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