Although U.S. Mint officials expected to receive as many as 10,000 proposed designs for the common obverse for the three 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins, the competition fell far short in numbers with 178 designs submitted.
The Baseball Coin Design Competition, authorized under provisions of Public Law 112-152, was conducted by the U.S. Mint from noon EDT April 11 through 5 p.m. May 11.
“The 10,000 number was never how many submissions we anticipated,” Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Affairs, said May 15. “It was simply the upper most limit of what the system could feasibly support — for example, resource considerations, our anticipated timeline and so forth.”
U.S. Mint officials announced before the start of the competition that if more than 10,000 designs were received, the competition would be suspended early, but not before noon EDT April 26.
What the competition lacked in quantity of submissions is more than made up for with the quality, Jurkowsky said.
“The Mint is absolutely delighted with the submissions it has received for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Coins,” Jurkowsky said. “I’ve seen many of them, and I can say unequivocally that the judges are going to have a very difficult time choosing the winner.”
Jurkowsky added, “We have the fullest confidence that the winning design will proudly capture the game of baseball. One of things that the Mint prides itself on is that its products capture the history, traditions and culture of our nation. And baseball represents all three elements.”
U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said May 14 that the 178 designs submitted for the common commemorative coin obverse are currently being reviewed by a United States Mint cross-functional team.
“Next week, three United States Engravers and one Bureau of Engraving and Printing bank note designer will complete an artistic review,” White said.
“At the end of next week, the designs will be reviewed for appropriateness of the subject matter and coinability by both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and by several members of our manufacturing and engraving staff,” White said.
Between June 5 and 10, five members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame will review the semifinalist designs, according to White. The five judges are Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Joe Morgan, Don Sutton and Dave Winfield.
The semifinalist designs will also be available for public viewing on batterup.challenge.gov, White said.
The CCAC and CFA will review the finalist designs in July, White said.
“At this time, we do not have a final number for semifinalists or finalists,” White said.
Mint officials expect a final design to be selected by the secretary of the Treasury in early September, according to White.
The full selection process can be viewed at http://www.usmint.gov/batterup/?action=selection.
Those who submitted designs for the Baseball Coin Design Competition had to be 14 years of age or older to participate. The designer of the winning design will be compensated no less than $5,000, according to the enabling legislation.
Treasury Department employees and their families, including the Mint’s engraving staff, were excluded from participation.
The initials of the winning designer as well as that of the member of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff assigned to sculpture the design will appear on the coin.
The final design to be selected by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is to be “emblematic of the game of baseball.”
The design will appear on the obverse of the gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar.
The common reverse, according to Public Law 112-152, “shall depict a baseball similar to those used by Major League Baseball.”
The obverse design will be struck concave and the reverse convex, a first for a U.S. coin.
The Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee have already reviewed proposed reverse designs created by members of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program. Both panels have made a recommendation for the design.
The U.S. Mint is conducting a parallel design competition — Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge — for those ages 13 and under. The Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge closes June 28. Details of the kids contest can be found online at www.usmint.gov/kids/kidsbatterup/. ■