The CCAC advises the Treasury on historic new coins, part 3: War in the Pacific National Historical Park quarter

Background image courtesy of AgnosticPreachersKid.

The following is the third of a six-part series currently running on our sister site, Coin Update

War in the Pacific National Historical Park Quarter (Guam)

Every time I go to Washington for a meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, I visit the gift shop on the ground floor of United States Mint headquarters at 801 Ninth Street. Most of the facility is closed to the public, but the lobby gift shop (they call it a “sales counter”) is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. during the week and anyone can stop by and browse the latest Mint products, as well as older pieces.

The U.S. Mint’s 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated coin set.

After our September 19, 2017, CCAC meeting I stopped by and bought a 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated coin set. This is a special set made for the Mint’s celebration of the 225th anniversary of American coinage. It contains 10 coins with “Enhanced Uncirculated” finishes, each bearing the S mintmark of the San Francisco Mint. It’s an attractive collection of the Mint’s current coinage, including the year’s five America the Beautiful quarters.

Designs for the 2019 America the Beautiful quarters were among those the CCAC convened to study in our September 19 meeting. The first two portfolios of quarter dollar designs were for Lowell National Historical Park (in Massachusetts) and American Memorial Park (in the Northern Mariana Islands). The third was for War in the Pacific National Historical Park in the U.S. territory of Guam.

Guam’s only official national park was created to remember the bravery and sacrifice of everyone who participated in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater of World War II—including, interestingly, the Japanese.

The National Park Service’s acting superintendent for Guam, Mr. Paul Scolari, was on the phone line for our meeting, despite it being well past 1:00 in the morning in his time zone. He described War in the Pacific as being a historical park (including two important landing-beach battlefields) more than a living park, although it does include natural and scenic areas.

Hover to zoom.

The 1944 liberation of the island is very important, he said, and the Park Service’s preferred design, GU-02, commemorates it in a very active way. Scolari noted that Memorial Day is a significant celebration on the island, with traditional displays of U.S. and Guam flags, as seen in the right-hand portion of the design.

Another military-action design, GU-03, was developed with a lot of input from park staff based on photographs from World War II.

Scolari called GU-03 “compelling and raw,” and “a very realistic portrayal of the assault on Guam.”

To me, GU-02 is the design that most dynamically illustrates the military action of the war along with the scenery of its locale. It would translate well to the three-inch diameter of the five-ounce silver bullion version. My only concern is the angle and position of the Marine’s right foot: it appears to be to the foreground of his left foot and simultaneously twisted to the right, which would throw him off balance. This is the type of thing the Mint’s artists can review and either decide to keep (for dramatic tension) or modify. To me, GU-03 lack the energy and sense of urgency of GU-02, although it meets what I consider a crucial requirement of this coin: it shows World War II military action.⤵️

There was a general—though not unanimous—sense among the committee that showcasing the wildlife and flora of War in the Pacific National Historical Park would diminish the park’s war-memorial purpose (and, by extension, the purpose of its quarter dollar). We did, however, appreciate the artistry of the designs that incorporated green sea turtles, Moorish idol fish, coral, and underwater plant life.

Member Erik Jansen called GU-06 “a provocative melding of two very different worlds.” Dr. Herman Viola, a U.S. Navy veteran, said that “biodiversity is nice, but not crucial or appropriate” to this coin. He spoke about the emotional connections that veterans feel when they visit military memorials.

CCAC members Thomas Uram, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, and Erik Jansen (foreground to background), with U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza at Mint headquarters, June 2017.

Member Jeanne Stevens-Sollman said that featuring animals would be a “frivolous” way to show what happened in Guam during the war. She singled out GU-03 for its artistic use of negative space and reflections. Member Thomas Uram would have liked to see a scene showing flags and land above, with water and sea life below. “I’ve voted for every turtle so far,” he noted, humorously observing that the Secretary of the Treasury has yet to approve a quarter with a tortoise or turtle, despite several CCAC recommendations. Uram gave his support to the National Park Service’s preference, design GU-02.

Member Robert Hoge, disagreeing somewhat, said, “I like the biodiversity aspect and would like to see it” on the coin. He called out design GU-06, showing both animals and the relics of warfare, although he suggested substituting something other than aircraft, since no downed planes actually rest in the waters of the park. Hoge sounded a warning about GU-03, noting that showing the water’s reflections could be difficult in coin form: “This is a sculpture, not a drawing, that we’re trying to convey.”

To the latter point, member Mike Moran, looking at design GU-01, had a message for the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program artists: “Artful shading will not coin. Stop doing it!” This is something other committee members have noted in CCAC meetings. The grayscale and shading that impart detail in a pencil sketch are difficult to translate to die-struck metal. There are some things the Mint can do with laser texturing and other sculptural techniques to give the suggestion of shading, but the media are not equivalent. A design that depends on shading at the draft stage has a hard road to travel if it wants to become a coin.

Returning to the tension between military themes and scenes of natural splendor: Acting Chair Donald Scarinci gave an impassioned plea, saying that American coinage has “too much war.” “We look like all we do is make war,” he observed, giving examples of recent commemorative coins honoring the U.S. Army, World War II, Infantry soldiers, the Medal of Honor, and similar themes. World War II, he said, “was about protecting the planet, including animals,” and for that reason he preferred design GU-06 (although with a different war relic, for better historical accuracy). “Guam is more than World War II.” He also noted that “People like turtles, and the coin will sell well” in its silver bullion form.

CCAC member Mary Lannin (right), with now-retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart, June 2017. Lannin is a noted expert in ancient coinage, a freelance editor for numismatic publications, and a volunteer on the Industry Council for Tangible Assets’ anti-counterfeiting task force. Her childhood love of coin collecting was rekindled when she purchased a Roman denarius once owned by President John Quincy Adams, himself a collector.

Member Mary Lannin said, “I was sold by Donald’s comments,” giving her preference to design GU-06, while also giving a nod to GU-03 for its depiction of quiet vigilance on the battlefield.

On the other hand, member Mike Moran pointed out that so far, none of the America the Beautiful quarters have depicted a modern war. The half dozen or so quarters with military themes honor national parks with battlefields from the 1700s and 1800s.

There was also general agreement that designs GU-09 and 10, showing a double-barreled cannon at Ga’an Point, nicely memorialize a significant military landmark. However, the fact that this is a Japanese armament makes it less appropriate for the coin, since we have other opportunities to focus on American and Allied war efforts.

Member Heidi Wastweet, president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association, observed that the creator of GU-02 was showing both the past and the present (a Marine from World War II, and a Memorial Day observance of today). She recommended some corrections to the Marine’s anatomy if this motif is chosen, but noted that it wasn’t her first choice. “I like this design,” she said, “but it doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor.” As for GU-05 and 06, they have a resonance, Wastweet said, but she found the turtle and fish overpowering, and balancing them with more emphasis on the military relics would require a complete design change. Speaking as an artist, she declared GU-03 to be the strongest of the design portfolio. “Too much detail doesn’t work,” she said, “and this is an example of the solution to that.” She described the design as being pared down to essentials and shapes, allowing the viewer’s mind to fill in the rest.

As examples she mentioned the merger of the water with the background soldier’s legs, and the suggestion of waves at top left, with the central polished fields giving contrast and visibility.

Our Vote for War in the Pacific National Historical Park, and Our Recommendation to the Treasury

Congress established the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee as a public body qualified to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on themes and designs for circulating coins, bullion, and medals. We’re an 11-member committee with each member either specially qualified in a specific field, recommended by a member of Congress, or chosen as a representative of the general public.

Part of our process in coming to a recommendation for any given coin is to take a vote after we discuss and analyze its design proposals. In our voting for the War in the Pacific National Historical Park coin, each design candidate could earn up to 30 points. (10 members were present, and each could assign 1, 2, or 3 points to each design.) This is how our voting went:

  • GU-03 and GU-06 tied for the highest rankings, with 19 points each.
  • GU-02, the National Park Service’s preferred design, earned 13 points.
  • The rest earned 0, 1, or 2 points each.

The CCAC’s recommended design: GU-03

In a second tie-breaking vote with a simple show of hands, GU-03 won our recommendation 7 to 3. This will be the design for War in the Pacific National Historical Park that we formally recommend to the Secretary of the Treasury.

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  1. Jerry Diekmann says

    Thank you, Mr. Tucker, for explaining how the CCAC determines what it believes to be the most artistic interpretation of these events which can then be translated on to a coin. I like the turtle design too but think this isn’t the coin to showcase it – the Cumberland Island, Georgia coin would have been a much better fit. Are there any turtle possibilities remaining in any of the coins through the end of this series in 2021?

  2. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    Another birdless design!

    What were they thinking?

    I’m not a fan of military themes. After watching Ken Burns ‘ recent documentary on the Vietnam War it all seems kinda senseless.

  3. Jerry Diekmann says

    Interesting comment, cagcrisp. But if people are using less cash now, then why does the Mint strike so many millions of nickels, dimes, and quarters, and billions of cents. If you go back to the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when our nation’s population was about half as many as there are now, the number of coins being minted was really quite modest, except for the spike in mintage during WW II. What is happening to all the coins being minted today? I know that the cents are worthless coins and most of them probably have a life of less than one year, but you would think that the nickels, dimes, and quarters would last much longer. Do you or any of the other readers have any idea why we still mint so many coins if less cash is being used now to make purchases?

  4. smalltimecollector says

    Prices and bids on graded Pd would suggest strong interest.
    Will it stand strong, or wane?

  5. Tinto says

    I like GU3 with it being based on historical photographs of WWII as the article states … realistic … love that the rifle barrel extends into the rim …

    GU2 .. I just can’t stand to see a US flag cut off by the rim and plus I’d think the soldier would have his rifle with him …. JMO

  6. ClevelandRocks says

    MCM are scammers. Was going to get a Pd MS70 for $1249. Put in my cart then check out a few hours later and $1499???
    No thanks scammer. Done with MCM.

  7. says

    Jerry, I believe a lot of the production is mandadated by Congress. Additionally, if memory serves correct, there is $3-4 BILLION of Presidential $1 coin stored in the vaults at Richmond Reserve. (2015 data)

    Yet they still keep on cranking them out, so either by mandate, or job protection.

    Per Cag’s comment, investing in FINTECH’s seems the way to go.

  8. Dustyroads says

    cagcrisp, It certainly would be advantages for the banks to cross the line to 100% cashless, but be it ever so that people can find ways to pay lower fees for transactions, and those opportunities will rise. BTC price is evidence of that.

  9. Louis says

    A couple points:
    1.) dollar coins have not been struck for circulation since 2011.
    2.) circulating coins of smaller sizes are generally issued in amounts designed to meet
    anticipated demand. That is why during the Great Recession they cut way back, but as the
    economy recovered (I know not for everyone) they ramped production back up.
    3.) Some countries in Europe may be close to cashless, but we are not. I told my local grocer
    today that I had a couple hundred in rolled quarters I was going to take to the bank and asked
    if he could use them, and he said no problem, so not everyone pays in plastic at least in the USA.

  10. cagcrisp says

    @Jerry Diekmann, “Do you or any of the other readers have any idea why we still mint so many coins if less cash is being used now to make purchases?”

    The Mint learned there lesson in 1964 with the 90% Silver JFK half. The coins were hoarded immediately and Very few were seen in circulation.

    When the Mint quits production of coinage the Mint will give an adjustment period of several years. IF the Mint announced today that they would be fazing out production of coinage immediately, by the end of the week there would be few coins left. My guess is the Mint will some day make the announcement of curtailment of coinage and then faze it out over say a 10 year period. My guess is that the Mint has several years worth of coinage in vaults.

    At least that is the way I would do it. Take as much of the politics as possible out of the decision…

  11. cagcrisp says

    @Dustyroads, There will be a FORTUNE made in the future on BTC, however, It won’t be on the LONG side.

    WAY too soon to Short but that will be the play.

    Sometimes it’s a Lot easier/faster to make money on the downside than the upside…

  12. Jerry Diekmann says

    Thank you, Louis and cagcrisp.. I was looking through my Red Book and for quarters, for example, the first time they hit over 100 million was in 1962 and 1963. The year 1964 is crazy because it include nearly all quarters struck in 1965, and then the 1965 through 1967 clad quarters had very high mintages because people were following Gresham’s law and pulling all the silver coins out of circulation. But since that time quarters have been minted in vast quantities, over a billion each year, and yet the population of the USA was 189 million in 1963 and 323 million in 2016. The %age increase in coins being minted is much greater than the increase in population, which would seem to indicate that people are using coins more now than they did back then. Yet some people are saying we are heading for a cashless society. I am confused – if we were not using coins as much in commerce, you would think the Mint would cut down on making them, like they did in the Great depression and in the years after World War II. Am I missing something?

  13. ClevelandRocks says

    “Dustyroads says
    OCTOBER 2, 2017 AT 10:05 PM

    Cleveland, you know that’s not unusual, they’re all the same.”

    Not true. MCM has changed for the worse. Professional high-tech scammers. Pinehust has the Pd MS70 still for $1249.

  14. HarryB says

    @Jerry D: prior to the mid 60s, halves and some silver $1 circulated widely. Halves do not circulate widely now, but quarters do, the medium of exchange for vending machines. Some vending machines will take current $1 coins, but not halves. Plus 2x the population of the 60s of consumer age. Hence large quarter use.

  15. ClevelandRocks says

    If I put an item in my MCM cart and a few hours later they up the price of an item already in my cart from $1249 to $1499 it’s a high-tech scam and probably illegal. No warning the price in the cart had changed.
    I have proof of this too. Greedy and unethical.

  16. Louis Golino says

    Quarters are still used a lot for vending machines, parking meters, etc. And they cost so little to make, so they generate millions in seigniorage.

  17. V. Kurt Bellman says

    I’ll say this as directly as I can – members who opposed a military motif for this piece in particular are undeserving of any role on this commission. What an embarrassment they are! They need to be removed and replaced.

  18. says


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    Order up to two (2) of the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof Sets on October 5th at 12pm ET. Make sure you select standard shipping ($4.95) at checkout.

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    Sit back, relax, and make $85 for both sets ($37.50 each + $10 to cover the cost of shipping these to our facility)!

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  19. KCSO says

    Heck, I wasn’t even thinking about this one, now with this, I have to wonder if it could be like the 2012. TWT

  20. Mint News Blog says

    @Jerry Diekmann: There are at least a couple more opportunities for a turtle or tortoise to make an appearance before the America the Beautiful program ends in 2021. The National Park of American Samoa and the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve come to mind.

  21. So Krates says

    V. Kurt Bellman says, “Look. At. The. Name. Of. The. Park.”

    Your opinion about others’ opinions is reactionary.

    While not dominant enough for you, each design DOES contain military elements.

    Take a look at the name of the SERIES. It’s named America the Beautiful.

    Where is the beauty in the recommended GU-03?

  22. So Krates says

    “Acting Chair Donald Scarinci gave an impassioned plea, saying that American coinage has “too much war.” “We look like all we do is make war,” he observed, giving examples…”

    Well, if the shoe fits…

  23. cagcrisp says

    @KCSO, Good economic business practice from MCM. THEY have a LOT riding on the LESPS.

    Basically a back door method (more costly) to raise the HHL from 2 to XXX.

    Move the HHL of 2 from weak hands to Stronger Hands that will sell the same 2 coins as graded 70 coins and add a crooked digit in front of the sale price…

  24. Sith says

    So Krates – “Where is the beauty in the recommended GU-03?” That ship sailed years ago, with Saratoga.

  25. So Krates says

    Yes, agree, but it’s still important to point it out to the commission from time to time. It seems Mr. Tucker’s priorities lay elsewhere.

  26. says

    Cag – they just cranked up the flip’n speculation considerable with that email – they send those email requests to EVERYONE.

    I had to revisit the release date, totally forgot.

  27. cagcrisp says

    @ KCSO, Before last weeks sales numbers, there were 44,790 LESPS sold of the 2016. The Vast Majority of those were for collections OR for gifting.

    NOW…There will be Somewhere near a 100% SO on Launch day and the Vast Majority of those will go to Flippers, Dealers or Big Boys.

    The MCM email was widespread and just Guaranteed that the Very Ones that Most on here Despise will be the Very Ones that receive these coins Initially.

    Flippers, Dealers and Big Boys are skilled at getting in/out of the website.

    …So…you better Not be far away from your computer come High Noon…

  28. cagcrisp says

    Bullion Exchange which Dropped their prices last week on the Palladium just Jumped their prices back up today once the hit the 85% of Sold. Went from $1,025.15 to $1,065.68

    Currently tracking palladium prices but at a Much Higher price vs. Spot…

  29. The Real "Cool" Brad says

    I like turtles as much as any zombie face painted boy, but I think GU-03 will make a pretty sweet coin that people might actually notice in their change.

  30. A&L Futures says

    APMEX has also increased the cost of a MS70 Pd. by $150.00 (per coin). They’re now available for $1,323.10 (Check/Wire), or $1,378.23 (CC/PayPal).

  31. Xena says

    Re MCM, I’m not selling my soul for $85. I’ll pass. I’ll be sitting at my desk at high noon Thurs to see if I can snag one for myself.

    V. Kurt Bellman says “Look. At. The. Name. Of. The. Park.”
    I agree – I’m a big fan of nature, but there are other “Beautiful” things as well.

    Louis – I bought some early S-rolls to finish out my collection (since I re-started collecting after the first year or 2). There must be a bit of a market for folks doing the same thing. I get the impression it might take a while though, before someone comes looking.

  32. Ikaika says

    Still pissed at the Congratulations set offer. Big guys got most of the sets. I refuse to overpay for the ASE on the secondary market. Will buy it on Thursday from the mint.

  33. Louis says

    Thanks, Xena. I think it’s hit or miss, and as you note, would take a while to get rid of. The bags seem to do well enough to garner a little profit, but except for a few coins, the rolls end up being about face after expenses, and I could use the cash, so those will probably be converted to paper. I used to be somewhat enthusiastic about the S-coins for the long term, but clad just isn’t worth the trouble except for some native american and presidential dollars.

  34. earthling says

    I was shocked a few weeks ago when I started calculating the Sales numbers on the S – ATB Quarters being sold. I stopped hoarding a few years ago and looks like most everyone else did also. Numbers look to be around maybe 600,000 – 700,000 on most issues. I stopped right around the South Carolina issue because I didn’t care for the odd posing.

    It’s funny but once you break a routine you realize it wasn’t important to you at all. These days I’m more into Food than buying pocket change or PM rounds.

  35. So Krates says


    Suckered in by eBucks and a desire to drain down a PPal balance, I’ve been recently dabbling in eBay coin purchases. Normally, I like to see a coin in hand before paying but figured with all the incentives and protections, why not?

    Out of seven coin purchases I’ve had problems with three (one minor, two major). All three sellers had 100% positive and over 10K in feedback, one well known dealer has over 100K sales.

    Britannia Rules the Waves had oily/condensation issue (would not have picked this coin in person but would have picked a better one or passed) – never mentioned to seller just sold it on down the road as it was.

    Junk silver – lot was missing $.50 face value (would’ve counted in person) – seller made good with paypal adjustment.

    Silver Dollars – Two counterfeit coins in a small lot (would’ve seen these a mile away in person and threw them on a scale to see they were 20 grams each!) – waiting to hear from seller now.

    With a 43% problem rate, buying coins on eBay SUCKS!

  36. ips_stuff says

    @ So Krates
    I have not commented in a while, but your post prompted me.

    With regards to Ebay, let me tell you that selling is no joy either, you try to take pictures and disclose what you can see. The buyer says it has a dust particle when you look at it under 50x magnification. You have others asking you if your coin is perfect, that you are selling at a loss and have included pictures. Hard to tell the person asking the question, perfection is an opinion at best. Been selling on Ebay since 1997 and I would rather sell used computer equipment then coins any day of the week.

    The other comment I have been with holding for some time, is that there are many experts on this blog. Of which we now know that basically any coin purchase is a waste of time and money if you doing so with the hopes of making a profit, forget about it. (again this is just an opinion too). I only have 2 of my 80 congratulations sets left.

  37. cagcrisp says

    @ips_stuff, ” I only have 2 of my 80 congratulations sets left.”

    I think you made a Perfect case for being a Flipper and a Perfect case for Not being an investor/collector.

    You have Flipped 78 out of 80 congratulations sets. Made good Money. Good for you.

    You Obviously don’t think these congratulations sets have Long Term Legs or you wouldn’t have sold 78 out of 80.

    Like Most Modern Mint products, Some are Great for Flippers but are Not for collectors/investors…

  38. Daveinswfl says

    I spent most of the summer buying proof sets near melt – especially ATB quarter sets. You’ve got to be patient and look for “or best offer” BIN sellers. They are out there and sometimes even accept the below melt first offer.
    That said, be careful of shipping charges. Look for free ship and if they have multiple sets, ask for combined shipping for the best deals

  39. Tom P. - MA says

    I have no interest in the LESPS this year (or in past years). Part of that is because it’s overpriced and partly because I was lucky enough to get a Congrats “set”.

    Speaking about the S clad quarter rolls, I’m in the same boat. I haven’t ordered any yet this year but I do plan to after the final release later this year. At a minimum they will always be worth $10. Limited downside.

  40. Erik H says

    Mint News Blog, while I do like turtles I really don’t associate Salt River Bay with sea turtles, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is a turtle nesting beach and would be a little more appropriate (or even Buck Island Reef National Monument for turtles).

    As much as I don’t like people on the ATB coins, I would love to see Columbus’ men getting attacked by the Kalina (Carib) Indians at “Cabo de las Flechas” on the Salt River quaters but that probably won’t happen. Alternatively a dead boat from Hurricane Hugo (1989) or now Hurricane Maria that litter the area would be a cool alternative.

    Probably can’t buy the LESPS set because Internet and power are still down across most the island (post office barely working too).

  41. Sith says

    @So Krates _ I have come to the conclusion that I will only buy graded coins on E-bay. The TPGs have won their point on that issue, that is unless it is a modern coin, with OGP. The last 4 coins I bought on E-bay, were all sent back. In one case I specifically told the vendor I was going to send the coin for authentication, and with what TPG, and that we could back out of the translation now, no harm, no foul. After it did not grade, I was told he already knew that it would not be authenticated. In another occasion they left the Heritage auction and lot number with the coin. Heritage marked the coin as a contemporary forgery, they sold the coin as genuine. The TPG I sent it to agreed with Heritage. Anyway its funny how the story changes after you attempt to grade the coin. In a non coin related issue I had a vendor that did not pack well, and one of the items broke. I wrote to him to complain, and got crickets. After waiting two days, I said if I did not get a response, I would request a full refund, and send all of the items back, he replied within the hour. Now saying al that I have had tons of smooth translations on E-bay, but as far as non-modern coins I will simply pay extra, and by them graded from now on

  42. Sith says

    @So Krates – Oh I forgot just like in your purchases, none of these were fly by night dealers or vendors.

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