Since Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle has been on the silver coin for 28 years, the Treasury Department can, on its own initiative, and with the approval of the Treasury secretary, change the design without needing congressional approval under the Coinage Act of Sept. 26, 1890, codified in Title 31 of the U.S. Code § 5112 (d)(2).
Previous designs reviewed
Marks had asked U.S. Mint officials, well before the April 8 meeting, to collate a number of designs featuring eagles that were submitted for consideration for previous U.S. coins or medals but were never approved for use.
In response, the Mint provided each CCAC member with 43 eagle designs, before the April 8 meeting. Marks asked each member to provide him with their top five selections from those designs, from which he would generate a shortened list for discussion and recommendation. A 44th design was added later for consideration.
During the CCAC’s April 8 meeting, members considered 16 designs, which included the 44th design.
From the individual opening remarks of most of the 10 CCAC members participating, it was clear that the design the entire panel ultimately recommended was a clear frontrunner. Of the 10 CCAC members participating, most had selected the eventual recommended design as their preferred choice.
Before asking each member to contribute individual remarks, Marks clarified a misconception that a proposed design change was intended only for the bullion version. Marks stated the recommendation is to replace Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle reverse design with a new design to appear on all versions of the silver coins.
In separate emails April 4 to Coin World, Marks said a design change would fuel additional interest in the series.
“My proposal is for a singular change to the reverse design for the $1 American Eagle bullion coin inclusive of bullion and proof varieties,” Marks said in the first email. “Do I think collectors as a whole will rebel if the reverse of the $1 American Eagle is changed? No.
“In fact, if the new design is beautiful and inspirational I believe that, as a whole, it will increase interest and infuse new excitement among collectors for the coin.”
Design sketch courtesy of U.S. Mint.