2015 America the Beautiful Quarters Design Candidates

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) recently reviewed design candidates for the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters and provided their recommendations.

The upcoming coins will feature:

  • Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska
  • Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana
  • Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
  • Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware
  • Saratoga National Historical Park in New York

While the recommendations of the CCAC and CFA tend to receive the most coverage, this is only one step within a lengthy design selection process which involves multiple parties with varying measures of input.

The process begins with the US Mint contacting the federal entity responsible for the national site to be depicted. The head of the federal entity appoints a liaison for the site to assist the US Mint in identifying source materials for candidate designs. From these source materials, the US Mint prepares a number of design candidates, which focus on aesthetic beauty, historical accuracy, authenticity, appropriateness, and coinability.

The initial round of candidate designs are reviewed by the liaison for the site who ensures that each design is historically accurate, authentic, and appropriately represents the site. Additional considerations such as legal rights to the images used in the designs and coinability may also come into play.

A final slate of design candidates are submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, the chief executive of the host jurisdiction, the CFA, and the CCAC for review and comment. The US Mint may make changes to address any suggestions resulting from the review process.

The Director of the United States Mint then makes a final recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, who has authority to select the final design.

That said, here are the recommendations of the CFA and CCAC:

homestead

Both groups recommended the design shown above for the Homestead National Monument of America Quarter, although several modifications were suggested. The design is intended to show the three fundamentals essential to survival for homesteaders: food, shelter, and water. Thirty stars appear surrounding the image to symbolize the 30 states that participated in the Homestead Act.

The CCAC had made suggestions to remove the stars and add the words “FREE LAND” to the design. The CFA supported these suggestions and also requested a reduction in the size of the corn husks.

Kisatchie

The groups offered different recommendations for the Kisatchie National Forest Quarter. The CCAC recommended the design shown above depicting a red cockaded woodpecker in flight against long leaf pine trees. A motion was passed to suggest increasing the amount of contrast between the bird and the background.

kisatchie-2

The CFA recommended the design shown above depicting a wild turkey in flight over blue stem grass with long leaf pine in the background.

blue-ridge-parkway

For the Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter, the CCAC recommended the design above depicting the Parkway at the Linn Cove Viaduct to showcase the drive’s scenic beauty.

The CFA offered no recommendation from the provided design candidates and expressed concern that the characteristic curvatures of the parkway were not accurately rendered in any of the candidates. They discouraged the selection of a design including the Linn Cove Viaduct, which appears in multiple candidates, since it is an atypical feature of the parkway. They encouraged the inclusion of an automobile to show the parkways’ use.

Bombay Hook

Three different design candidates for the Bombay Hook National Refuge Quarter received recommendations. The CCAC recommended the candidate above which depicts a great blue heron with a fish in its beak. Separate motions were introduced to remove the fish and remove the horizon line from the design, but each failed to pass.

bombay-hook-2

The CFA recommended both designs shown above which depict the site’s characteristic aquatic birds. The Committee indicated that the design at left depicting a great blue heron in the foreground and an egret in the background may be the most elegant composition, which could be improved by eliminating the egret. The design at right depicts a great blue heron in flight.

saratoga

Both groups recommended the design shown above for the Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter, which depicts a close up of the sword surrender. A motion was passed to add “British” to the text “Surrender 1777”. The CFA supported the suggested modification to the text.

More detailed coverage of the CCAC and CFA’s discussion of the designs as well as images of all design candidates can be found here and here.

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Comments

  1. fmtransmitter says

    KNF-07 is awesome and BH-01 is really nice except I associate those with Florida, not Delaware. I think there is room for better but looks pretty good so far.

  2. Sith says

    So we are having a ATB, that depicts an event rather than the actual park. I did not mind the artistic interpretation for Vicksburg’s , and could tolerate the sand castles for Dunes, but are we commemorating the British surrender or showing “America the Beautiful.” Then if you add that Homestead looks like a cross between Lincoln Pennies (2009 Birth penny and a Wheat Cent) I think 2015’s selections are mediocre, but that is just me.

  3. fmtransmitter says

    HP-02 will look great on a puck, I think the stars make it a bit busy, maybe less stars but keep them, just less of them. Love the corn stalks, think they will turn out nice on a bullion 5 ouncer with DMPL.

  4. fmtransmitter says

    @Sith, I agree with Saratoga, New York has so much more, why such a simple desgin? Scratching my head on that one…

  5. Sith says

    Its simple to understand the British surrender was such a pivotal moment in US history, and it would be redundant to show another obelisk\monument or cannons, my issue is why not put the obelisk (or something related to the park) in the back ground after all we are suppose to be high lighting the park.

  6. JK says

    Are the people on these committees cognizant of the fact that the ATB quarters should form a cohesive series? All 25 coins released so far show (to at least some extent) the various parks in their natural settings. I don’t see what business these folks have adding extraneous words and depicting events or symbolic objects rather than places. Homestead and Saratoga are going to stick out like sore thumbs if the recommended designs are chosen.

  7. fmtransmitter says

    42,048 on the 2013 LESPS…I am in if I can swing it…Maybe a ton of cancellations again…

  8. stephen m says

    The birds are nice I think. Bird lovers are being treated with two designs. Keep the woodpecker and drop the turkey.

  9. taribor says

    I love these coins and will continue to collect them…..but to me, many are all starting to look alike.

  10. VA Bob says

    You know the condition of the country when they put the lone word “Surrender” on a coin, knowing full well that probably 10% or less of the country could figure it out the meaning behind it. I agree with the other commenter’s it should show something ‘beautiful’ from the park.

  11. says

    Sith,

    I must chime in my disappointment with the Saratoga coin for the reasons you mentioned. I think the monument you posted, or either of the landscapes that fmtransmitter posted, would be much better choices. Of the existing designs, I would have taken the one of the two cannons, 09 and 10. I really hope this recommendation is declined and something more appropriate is picked.

    I’ve warmed up a bit to both of Kisatchie’s proposed designs, but I still think Bombay Hook looks too much like the Everglades designs from this year.

    I was also pleased to see the CFA get it right in regards to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I am hoping this means they will go back to the drawing board and get us a better design, hopefully with a classic American muscle car on the road.

  12. says

    I saw that, Hidalgo. When I heard about the hoard being found, I slapped myself in the forehead. The LAST thing you want to do when finding a horde or rare gold coins is to alert the media, because all it does is trigger inevitable attempts to take it away either by the authorities or thieves. Hopefully this couple won’t have these pieces taken away by the government, but I don’t have high hopes.

  13. thePhelps says

    I think the 2015 design options are poor. Homestead doesn’t even make sense… is that a park we are supposed to be looking at or a statement? Same can be said for Saratoga – so where in the park can we find this display of “Surrender’. The only one I even remotely like is Kisatchie, but it does look like many others in the series. The Parkway is also disappointing as depicted – don’t egt any real feel of the environment from it…

    Hidalgo – CO… you would think the government has bigger issues to deal with than pursuing that couple over monies long since forgotten. Lets face it the government probably mishandled more money than that in the time it took me to type this up.

  14. Dustyroads says

    There is no way anyone can positively link the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to the coins stolen from the SF Mint, the coins don’t have serial numbers, possession is 9/10th’s of the law, besides, hasn’t the statute of limitations run out?
    I don’t recall any problem with the Government trying to seize “SS Republic” coins.
    Also, as far as know, California has no laws preventing anyone keeping lost treasure. After all, they weren’t doing an exploration where a permit would most likely be needed, it was on their own property.
    I’m going to be shocked if the Government seizes these coins with nothing more than a probability.

  15. Two Cents says

    It’s odd that for the Saratoga coin, the designer opted to use the word “Surrender” instead of “Victory”. Why make it from the viewpoint of the British instead of the viewpoint of the Americans — after all, Saratoga is an American National Park.

  16. VABEACHBUM says

    The 2015 designs sure are a step down after some of the big winners in 2013 and 2014. I’m definitely siding with the majority when it comes to Saratoga; they’re supposed to be recognizing the aspects of the park rather than the “moment.”

    WRT the Hoard – CBS evening news will a segment on the subject sometime in the next 25 minutes. I’ll be interested to see their perspective. Given some of the other coins that were struck (and removed) under suspicious circumstances (Liberty V’s, ’74 Aluminum Penny, etc.), hard to believe UNCLE would attempt to recover these coins based on an unconfirmed, perponderance of evidence. After all, the Gov’t stands to make a butt-load more on the taxes against the treasure than the actual valuation of the currency.

  17. thePhelps says

    Two Cents – I believe they are going to add the word “British” tot he coin before it is produced. Even so…not much park in a surrender..

  18. says

    thePhelps,

    Homestead is a depiction of the park. Sith kindly posted a picture earlier: http://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/photogallery/mwr/park/home/5E6319C1-ED0C-A964-DE6DD0F41F7AA498/5E6319C1-ED0C-A964-DE6DD0F41F7AA498.jpg

    I agree with all your other comments regarding the 2015 designs. No one seems like any of them except Kisatchie. None of the designs are that exceptional, but Saratoga in particular really needs to be changed.

    Dustyroads,

    I agree the evidence is likely very thin, but I have little confidence in the courts after what happened to the Langfords: https://www.coinweek.com/commentary/coin-rarities-related-topics-the-jury-verdict-in-the-case-of-the-langbord-1933-double-eagles-20-gold-coins/

    I cannot ever remember hearing a court case in which the government has alleged valuable coins were stolen and lost the case. The jury always seems to side with the government.

  19. VABEACHBUM says

    Follow up to the CBS Evening News – Apparently, the US Mint had issued a statement indicating that they do not have any clear, specific evidence tying the Hoard to the 1899 Theft from the SF Mint Cashier’s Vault, and that they do not intend to investigate the matter any further. While I’d like to believe the Mint, I’d still like to see a copy of that statement.

  20. Warren says

    Regarding the Saratoga National Historical Park, I’ve lived in New York not far from the park (<20 mi.) for 16 years. The last time I visited it was about 5 years ago. I have to say, as national parks go, it's pretty barren. A circuitous road meanders through the park, which is mostly open fields interspersed with scraggly forest. Along the way they have information boards set up at certain locations. You can get out of your car and walk around to read the signs and boards. I know they have guide maps to follow, but I think they might have audio guided tours as well.

    There really isn't much there to put on a quarter to tell the truth. I actually preferred the coin designs that had the cannons, and especially SNHP-01 with the small period looking building in the background. Just look at the Park's webpage, http://www.nps.gov/sara/index.htm, and you'll see that exact scene, with the cannon facing a different direction. At first glance I thought Sith's cabin photo was from the Saratoga National Park. It looks a lot like that in person. The Monument might be another good candidate for the quarter, but monuments kinda get overdone.

    FM transmitter, I'm not sure your photos are of the Saratoga National Historical Park. There isn't anything like that on the Hudson by the park. It is gentle farmland type rolling hills all the way down to the water's edge, as far as I know. And the second photo actually looks like it comes from the nearby Saratoga Spa State Park, located closer to the city of Saratoga Springs (a much more picturesque park than the national one, by far). This state park is not affiliated with the national park. My wife and I take our kids there all the time in the summer.

  21. fmtransmitter says

    I stand corrected…Thank you…
    Hoard: I just would hate to see any attempts at a law suit. I think AMAZON already paid these folks cahs money and own these coins out right and are going to use the publicity to get people talking about AMAZAOn again since they got their PRIME now and other marketing tools to boost sales. I must admit, that PRIME is nice, I got half off with a .edu email and you can watch all those movies and the free 2 day shipping has got my items to my door in lightening time.

  22. Brian says

    The folks got it right for the BRP. As an Asheville resident and having travelled most of the parkway, the depiction of the Linn Cove Viaduct is THE most fitting tribute for the QTB quarter design. The folks really did well!!

  23. Jerry Diekmann says

    I agree with all of you bloggers who think that the Saratoga design is bad. It is worse than bad – it is horrible – it doesn’t depict the park or anything in it and the word “surrender” should have been “victory”, but in any case, the design is just terrible – even worse than Hot Springs, which someone likened to a bidet in front of a mausoleum. The current design is a travesty and a disgrace and it really needs to be replaced by something closer to what several of you have recommended.

  24. john says

    I got my mint bag today with my order is this a joke?,I do not know what its made of but its like fake paper.what a waste of money.

  25. simon says

    Warren : I visited Saratoga Springs years ago, saw the dive where “Mr American Pie” was composed, and had a great dinner at Mother Goldsmiths. Are any of these places still around ?

    I agree there should have been some landscape on the coin.

  26. ClevelandRocks says

    The “I have a coin collection at my house” re-usable bag just arrived from the Mint (no coins). What a scam!

  27. Warren says

    Simon, I don’t frequent the town of Saratoga, just the state park, but Mother’s is now the Seven Horse Pub. Mother actually died in 2012. He, yes he, was 103. http://burkefuneralhome.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=844880. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Mother’s.

    As for American Pie, I think you’re thinking of Cold Springs, NY. That’s down the Hudson, across the river from West Point.

  28. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    I knew this would happen. They’re running out of ideas.

    Homestead is a runoff of the Great Smoky Mtns. quarter.
    The Kisatchie and Bombay Hook birds look like Everglades quarter.
    The Saratoga looks like the 2011 Sacagawea where they are passing the peace pipe.

  29. smiledon says

    I said this awhile back, I am a husker through and through.
    I find the fact that the Nebraska state quarter will have CORN on the back!
    Why not put a large red N on the back showing Memorial stadium ?!?!

  30. simon says

    Warren : I have the honor of a handshake with Nate Goldsmith. He did have his trademark cigar but I don’t recall the whiskey. The atmosphere in the restaurant was one of genuine good cheer. I particularly remember the delicious soup starter and the handmade old world Jewish breads. I still have a mug with the Mother Goldsmith’s logo from that sunny day in 1984. 🙂

    I believe all his siblings owned similar restaurants. The story I heard then was that some of the recipes were of his mother’s home cooked meals.

  31. fmtransmitter says

    You can tell it is the same artist, may be why there is a big push to obtain new artists.

  32. CW says

    The ATB series is done. The mediocre art and choices of locations have done it in. I would imagine the high prices for Hawaii volcanoes, etc. will decline as well. With the exception of a few they should put parks that people actually associate with the state on it. Great Sanddunes I am looking at you.

  33. TheCoinKeeper says

    Saratoga – Agree. I’d rather see soft rolling hills. Something “beautiful.”

  34. Sith says

    @CW-

    The bullion ATB program was in serious trouble when they only made 33K the first year. I doubt their will be a reduction in price soon, because the current batch of ATBs and all future batches will sell well as long as the bullion ASE are in allocation. These coins are a good way to stack silver so interest will remain with the program regardless of the quality of the designs. Then if only a small percentage decide to collect it will maintain prices…the difference between ATBs priced as bullion and the Volcanoes ATB is less than 10k coins and in one case 4.4K.

  35. oldfolkie says

    Homestead and Saratoga are rather pathetic designs for “America the Beautiful” I have no problem with the birds, I actually think they are artistic and excellent representations of what makes the parks special. Why can’t the more Historic parks be represented with pictures of their history presented artistically like the Oregon Trail coin. A car, would add a lot to the Parkway coin and I could live with a much older model from the beginning era of the Parkway or a more recent car reflecting the heyday of the American muscle car, either way the mint is missing an opportunity to attract more collectors. As we head into the unknown parks of the ATB years I hope they get a little more creative with the designs. The Saratoga and Homestead designs will mean little to the unknowing public that with a good design could be educated a bit.

  36. ridgerunner says

    The ATB series will be produced to the end. The mint is not going to stop just because pieces sold drop. The mint hasn’t done it with the First Spouse series or any of the other sets that have seen a decline over the years, not since they produce so many coins for everything under the sun.

  37. says

    CW,

    I strongly question this assertion. The last two releases (Ft. McHenry and Mt. Rushmore) showed substantial sales growth. The prospects for the 2014 AtBs also seem good to me, due to good quality designs and continued low silver prices along with the subscription discount incentive. We have seen something of a revival in interest in the program in recent months (which makes me happy as I have been faithfully buying these coins since Hot Springs).

    I have to admit to concern about how the 2015s will sell, though. Obscure parks/monuments combined with very weak design choices could harm sales.

  38. posterhunter says

    This series is starting to look like the spouse series, too much of the same thing and no cohesive plan.

  39. Sith says

    CO,

    That is good news about the platinum coins, too bad they are only valued at $100. I was hoping to get a trillion dollar coin. As far as 2015 I don’t think demand for the bullion coins will diminish but they may for the “P” versions. I for one I’m taking advantage of the nice 2014 designs, the subscription discount with the low price of silver. But I’m already on the fence for the 2015 designs so it would not take much to have me stop my subscription.

  40. Sith says

    @posterhunter – The mint knew that going in as they were initially worried that animals would take over. IE even now their are a lot of birds and quadrupeds. The major deference between this and the first spouse is that the designs are for circulating coins,.

  41. Eddie says

    i liked BRP-06 for North Carolina it even had a car on the parkway and trees and a bird on a dogwood and a stonewall.On BRP-05 all we have is a “parkway” and that is all. It is kinda bad after looking at all the other designs the Parkway looks pretty good. So sad. These are the worst designs to date and like everyone has said I thought these were suppose to be about National Parks.

  42. Dustyroads says

    Come on y’all, lets at least let the Mint make a decision before we get all worked up, I think the US Mint knows the designs are lacking a bit. It’s my belief we are going to like a few of them, and maybe really like a couple.
    Just want to share something. A few days ago I went through the coins I’ve collected over the past few years and I noticed that the P-pucks are the most impressive pieces of them all. As for me, I’m looking forward to some beautiful designs to come.

  43. Jon in CT says

    Dustyroads wrote on March 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm:
    Come on y’all, lets at least let the Mint make a decision before we get all worked up, …

    Seriously? Don’t make any noise until the Mint decides, which makes any subsequent criticism moot?

  44. says

    I agree with Dustyroads. CO and others that enjoy the ATB 5 oz pucks. Whether you like them or not, they are each unique in their on way, and for the price you can buy them at…well….you won’t find a better deal for a 5 oz coin.
    And these are LOW mintage coins for silver issues. If you want to give up on these or don’t like them, fine…but I look forward to these now and in the future.

    I have thought from the beginning of this series of 5 oz coins, that the Mint is finally stepping “outside the box” and doing something that we as collectors shoud embrace.

  45. Louis says

    I agree with Steve. But I wish more people knew about them. Forget about the general public. I recently interviewed one of the most famous dealers and richest men in America whose company sells billions of coins, art, etc., and he told me he had never even seen one!!

  46. says

    Dustyroads, I agree with what you’re saying in general, but I do find that in most cases the CFA/CCAC recommendations get approved and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to criticize these choices. I’m pretty sure the Mint does pay some attention to what collectors and fans say, here and other places, so if they don’t get negative feedback they may not even realize some people are unhappy with the design choices.

    With that being said, I am a dedicated collector of this series and will not stop buying them, either. Sometimes the Mint is going to make choices I don’t like and I cannot expect every coin in the series to be a “home run.” I’ve just been exceptionally happy with the art direction taken in 2013-2014, and I feel like the 2015s are a step back in terms of design quality.

    Louis,

    That’s a pretty surprising to hear. It’s a shame the bullion doesn’t enjoy more popularity. I think it’s a more efficient way to stack than tubes of one ounce silver eagles, especially since at times the AtB bullion has had lower premiums than the silver eagles.

  47. thePhelps says

    Fellas…face it – if the mint actually listened to us – there would be a different CRA coin for sale today.

    I think the general problem with these coins is seldom do they get told to go back and start over – and we get a selection that is bad and they attempt to find the good in those choices.

    I think for 2014 they did really good in finding interesting choices – 2013 wasn’t bad either – but 2015 looks like a rolling disaster to me personally. The best I can say about the coins – including those that got excluded – is at least they are 5 ounces of silver. To me that is how bad this set looks.

  48. Warren says

    This is going to sound really lame after what Phelps just said, but I wanted to respond to “at least let the Mint make a decision before we get all worked up.” At that point it’s too late, and we’re stuck with a horrible coin(s). Hopefully someone at the Mint (an associate, aide, someone, anyone) may read forums like this and gets a feel for our reactions so they can inform someone who makes a decision once in a while. You never know. But I think we need to at least try by voicing our opinion. I’ve sent emails to the mint on their “contact us” link begging them to pick a better Saratoga scene. Since this is my back yard, I would rather a coin I’d be proud to hand to some else, rather than hide.

  49. VARich says

    This is all the more why GSM at a low Ag price point w/ 10% discount will be one of the bargains of the decade! Hope the discount holds for Shenandoah!

  50. VARich says

    VA Bob – with the poor showing for the TR C&C set, I wonder it the lack of interest may nix the future silver medal opportunities? I’d like to see the code talkers in silver though they would have to be close to spot.

  51. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Really none of this stuff really matters. I have a hard time just making a living. People getting salary and jobs cut. I’m happy to have a quarter whatever the design.

  52. Ray says

    I wonder if we’ll see the mint raise the prices on the 5oz AtBs, right before it starts fulfilling subscription orders. It seems like something they would do. Should be interesting. These 5oz AtBs are priced amazingly at 159 – 10% discount

  53. Larry says

    Don’t tell anyone, but if you go to Coinworld’s website, and then go all the way down to the bottom of the page, under DIGITAL EDITION, click on “coinworld”, you can view the latest edition. No sign in required. Guess they haven’t figured out how to get the sign in working since they changed their website.

  54. KEITHSTER says

    I see some of the mintage #’s for 2014 are now listed. An extra 5,000,000 NA$1 that won’t go anywhere must be the 20% thing? But what’s up with all the quarters with 99,400,000 in the denver smokies that makes the shenadoah’s come in at 123,000,000 for denver alone. It’s starting to take some of the fun out of getting the rolls 🙁 I’m thinking they’ll end up like the state ones although the philly shenadoah’s are only at about half the denvers they might just be playing catch-up we’ll see? I’m still thinking so many are being made because they know the metal change is just around the bend and they want plenty of the old ones out there so they can say what you mean who wants clad? sorry mint but keep it down 🙂 Oh well just had to say Have a nice day and keep the luck all:>:>:>

  55. Robert says

    Delaware is so small there is no National Park. Thankfully there is the National Wildlife Refuge otherwise they might have had to expose our greatest secret areas to the World. The Big Assawoman Bay and Little Assawoman Bay down near the Indian River Inlet are our most private areas in the State. Thank god we weren’t forced to display either one on a Coin. Whew close one. LOL

  56. Nick says

    I like the turkey designs. I like the cannons. The ox look much better than the recommended for the homestead. They NEED to select the ducks for the Bombay hook. I don’t mind animals on the atb’s

  57. high low silver says

    Too bad they didn’t include Dover speedway in the background of Bombay Hook….. or change the design to a blue crab, or Grotto pie.Lol

  58. Sam says

    I agree with the comment made by Capt Overkill – these are obscure parks with very weak design choices. Saratoga and the homestead designs are especially awful – definitely will not purchase. Who is responsible for selecting such bad designs and why doesn’t the mint listen to feedback from its collector (and customer) base? Seems to me the folks on those committees need to be replaced or their recommendations about coin designs overridden.

  59. VARich says

    high low – how did the BuffZom turn out? I haven’t ordered mine yet, should have Ag back on the rise

  60. high low silver says

    I got the copper one, my others toned a PL orange. The complete set should look nice if the rest do the same 🙂

  61. VA Bob says

    Va Rich – You may be right. Silver medals haven’t seemed to catch on with collectors. At least not in a big way. I hope the TR set impresses.

  62. Robert says

    I really hate the Homestead design. Really awful clip-art. I agree with others here on the Saratoga design. This is supposed to be the “America the Beautiful” series, and neither of those designs represents the theme of the series.

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