5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Designs

Next year, a commemorative coin program will feature five 5-Star Generals of the United States Army, who are all alumni of the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recently reviewed the design candidates for the coins prepared by the United States Mint.

The program includes a $5 gold coin, silver dollar, and clad half dollar. The portraits of the five generals are divided amongst the three different coins. The obverse of the gold coin features a portrait of Douglas MacArthur, the obverse of the silver dollar features portraits of George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the half dollar features portraits of Henry “Hap” Arnold and Omar N. Bradley.

The US Mint provided from five to ten different alternatives for each obverse and reverse of the three different coins. While the CFA made its recommendations from each respective slate of alternatives, the CCAC took a different approach.

CCAC Chairman Gary Marks directed committee members to sections of the authorizing legislation which emphasized the Command and General Staff College. One section mentions that the coins will be issued to coincide with the 132nd anniversary of the College, and another states that the coins shall be minted and issued “in recognition and celebration of the 5-Star Generals attendance and graduation from the Command and General Staff College.” Based on this legislative direction, the CCAC only considered reverse designs which were emblematic of the college. This consisted of only the seven alternatives that the US Mint had provided for the half dollar reverse. As such, only these seven alternatives were considered by the CCAC for the reverses of all three coins.

This is not the first time that the CCAC has taken an uncharacteristic approach to reviewing design candidates provided by the US Mint. When evaluating the alternatives provided for the Star Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins, the CCAC had evaluated all obverse and reverse design candidates across both coins collectively. This resulted in recommending an alternative originally intended for the gold coin for the silver dollar, and vice versa. Ultimately, the selections by the Secretary of the Treasury mostly matched their recommendations.

Shown below are the design recommendations from the CFA and CCAC for each of the 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coins. To view all design alternatives provided by the US Mint, refer to these CoinUpdate.com articles on the CFA review and CCAC review.

CFA Recommendation – $5 Gold Coin

CCAC Recommendation – $5 Gold Coin

CFA Recommendation – Silver Dollar

CCAC Recommendation – Silver Dollar

CFA Recommendation – Half Dollar

CCAC Recommendation – Half Dollar (no recommendation for obverse)

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  1. Paul says

    I have been part of the military and CGSC. I enjoy military history and I think all five generals are worthy candidates… but I don’t see anything here that makes me want to buy these coins. Maybe we need to skip coiins with a 13 on them! I don’t think Gen.MacArthur would put sunglasses on any of the sculptures he would make of himself, please don’t put them on a coin.

  2. Mint News Blog says

    Steve- see the fourth paragraph of the article.

    The CCAC considered only the seven candidates prepared by the US Mint for the half dollar for the reverses of all three coins.

  3. Frank says

    None of the design seems interesting. After a relatively exciting 2012 for the commemorative coins, the designs come boring again. What a waste for such a good theme.

  4. VABEACHBUM says

    Not that yet another variety of military style commemorative has been legislated, but I note with interest how the CCAC focused on the literal guidance within the legislation. This gets back to a comment I made within the previous APE thread, to Louis and others, about how the creativity of our better Mint artisans is becoming pigeon-holed by the edicts of our legislative machine. The different versions of our Lady Liberties from yester-year were the result of freedom of vision and allegorical creativity. The same ol’ bland just ain’t selling. Turn those Mint artists loose; find out just how creative they can be!!

    Now, all that being said, I’m seriously enthrawled by the Eagle Design the CCAC recommended for the Silver Dollar reverse, and could easily support a version of that same design as the new eagle reverse for a next-generation ASE coin. I also see lots of potential for use on a high relief coin. Hell, given the Eagle, the Shield, the Arrows and the Saber, this design also would have been better suited for the 2012 APE “Provide for the Common Defense” issue.

    @ Paul – Also a Vet and agree 100%!! I do not want to see any sunglasses on US coins – EVER!!

  5. ABC says

    Wow, I like the CCAC Recommendation for the Silver Dollar the best. It would be great if it was an ultra high relief coin.

  6. Tom Dvorak says

    Tired of all the military coins . . . but here goes

    I have to say that the CFA got it right on the MacArthur $5 gold. The CCAC recommendation (Mac in Glasses) is horrible. As art, the otherwise pedantic depiction of the soldier charging up the beach is better than the lamp recommended by the CCAC. The CCAC got it really wrong on this one, I think, they just chose the wrong designs.

    I also think the CFA got the obverse of the Silver Dollar right, it’s a better depiction of of Eisenhower and Marshall. The CCAC recommendation with the flag is just too busy looking. When you have two portraits on a coin, it has to be kept simple (the Wilbur and Orville Wright portraits on the 2003 Commemorative Dollar are a good example) Both of the reverse designs recommended by the CFA and by the CCAC for the Dollar seem quite good! These are nice designs, but I find that I am really indifferent between them.

    Putting a lamp or the CGSC seal on every coin is stupid and I don’t think Congress mandated that at all. Is the CCAC trying to teach Congress to be more general in their directions by making the coins ugly? I don’t get it.

    Congress did a silly thing, here, by mandating 3 coins to commemorate five people. It’s a messy concept and should not have been voted into law. And, though not the fault of Congress, a lot of people will (and should) complain about MacArthur getting ‘top billing’ on the $5 Gold.

    I’m a veteran and my father also served in the military, but I think we have to put a stop to all of these military themed commems . . . it’s getting out of control and people are starting to do silly things.

  7. Val says

    MacArthur is exactly the right guy for the gold coin!! Read his biography(s). How the mint figured that out is beyond me. I look forward to these coins, next year.

  8. VA Bob says

    Funny the coins with two portraits look like election campaign buttons. As much as I’m beginning to despise “special sets”, maybe they should have given each general their own coin. A silver half dollar would have been fine. They seem to be ranking them by coin denomination. I hope the coins reflect the detail of the drawings, I’ve been disappointed before (and I’m sure I will be again in the future, but one can hope).

    Also what about the five star Admirals? Guess they didn’t count. I know it’s about the Command and General Staff College, but the omission seems huge. I really hate the direction these “by legislation” commens are taking, too restrictive.

  9. Olde Sailor says

    I think all World War Two 5 star generals/admirals should each be on a silver half dollar or bronze medal in a set …..I won’t waste coin money a gold sun glassed MacArthur !

  10. ClevelandRocks says

    @Steve, great first comment!

    These coins will further Michaels theory of super low mintages/ sales being the new norm.
    Wow look at last week’s sales. Pathetic!
    Need to pull the plug on the 2011 ATBs at some point, they will be available until 2016 at this rate (do the math). Do you guys think the Mint will stubbornly hold out for the 35k sales number for the ATBs?
    Anyone else write the Mint about our feelings on the re-release of the proof S-ASE? Why don’t they suck it up and give us a burnished S and make everyone happy, including sales of the product (I would buy a couple burnished S ASEs, but will skip the 220th offering as is with the proof re-release).

  11. gatortreke says

    @VABEACHBUM: Can you provide a link to the Eagle design reverse for the silver dollar recommended by CCAC you mentioned above? I’d like to see exactly what you are referencing. Thanks!!

  12. VABEACHBUM says

    @ Gator – The design is pictured above. Even though the drawing says “half dollar,” CCAC recommended it for use as the reverse of the “5 Star” Silver Dollar. As Michael stated, all of the CCAC reverse recommendations came from the half-dollar submissions. Just my opinion, but I think this is one of the better symbolic eagle renditions to be produced in quite some time.

  13. Shutter says

    Also what about the five star Admirals?
    More importantly, what about Black Jack Pershing? He outranked all of these.

    Also, there were 5 5-star Generals, so there is a certain fake symmetry there. There were only 4 5-star Admirals. Besides, admirals have a shot at having an aircraft carrier named after them. I’d rather have that, than sharing space with some other guy on a clad half.

  14. VA Bob says

    “I’d rather have that, than sharing space with some other guy on a clad half”

    I’d prefer them on a silver half, individually, not clad. As for the aircraft carriers, Ike was the last five star to get his name on a carrier. They now name them after (mostly, the John C. Stennis being the odd man out) presidents, which bugs me to no end. Pershing did get a nuclear warhead capable missile named after him, also a tank, but I’d give him the benefit of a doubt and include him in this coin set.

    Auxmike – I’d like to see Patton honored as well, but alas he only made 4 stars and that almost didn’t happen. He’d make a great subject for a coin. His famous soldier slapping incident would probably be too non-PC these days.

  15. VABEACHBUM says

    @ VABOB – The USS Eisenhower, CVN 69, was named, similar to most of the Nimitz Class aircraft carriers (T Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, Truman, Reagan & GHWB), because of the Presidency rather than his status as an Army 5-Star General. The three exceptions are the Chester Nimitz (lead ship and class name), the Carl Vinson and the John C. Stennis.

    Interestingly enough, Chester Nimitz was the last 5-Star Admiral of the Navy, so naming a formidable ship after him makes sense. Still deserves a coin, though. Vinson was a 50 year US Representative (GA) from the early 1900’s into the mid 60’s, a staunch supporter of the Navy – Marine Corps Team, and considered to be one of the earliest proponents of the Two Ocean Navy that finally was in place and operational 12 months before the US was drawn into WW II. Stennis was a 40 year US Senator (MS), having a long history of serving on and guiding the Senate Armed Services Committee and becoming known as the Father of our Modern Navy.” The Stennis Space Center in southern MS also is named after him.

  16. VA Bob says

    VAB – I forgot completely about the Carl Vinson since it moved over to the west coast LOL, getting old. I realize Ike got the ship because of his presidency, but if one checks out the ships badge (logo) it has 5 stars on it. Been to all of the nuke carriers except the Reagan, Bush, and the now under construction Ford. But it was the USS America that holds a special place in my memories. She’s on the bottom of the Atlantic now.

  17. VABEACHBUM says

    @ VA Bob – “Roger All” after Nostalgia, my friend!!!

    As a sidenote, I know with certainty that the second, Ford Class CVN will be named “JF Kennedy,” but I also have heard rumor that the third ship might be named “America.” Definitely been a hot-button topic in the ‘Gon. With you having served on CV-66, I hope your future might include the opportunity to cross the brow of the next one!

  18. VA Bob says

    VAB – Thanks, if they do another “America” and it’s built locally, I would surely try to go to the commissioning. Both the JFK and the America were worn-out when they were “retired”. They kept those oil burners cruising. I’ve heard the G. Ford was going to be the last Nimitz class carrier, then a smaller design.

  19. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    what about other American heros like Martin Luther King, Jr. (his time on a coin is long overdue) Alan Shepard, Sally Ride, John Glenn, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Mark Spitz, T. Roosevelt people who inspire hope that we are a people if we work hard and keep at it we can achieve any dream.
    oh, i forgot, we already have everything given to us now.

  20. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    cool designs, though

    “I have full confidense in your duty and skill in battle. We will except nothing less than full victory!” IKE

  21. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    the guy with the sunglasses is totally cool. if i have the dough i’m definitely going to purchase it.

  22. Jamie Thompson says

    The MacArthur coin designs aren’t very inspiring. But since some versions of these will be minted, I would ask two things: Please take the sunglasses OFF of General MacArthur on the CCAC recommended obverse of the $5 gold coin, and take the Japanese helmet off the U.S. Marine on the CFA recommended reverse of the $5 gold coin.

  23. John says

    I would like to see all five on the Silver Dollar , some of us can not afford the Gold Coin, and do not like the clad half dollar, that has no bullion value.

  24. Richard W says

    General George Patton owns the right to have his image on the obverse of this coin with the CCAC aproved Eagle on the reverse,but in High Relief.

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