Baseball Coin Design Competition Semi-Finalist Designs

This week, the United States Mint unveiled the semi-finalist designs for the Baseball Coin Design Competition. The winning design will be used as the common obverse of the 2014 commemorative coins issued to mark the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The $5 gold coin, silver dollar, and clad composition half dollar included in the program will all feature a convex/ concave shape.

Under the authorizing legislation, the convex reverse design will depict a baseball similar to those used by Major League Baseball. This design will be selected through the typical process which involves review by the organization, Commission of Fine Arts, and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee before selection by the Secretary of the Treasury. The designs recommended by the CFA and CCAC appear below.

HOF-Press-S-02a HOF-Press-S-02b
The concave obverse design of the coin is to be emblematic of the game of baseball and selected though a competition. The design competition had opened on April 11, 2013 and was open to US citizens and permanent residents aged 14 years and older. The US Mint seemed to expect a flood of entries and indicated a submission deadline of May 11 or until 10,000 entries had been received. Ultimately, the competition remained open for the entire period and received 178 design submissions.

From the submissions, a total of 24 semi-finalist designs were selected. These will be evaluated by Baseball Hall of Fame judges Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton, and Joe Morgan. Finalist designs will be presented to the CCAC and CFA in July for review and recommendation. The winning design will be announced in September 2013.

Below are some of the semi-finalist designs. All 24 semi-finalists can be viewed here.

Anticipation Of A Season


Essence of a Nation’s Pastime


Dad’s Baseball Glove


The Big Three


The Spirit of Baseball


Liberty is a Grand Slam

Only one of these designs will be selected and used in common across all three coins in the program. In retrospect, it might have been better to see a different design used for each of the three denominations. Some designs clearly seem more suited to the larger sized silver dollar (1.5 inch diameter) while others would seem to work best on the smaller $5 gold coin (0.85 inches).

In my opinion there are enough excellent quality design submissions to fill out three different coin designs, but under the authorizing legislation we will only see one design used for all coins.

Readers are free to leave comments on their favorite designs. Later in the summer, I will put together an unofficial Mint News Blog Poll where readers can vote on the best design among a selection of favorites.

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  1. Kraw says

    The mint should have a contest of all their designs, these are great. I like ‘Anticipation of a Season’ and ‘The Big Three’ the best. Especially since there has already been a pitcher on a coin before.

  2. Jag-Nut says

    Use them all!

    I’m sure that these are going to be sold at several different locations, make each location unique in itself. For Example use the Spirit of Baseball for the hall of fame, the big three from the Mint, Anticipation of a season sold only at the Major League Ball Parks, Nations Pastime at the minor league parks, etc., etc.,

    I know you couldn’t do that with the gold coin but I don’t see why you couldn’t with the silvers…

    This would make a unique special master set packaged together by the mint and sold towards the end of the year…

    Why not? Lets be creative!

  3. jayarejr says

    02a is clearly the design choice for the obverse, as it really would look like a baseball given the convex shape. The reverse designs are for the most part good, with the exception of the Uncle Sam and Spirit of Baseball which are lousy. I look forward with anticipation to see which design is actually chosen.

  4. simon says

    ” The winning design will be used as the common obverse of the 2013 commemorative coins issued to mark the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. ”

    I think you meant 2014 ?

  5. oldfolkie says

    Wow, it really is a shame that they can’t have a different design on each coin. As Mike stated some would be so nice on the dollar, and a totally different one would look best on the smaller gold coin.

  6. VABEACHBUM says

    Agree that we have the chance to see some great combinations. Too bad there has to be a limit. With a baseball glove being inherently concave, it would be a natural mate to the ball. “The Big Three” catches my eye immediately. Then again, while the “Spirit of the Game” appears busy, this new laser process supporting upwards of 6 finishes really could bring that one to life.

    My biggest concern is this new striking process for the Mint. The two, obverse examples have been developed in 2-D to portray 3-D, and the reverse examples have been rendered in and still portray 2-D. If the Mint thought they had “metal flow” problems with some of the previous First Spouse coins using the softer 24K gold, wait until they start working with some of these designs using a modified process and the harder, alloyed blanks. I certainly hope they engage the knowledge and experience the Perth Mint may have gained from their “Crux / Southern Cross” coin, ’cause Perth definitely got that one right.

  7. Blair J. Tobler says

    I kinda like “The Glory of the Game”, Anticipation of the Season” and “The Big Three”, which almost guarantees that those three won’t be used (lol)!

  8. Mark in Florida says

    I usually don’t get the commemoratives, and I haven’t watched baseball since I was a kid, but I’d get a couple of these if they use the concave mitt/ball design.

  9. Rich says

    AtB bullion as low as $123.77 on Provident with today’s silver drop – now they’re getting very enticing

  10. high low silver says

    It looks like the pitcher is wearing 2 gloves on the spirit of baseball coin ??

  11. Rick says

    And his forearm is a bit too contorted.
    The big three with the 13 stars near rim would be cool

  12. Smiledon says

    I have to agree that different design should have been used for each denomination. Wonder if that can be changed.

  13. Rich says

    I’m assuming orders will go to processing and credit cards will begin to be charged early next week if not already for the first batch that ships on the 17th.

  14. Smiledon says

    In my world, Big 3 would be one, Dad’s glove would be next, and Sprite of the game would be next. That would cover all parts of this game, and how most of us spent time teaching our kids how to play catch or hit.

  15. Rod says

    “it might have been better to see a different design used for each of the three denominations. Some designs clearly seem more suited to the larger sized silver dollar (1.5 inch diameter) while others would seem to work best on the smaller $5 gold coin (0.85 inches).”

    I couldn’t agree more! How can Congress be so myopic as to not understand that coins come in different sizes–“Dad’s Baseball Glove” is perfect for the $5 gold coin while only a silver dollar can handle a design like “The Glory of The Game”. And wouldn’t it be more interesting to have 3 designs rather than one (essentially all commemorative coins have different designs on the various denominations). And this way 3 citizens could have winning designs. We need to start a write-in campaign to get this legislation amended!

  16. Hawkster says

    I enjoy baseball and these are some pretty cool designs. The thing that puzzles me is, while the Baseball Hall of Fame in Coopesrtown, NY is a great organization and an enjoyable place to visit, it is a private enterprise.
    I assume that a portion of the proceeds of the sale of this commemorative is going to the Hall of Fame. How does the Mint reconcile that the buyers of this commem are also, through the prices of the coins, contributing to the Hall?

    Every piece of baseball memorabilia in the Hall of Fame has been obtained by donations. There is an entry fee that, I assume, supports the Hall. I am sure that there are also many private contributers.

  17. thePhelps says

    I think based on the designs and the recent decisions to go simple and put very little art into the coins – one of the ball mits will end up there.

    I like the big three as well – but actually don’t consider a umpire a visual part of the game. Intrinsic yes – but I am thinking big three would be pitcher-hitter-catcher myself.

    The surge to 281k has to be for the day – I don’t think the last 2 hours is realistic. I am not sure I ever read anywhere that the update at 3pm would be for sells to 3pm. I do believe I read it would include overnight sells.

  18. Don says

    high low silver,
    In regard to your obervation that the pitcher appears to be wearing two baseball gloves in the Spirit of Baseball coin: Upon closer observation on my part, this southpaw pitcher seems to be holding the ball with an open hand just before following through with the pitch. That seems like the makings of a wild pitch into the backstop net.

  19. William says

    What… no whiffle ball.

    Baseball should remain a sport, not a bunch of corporations.

    Let the kids have fun…

  20. Western_Sage says

    Personally, of the remaining available designs, I prefer the reverse design with “United States of America” on one line and the obverse with the pitcher’s glove. The glove design is a natural for the concave side of the coin.

    However, these designs have the same flaw the 9/11 medal had. Neither actually states what it is commemorating on the coin/medal. As Americans most of us will know that these coins are honoring the former national pastime, the game of baseball, but it will not be automatically understood by anyone and certainly not by many people not raised in the U.S. that these coins are honoring and benefitting the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Just as was the case with the 9/11 medals, I think this is a mistake… perhaps a serious one in terms of its effect on sales.

  21. high low silver says

    Don. I think it looks more like a boxing glove than a hand lol. OT just got back from the OC vacation just before those east coast rain storms set in and also got a beer bottle full of small shells.

  22. Hawkster says

    high low silver,

    Maybe his pitching hand is heavily wrapped up with tape. He should be on the disabled list. How the heck can he grip the ball?

    It’s raining buckets on L.I.

  23. Don says

    @ high low silver

    Yeah, I do see what appears to be a boxing glove now that you mentioned it. Instead of going for a K he is apparently going for a KO.

  24. high low silver says

    Stay dry up there Hawkster !! Only time will tell what the winning design will be….I just like that baseball glove! Seems to fit like a baseball glove (pun intended)

  25. Hawkster says

    The concave surface does lend itself to the glove design. What would really add to the design is to make a frosted glove against a mirrored field.

  26. Hawkster says

    Or, how about a hammered field for the glove to simulate worn leather. A contrasting mirrored field would make for an outstanding looking coin.

  27. SilverHawk357 says

    Dad’s baseball glove is an ingenious work in “convex-concave” and would look great on one the coins, but since the mint wants to use only one design, it would have to be one of the depictions of player(s) on the field….

  28. Rick says

    Hawkster, I agree, both would be great.
    Western_Sage, I disagree, no mistake here. these will be appreciated honoring the “current” national pastime IMO.

  29. Hidalgo says

    I am not crazy about any of the baseball mitt designs. However, considering the convex/concave nature of these coins, the baseball design on the convex obverse and Dad’s baseball glove on the concave reverse would make a perfect match.

    In terms of designs — and I am uncertain how it would look on the concave reverse — I like Liberty as a Grand Slam. Or if you click on the link that Michael provides to other designs, I like the Coming Home design.

    I see that a few folks like The Big Three design. I like it too, but am uncertain how it would look on a coin. It’s simply too busy. I question if the details would show up clearly on a coin.

  30. Hawkster says

    The one design that should be eliminated is “The Spirit of Baseball”, which depicts a pitcher about to deliver the ball. There has already been an Olympic commemorative coin produced (many say it is Nolan Ryan) that has a very similar image. It would be redundant.

  31. Eddie says

    I really like Dad’s Glove the best and would definitely buy one.
    But The Sprite of Baseball looks like a monster is about to eat the pitcher. What is in the background?
    I myself would like to have seen an air view of the baseball diamond with pitchers plate in the center.

  32. Hawkster says


    To follow up on your comments: Why does the Mint have to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is in private hands? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the Hall of Fame to commission and issue its own comm. coin(s) and sell it in their gift shop or online?

    Why can’t the Mint issue this commem. as a way to simply honor our National Pastime without worrying about anyone’s anniversary or who it might benefit moneywise?

  33. says

    Having been a coin and baseball enthusiast for over 40 years, but not an artist, I tried to enter a design. The first part went fine then they told me to send it in a second form and by the time I learned how, the deadline passed a minute earlier to enter. The lady keeping an eye on things that Saturday morning said she would ask the Mint lawyers about it on Monday, but never heard from them again.
    Anyway for the fun of it I thought I’d share my 75th anniversary Hall of Fame design with you coin people just to see what you think.
    Being a concave shape, I used the curve to simulate a curving pitch from a 1939 era player to a current modern day player wearing number 75. The Hall of Fame represents stars and once again the stars are curved to fit the concave and round coin design.
    Finally, not really being an artist I guess this would just be a concept design to be touched up… any way…. should I have had a chance?

  34. Robert says

    Really, either of the 2 baseball mitt designs are perfect for the obverse. As for “why doesn’t the mint do it some other way,” the mint is a slave to Congress, and can only do what Congress tells it to do. This is why we’re getting 3 coins, but only one design. It’s also why we have the nonsensical first-spouse gold coins, and an endless parade of commemoratives uninteresting to the general public, but that profit private organizations.

  35. Dave Collins says

    The problem with using just a glove is that it will be significantly smaller than the baseball on the opposite side which takes up the entire coin. If you want to use a ball on one side and a glove on the other, it needs to be proportionate.

  36. alexander says

    Dad’s Glove is the winner for me. Defines every kid’s memory of the game.
    It’s a home run!

  37. silverhawk357 says

    You know, after looking at coachmike’s design with pitcher and batter, it would be an excellent complement to “Dad’s baseball glove”. That’s my criticism of the ball and glove designs, Where s the batter? You can’t depict only the defensive side of the game. You need to include the offense.
    Or maybe, the whole idea of this coin is offensive to some…..!!

  38. thePhelps says

    I like Mike’s. I am not sure how it would have panned out on the coin – since it is hard to envision the concave on a flat drawing…

    The fact that $5, $10 or $35 is given to the HOF for each coin sold is a bone of contention for me as well. Why do billionaire owners and millionaire players need my money? There is also a football HOF coin being proposed with that same rider and I wrote my Senators and told them I am not happy with that for that very reason. If the money was being used for little league it would make sense – but I am not a fan of helping owners and big money players.

    These coins – I’ll buy straight from the secondary market at the same price and not contribute to the “cause”.

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