U.S. Mint officials expect to receive more than 10,000 design submissions from which a single design will be selected for the common obverse for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame coin program.
Designs for the three-coin program will be accepted during a 30-day design competition period beginning April 11.
The public design competition is the first the United States Mint has held since the 1992 Olympic coin program.
Mint officials announced competition details March 28. Submissions will be accepted from those age 14 and above. A separate contest will be held for those age 13 and younger, though their designs will be ineligible for use on the coins.
The winning design will be used as the common obverse for the copper-nickel clad half dollar, silver dollar and gold $5 half eagle.
Should the U.S. Mint receive more than 10,000 designs before noon Eastern Daylight Time May 11, 48 hours notice will be given that the design competition will be suspended early. An early suspension will not occur before noon EDT April 26, according to Mint officials.
Treasury Department employees, outside contractors and their immediate families will be ineligible to submit designs for the common obverse for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins. The exclusions are being made to remove any perceptions of favoritism, U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said.
The winning designer will receive a cash prize of no less than $5,000 and have his or her initials appear in the design along with those of the member of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff designated to sculpture the winning design.
A separate Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge will be conducted for those ages 13 and under, from which 15 winners will be selected. The 15 winners will each receive a 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame silver dollar.
As of April 4, Mint officials had not decided whether the prize coins would be Proof or Uncirculated silver dollars.
For both the design competition and the kids’ challenge, the U.S. Mint will be working with the U.S. Government website, Challenge.gov.
Design competition rules
Each design submitted for the Baseball Coin Design Competition will be screened by an internal Mint review team to ensure the designs meet minimum requirements, such as inclusion of the mandated inscriptions.
Regarding potential copyright violations, to U.S. Mint officials say: “The participants in the competition warrant that the designs that they submit are entirely their own original work. The rules state that the United States Mint has the right, but not the obligation, to request that entrants provide true and accurate copies of all of their references, sources and other supporting matter at any time and from time to time in form and content satisfactory to the United States Mint.”
Appropriateness of each eligible design for a coin format will be determined by a panel of Mint officials proficient in coin development and manufacturing. Based on scoring criteria, a field of approximately 200 designs will be selected by the Mint contest administrator, Leslie Schwager.
The artistic merit of the roughly 200 designs will be determined by a panel or members of the Mint’s engraving staff. The proposed designs will be pared down to a field of approximately 100 submissions, which will be further examined by a panel of Mint officials composed of technical experts in manufacturing to evaluate coinability.
Officials from the National Baseball Hall of Fame will make recommendations regarding the designs’ technical accuracy and appropriateness in their depiction of the sport of baseball.
“Based on these coinability determinations and individual recommendations, the Mint contest administrator will determine a competitive range of approximately 50 designs to become semi-finalists,” according to the design competition rules.
This field of roughly 50 proposed designs will be reviewed individually by members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to determine the degree to which they are emblematic of the game of baseball.
The semi-finalist designs will also be available for public view at www.usmint.gov.
Following the Hall of Fame’s review of the semi-finalist designs, the field will be reduced to 15 finalist designs. The Mint will submit the 15 finalist designs to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for review and comment.
The Mint may ask submitting designers or its own sculptor-engravers to make modifications to finalist designs based on the feedback of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the CFA and the CCAC.
Acting U.S. Mint Director Richard A. Peterson will make a final recommendation to the Treasury secretary who will make the final design selection.
The winning children’s designs will also be showcased on the Department of the Treasury, U.S. Mint and National Baseball Hall of Fame websites.
The two competitions are completely different in structure, judging and timelines, according to U.S. Mint officials. The winners of the Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge will be determined based on public voting, according to Mint officials.
The U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and Artistic Infusion Program artists — both groups that are prohibited from the obverse design competition — submitted designs for the common reverse for the three commemorative coins.
Those designs have already been reviewed by the CFA and CCAC. The CCAC rejected all of the proposed designs for the common reverse, and instead recommended an alternate design, sketched by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II during the CCAC’s March 11 meeting at the advisory panel’s request.
The CFA recommended one of the Mint’s originally submitted designs during its March meeting.
The reverse design is to resemble the kind of baseball used by Major League Baseball, sans advertising.
One of the production requirements for the silver dollar and the gold half eagle is that the obverse design be concave and the reverse be convex.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 112-152, calls for the production of up to 50,000 gold half eagles, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars combined in Proof and Uncirculated versions.
The purchase price of each coin carries a surcharge — $35 for each half eagle, $10 for each silver dollar and $5 for each half dollar.
Net surcharges, after the U.S. Mint recovers all production costs associated with the program, are to be paid to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The design contests will not consume any of the surcharge proceeds, according to White.
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 112-152) requires that the sale price of each commemorative coin be the sum of (1) the face value of the coin, (2) the surcharge for the coin, and (3) the United States Mint’s costs to design and issue the coins,” according to a statement released April 4 by White. “The costs associated with the Baseball Coin Design Competition, as well as any other National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program costs, are included in the third category; they will have no effect on the surcharge proceeds.
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program will not bear the costs of the Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge. The United States Mint will pay for the costs associated with the Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge from general numismatic program revenues.” ■