At separate meetings held earlier this month, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed design candidates prepared for the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins. The commemorative coin program includes a $5 gold coin and a silver dollar.
For the $5 gold coin, the United States Mint had prepared 16 different obverse design candidates and 10 different reverse design candidates. For the silver dollar, the Mint had prepared 15 different obverse and 14 different reverse design candidates. Images of all of the design candidates can be found here and here.
The CCAC recommended the designs shown above for the $5 gold coin. The obverse features a three-quarter right facing portrait of the famous author and humorist, and the reverse features a depiction of a steamboat representing Twain’s years as a steamboat pilot.
The CFA recommended the same obverse design for the $5 gold coin, but suggested that Mark Twain’s signature be added beneath the date since his name does not appear elsewhere within the design. The CFA supported the CCAC’s preference for a riverboat theme, but felt that another alternative offered the superior depiction. They noted that the pairing would provide consistent treatment between the obverse and reverse without a circular border line.
For the silver dollar, the CCAC recommended an obverse design featuring portrait of Mark Twain holding a pipe with the smoke from the pipe creating a silhouetted image of Huck Finn and Jim on a raft. For the reverse they recommended a design originally submitted for the obverse which features an assortment of characters leaping to life from Mark Twain’s works. The characters include the knight and horse from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the frog from “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and Huck and Jim from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The CFA recommended a different portrait for the obverse design, which incorporates Mark Twain’s signature. They supported the CCAC’s recommendation for the reverse design depicting the assortment of Twain’s whimsical characters. They suggested modification of the inscriptions as necessary to provide the required text without duplication.