Monuments Men & Rosebud Sioux Tribe Congressional Gold Medal Design Recommendations

This post will complete the series showcasing the design recommendations of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) for upcoming United States Mint coins and medals.

At separate meetings held last month, each group reviewed design candidates provided by the United States Mint for two Congressional Gold Medals. The first was authorized to be awarded to the Monuments Men in recognition of their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II. The second medal is to be awarded to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Code Talkers under the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.

For the Monuments Men Medal, the US Mint provided 12 different obverse and 9 different reverse design candidates. For the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Medal, there were 2 different obverse and 2 different reverse design candidates. Images of the candidates can be found here.


The CCAC recommended the design candidates shown above for the Monuments Men Congressional Gold Medal. The obverse portrays soldiers in action, lifting and removing objects from inside a cave or mine. The artwork depicted represents major works of historic significance that were recovered by the Monuments Men. The reverse (which was presented as a candidate for the obverse) depicts a recovered work of art superimposed over a spiral graphic illustrating the “Golden Ratio,” which is a formula used to achieve beauty and balance in art and architecture.


The CFA recommended the alternate designs shown above. The recommended obverse features the same images shown in the candidate preferred by the CCAC, but with the addition of a soldier carrying a vase in the foreground. Commission members had found this alternative to be a more legible design. For the reverse, the CFA recommended a design originally presented as an obverse design which represent the thousands of works of art looted by Nazi forces with straightforward text describing the subject of the medal.

The Secretary of the Treasury has the authority to select the final designs for the medal.


Both the CCAC and the CFA recommended the designs shown above for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medal, in accordance with the preferences of the tribal liaison.

The obverse depicts a World War II Code Talker and Sicangu Lakotra warrior in profile with eagle feathers placed at the lower border of the design. The reveres depicts a rendition of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe seal.

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  1. Langston Farqharston says

    These congressional medals are becoming ridiculous. They are being awarded decades after deeds and honestly they are politically motivated. They pander mostly to minorities or special interests. Do we need a medal commemorating those who saved art? That comes before those who liberated concentration camps? Our medal program is as ludicrous as Canada’s never ending coin issues.

  2. MikeinPa says

    like the tribal seal on the code talkers, don’t really get the “golden ratio” on the monuments men

  3. Sith says

    Wow none of this talk about Mark Twain. or Arnold Palmer? By the way neither of those medals pandering to minorities. FYI the Monument Men risked their lives for art, and they also found the Nazi gold hoard. So let me get this straight this medal is pandering, but someone who played golf deserves one because he showed great sportsmanship?

  4. thePhelps says

    The Monuments medal doesn’t do much for me – they had a lot of good choices and they cam eup with these… I’ll pass.

    The code talkers is a nice one and I’ll add it to my collection.

  5. gary says

    These designs are great and the themes do not “pander” to anyone. They are very worthy of commemoration for their own importance. Comparing the worthiness of one medal theme against another is a senseless and futile exercise.
    These are medals, not coins, to be cherished for their own individuality.
    If you don’t like them for whatever reason just don’t buy them & get over it!

  6. JBK says

    We certainly have too much political correctness and pandering going on in general, but I am not sure that is the case with some of these medals. In many cases the decades-later recognition is because of racism or bigotry that existed at the time when these medals might properly have been issued, and in some cases (Code Talkers, for example), details of the programs being honored were kept secret for decades after the war.

    The Monuments Men medal does bother me a bit, not necessarily because the subject does not merit commemoration but because the medal was almost certainly the result of a movie that was made a couple years ago. Medals should be awarded based on the merits, not based on a subject that Hollywood has suddenly made popular.

    I think that the big tragedy here is that the medals are not better documented in a readily available book or on-line resource. If they were, it might help collectability. I stumbled on one on eBay that I did not know existed – it was issued in 1981 and honors Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor who sheltered several Americans in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran during the hostage crisis in 1980. There are a lot of great subjects out there, and the medals are not that expensive on the secondary market.

    Incidentally, I read that the sale of the bronze duplicates pays for the cost of the gold medal, so it is important to the program that at least some people buy the bronze versions.

  7. Sith says

    @JBK – It not a subject that Hollywood made popular…the film was funded by the German Federal Film Fund, and it was a bomb. Honoring the work of the Monument Men has been a long-term effort for Congresswoman Granger, the movie just helped her cause…

  8. Sith says

    Now if you wanted to say that the up coming 65th Infantry Regiment “Borinqueneers,” is pandering I agree, but the 65th Infantry Regiment was the last segregated military infantry unit to have not been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and like the code talkers they never received the recognition they deserved at the time because they were a segregated unit, So IMHO much like the recent “overlooked minority Medal of Honor recipients,” who were denied the Medal of Honor years ago because of bias, give them a break.

  9. Sith says

    Well maybe they were recognized at the time:

    DECORATIONS – 65th Infantry Regiment

    Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRON TRIANGLE

    Presidential Unit Citation (Navy), Streamer embroidered HWACHON RESERVOIR

    Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered KOREA

    Navy Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered PANMUNJOM

    Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered UIJONGBU CORRIDOR

    Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered IRON TRIANGLE

    Chryssoun Aristion Andrias (Bravery Gold Medal of Greece), Streamer embroidered KOREA

    …And some people think that Puerto Rico is not really part of the USA.

  10. JBK says

    Sith – thx for the perspective on the movie. I did not realize that someone in Congress had been pushing this for some time. Maybe she helped get the movie off the ground…..

    Also, good points on the 65th. I think somne of these medals are meant to raise awareness of some overlooked people/units. I know that the recognition means a lot to the recipients.

  11. Tinto says

    Was briefly looking at Coin Vault on TV and saw they are hawking NGC 2015 W Silver eagles with the US Military Academy Logo … and the proof MOD $1 is also carrying the label …. this is getting beyond ridiculous …. IMO

  12. D Rittenhouse says

    Aren’t those coins actually minted within the confines of the US Military Academy? Isn’t that why they sport the “W” mint mark, to signify they were minted at West Point?

  13. charles says

    Rittnehouse….silver eagles have been minted at West Point since 2001. First Spouse gold coins, Buffalo proof coins, American Gold Eagle s all have the W mint mark….except for bullion silver eagles….so they don’t need a special label….we have too many labels already….and the mint mark is all that is special label is needed.

  14. Jerry Diekmann says

    Sith – I agree with you. Giving a gold medal to ultra-rich people like Arnold Palmer, who really didn’t accomplish anything other than hitting a golf ball farther and closer to the pin than other people playing the game (it’s a game, not a sport – there is a difference) is a lot like “carrying coals to Newcastle”. Honor people and events because they were homoable people, whether they put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us, like the native American code talker soldiers or were a superb author like Mark Twain, or a brilliant scintist like Jonas Salk, or other people who accomplished much to make and leave this world a better place. Giving out gold medals to rich people, lor putting Eunice Kennedy Shriver on a silver coin, is the definition of pandering. Is the world a better place because Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus or Eunice Kennedy Shriver graced all of us with their presence – I think not. And why not honor the Monuments Men? They accomplished a lot more than playing sub-par golf!

  15. Brian says

    Ok, so this post is about congressional gold medals, right? These are produced in gold and awarded to the actual folks involved in these brave and heroic acts, right? The art work is often beautiful for sure.

    Now while not mentioned in this post, it is my understanding that many of these are concurrently produced as bronze replicas and sold on the Mint website. I’m curious as to what people think about collecting such mint medals in general. There is no Red Book of mint medals, right? From what I can tell, most coin collectors and numismatists focus on coins, not medals. I know I for one, collect coins in part because there is a huge community of other collectors, I know where I can go to buy them and to sell them, and there is much written about the different series, etc.

    Along these lines I’ve been scratching my head regarding this silver high relief “medal” that is to be similar to the new liberty high relief gold coin recently discussed — to be released later this year. Are typical coin collectors really going to be buying these? They’re never likely to show up in the Red Book, right? Seems there have been other silver medals offered to the public in the recent past (9/11 memorial, national wildlife, etc) , but they seem WAY less collectible than coins.

    Seems they’re planning to release this companion high relief silver medal so that those who can’t afford the often exorbitant priced gold products can still own the art-work on a “coin-like” product. But really, I think they’re kidding themselves, medals just aren’t as interesting to coin collectors as coins.


  16. A Bob says

    If anyone in congress is reading this, I would like to see more one ounce silver medals. And say hi to Biden.

  17. Jerry Diekmann says

    A Bob – No one in Congress is reading this post. That would be work, and we all know, or should know, that Congress doesn’t work, and it no longer shows any capability of passing laws or governing this country.

  18. Jerry Diekmann says

    Brian – you make some good points. There are medal collectors out there, but I don’t know how they do it, for as you have pointed out, there doesn’t seem to be any ready place, like the Red Book, to find out information about the different medals. I think there have been many medals issued in the past, but I don’t know how far back they go. I would think if they had a date, they would be more popular. I don’t know if there is any law that prevents the Mint from striking medals that might have been struck many years before. If that is indeed true, that would pretty much end the collectability of medals, at least for investors.

    As for new silver and gold medals this year, I think that the U.S. Mint may have been stricken with the terrible “RCM-Perth disease”, which afflicts countries to the north of us and the south of us with some insatiable, maybe rabid, desire to produce medals and coins far beyond any need pr purpose whatsoever. Some coin collectors and investors have become also afflicted with this disease (it’s like smallpox, only with metals) and they spend untold amounts of money to acquire products which have neither sense nor meaning now, in the past, or in the future. This “RCM-Perth disease” may have appeared in an earlier form a generation or so ago as “Franklin Mint disease” which also produced silver (and some gold) medals that have proven to have merit only in the fact that PM prices have risen a lot since they were first minted. Since these medals were sold at abominally high markups (think HSN guy or worse) I wonder if anyone who purchased any of the “Franklin Mint disease” medals or tokens has actually come out ahead on their purchases, especially if you factor in 30 or more years of inflation.

    I for one would like to see the Red Book expand its information to include medals issued by the U.S. Mint. Whether that ever happens I don’t know, but you are correct that coin collectors (and investors) far outnumber medal collectors.

    Finally, the issuance of all these medals seems like a convenient way for Congress to get around its own law they passed about 20 years ago, which limited commemorative coins to no more than two per year, after all the craziness that took place in the mid 1990s. It seems rather foolish for the rest of us to pay for bronze medals to pay for gold medals being given to two rich old golfers, but that is just my opinion. I would never buy any medals like that, silver or bronze.

  19. Tinto says

    @D Rittenhouse

    That these were minted at the West Point and carry the “W” mint mark is a given to me and all folks on MNB and commenting on that totally misses the point of what I am talking about here, which is the labels which sport the USMA logo and the lengths to which TPGs go to create labels …. to me getting the USMA logo on the label cheapens the image of the USMA …. and as @charles points out the “W” mint mark should suffice.

  20. thePhelps says

    Tinto…I think what you mean is the label collectors have now got a new label. If the W wasn’t enough to signify it was minted at Westpoint… they now have a label saying the same thing. Congrats to the label collectors – this chump is you.

  21. Brian says

    Jerry – Very funny about the “RCM-Perth disease”! I agree, it may seem that way with our US Mint sometimes – though thankfully they haven’t induced any colorization here in the States yet. I may jump ship entirely if that every happens. Seems to me any commemorative coin needs to make its way through the Senate and the House of Representatives (and the President) before being minted, whereas it seems a medal, or even bullion coins to some extent, can be produced under discretion of the Mint/Treasury.

  22. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    It’s about time men of color have there day, bros with the prez in office. They’ve been getting the bad end of the stick for centuries.

  23. CW says

    Ah Class Warfare people. How dare anyone be rich or receive a medal if they are! The horror! And how dare we honor people who did the right things in WWII. Too minority or special interest I guess. You cannot make these people up.

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