s choice, so I doubt good design is rarely achieved from holding a popularity contest.

    I agrees with Zaz. A good designer should be able to create a good design even from the most mundane subject. Ranking the national parks is a dubious task to begin with. What, for example, are the criteria? I’m from Iowa and I can’t wait to see what should be an exciting design depicting our Effigy Mounds.

  32. old folkie says

    If the Effigy Mounds doesn’t include art with Native Americans I’ll be shocked and as for the Homestead or Tallgrass Parks I think of coins like the Oregon Trail Commemorative. The coins can be just as beautiful as the talent of the artist, they’ll just be different from next years coins. I’d just a soon see the history that lead to the Parks existence than a picture of what the park looks like today. I think a great opportunity was lost with the Gettysburg coin.

  33. hi ho silver says

    old. folkie: I can agree on your comments about Gettysburg, but they also blew it on the statehood quarter of Pa. That statue doesn’t even concern anyone anymore (it was being restored in 1999) I think a better statehood quarter would have been the town of Centralia Pa. Modern day ghosttown.

  34. myth says

    I live in MA
    how would they do the lowell national park without out people. since, the park is about textiles and the industrial revolution

  35. im just a bill says

    I find all of the 2014 designs superior to the Ohio one. Ohio is just stupid, talentless and ugly. It makes me want to avoid Ohio altogether. But my ocd says I have to get it to complete my collection. So Im thinking when I display my completed set, the Ohio puck will show George Washington’s profile.

  36. Silver Sam says

    I have lived in Ohio all of my life, and I have been to all 50 states. Overall, I still love living here!!!!

  37. Jon in CT says

    ClevelandRocks wrote on February 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm:

    White Mountain 5oz release date: Tues 2/12 @ noon.

    I did see ClevelandRocks’ subsequent clarification that it was a Mint CSR who offered that info.

    Feb 12 was the original planned issue date for that coin, according to http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/?action=press_release&id=1417

    However, the Mint dug a hole for itself earlier this month by committing to a price increase of $25 for it over the current price for existing 5oz AtBs (see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01-15/pdf/2013-00670.pdf ).

    I believe the 2013 5oz AtB coins will not be released until a new Federal Register noticed is published which says

    All remaining 2012 5oz AtB coins will be re-priced at $244.95 ($25 increase over existing price)

    All 2013 5oz AtB coins will be re-priced at $229.95 (existing price).

  38. im just a bill says

    no offense Sam. ive been to ohio several times myself and had a great time. i plan on going to the rock and roll hall of fame someday too, but that coin is awful.

  39. Mark in Florida says

    I’ve been to all 50 states, but I don’t remember much about Ohio. I think I changed buses in Cleveland once and some guy tried to hit on me (as an 18 year old boy). Arizona, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Florida, now those are states!

  40. CW says

    Why am I shocked that some elitist in Washington wants mountains removed that exist in real life? I agree with the post above.

  41. posterhunter says

    Saw this on those two mysterious sets:

    United States Mint Happy Birthday Coin set. The set comprises one each of the regular Proof versions of the 2013-S Lincoln cent, Jefferson 5-cent coin, Roosevelt dime, Mount Rushmore Memorial National Memorial (South Dakota) quarter dollar (the final America the Beautiful quarter dollar for the calendar year) and the Kennedy half dollar.

    2013 United States Mint Congratulations set. It includes only one coin, a Proof 2013-W American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coin struck at the West Point Mint.

  42. Hidalgo says

    @posterhunter. I saw that article too. The article states that the US Mint plans to offer the sets annually, if customer demand warrants it.

  43. hi ho silver says

    Your correct Ohio Rick ! There is NO shading on unc. and proof coins just mirror and frosted finishes. These may look better as a drawling.

  44. stephen m. says

    OhioRick, sounds good! “it could be used to show size perspective”. I have looked at coins with hikers, etc. in size perspective and didn’t know that it’s not a true representation? Good idea.

  45. Uncleken says

    Nothing says national parks better than looking at Rocks or yet another design with the mountain in the distance & landscape in foreground. BORING.

    The only one that came close to nailing it was the Everglades design.

    Heck, they could even came out with a Pink Flamingo colored coin.

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