After reviewing 13 designs for the 2012 Native American $1 Coin
Program and wrangling over them for about an hour, the Citizens
Coinage Advisory Committee chose the same design recently selected by
the Commission of Fine Arts.
The CCAC selected design 8 at its public meeting June 27 in
Colorado Springs, Colo., during the American Numismatic Association
Summer Seminar. Five committee members attended the meeting and three
participated via a speakerphone. More than two dozen seminar
Ron Harrigal, acting chief engraver and division chief for new
products and development at the Mint, said the designs already had
been put before the Congressional Native American Caucus, the Senate
Committee on Indian Affairs and the National Congress of the American Indian.
In presenting the designs to the CCAC, Harrigal categorized them
into two groups. The first were categorized as “natural” art pieces
and included designs 1 to 5, 7 and 8. Designs 6 and 9 to 13 fell into
what was called “Ledger Art.” This latter group is representative of
drawings done on ledger paper by Plains Indians from 1860 to 1900 when
the bison herds were decimated and Native Americans were forced onto
Jim Adams, who was attending the meeting from the National Museum
of the American Indian, said the Ledger Art is “uniquely Indian. It is
an authentic expression of the American Indian.”
Many of the CCAC members appeared to lean toward the Ledger Art
designs, with attending committee member Michael Olson offering a
motion to approve design 11, which received the second most points
(17) from the committee members. Design 8 received 18 points.
Olson’s motion failed on a 4-2 vote, with phone-in member Doreen
Bolger providing the other yes vote. CCAC member Donald Scarinci, who
also was listening on the phone, abstained from all voting on designs.
During an earlier discussion of coin designs, Bolger said she
wanted the committee to choose a Ledger Art piece, adding she “liked”
design 11 the most.
Olson, who described himself as a “collector since I was a kid,”
began his comments by saying he was “initially pleased with the body
[of designs] as a whole,” and found design 8 the “finest” among the
natural art renderings.
“I find the Ledger Art very interesting,” Olson said before
listing his points for the designs. “It is an authentic expression of
the American Indian.” However, he found design 9 “distracting” and
noted that although design 13 was his “favorite” of the Ledger Art
pieces its design was better suited for a silver dollar-size coin.
Committee member Mike Ross, who was listening in on the meeting by
phone, said he thought the coin was to be based on a theme of the
horse and American Indian and added that not all of the Ledger Art
designs met that criteria.
Attending CCAC member Eric Jansen said during his review of the
natural artwork that designs 1 to 3 were a “disservice,” design 4
didn’t look authentic and design 5 reminded him of a Lafayette
commemorative dollar. Additionally, he said design 7 “has energy” but
questioned the perspective. He picked design 8 as his favorite of the
naturals, noting he saw the “partnership” between the horse and the
Indian in the design.
Among the Ledger Art selections, Jansen “dismissed” design 6,
doubted whether design 13 would work on such a small coin and could
not pick a favorite from designs 9 to 11.
Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart, who was in attendance, said
the composition of design 13 “could work.”
In making her comments about the 13 designs presented to the
committee, artist and CCAC member Heidi Wastweet said she was leaning
for Ledger Art designs 9 to 12, noting artwork in design 12 was “the
most simplistic and most clear.”
Of the natural designs, she found design 8 a “gorgeous drawing,”
adding “it would match up well with Sacagawea on the other side.” She
said the horse in design 1 “looks more Arabian” than horses used by
Wastweet declared design 4 “wonderful, wonderful” but added, “It’s
a lot to put on a coin.” She said design 5 had “too much debris in the
background,” questioned the authenticity of design 6, and found design
7 to be “beautiful” but thought it was a hunting scene.
CCAC Chairman Gary Marks said he too was “intrigued” with the
Ledger Art design and then went through each piece of artwork.
Marks said he wanted to “see more horse” in designs 1 and 6;
thought the anatomies of the horses in designs 2 and 3 don’t “sync”;
didn’t like design 4; found “too much detail” in design 5; wanted to
“see more horse” in design 6; liked the perspective in design 7;
thought the two horses in design 9 were “too much.”
He also; said design 10 was very Native American, clear and would
make a “very striking coin”; said the horses in the background in
design 11 would fade and “become clutter”; said design 12 had a
three-dimensional aspect when it shouldn’t; and thought that design 13
was a “little circle of clutter” and a “failure on a coin.”
As for design 8, Marks said it was reminiscent of Bela Lyon
Pratt’s Indian Head half eagle, adding that it was “well rendered” and
“conveys a relationship between the horse and the Native Americans.”
“It would be a very attractive coin,” he said.
Before tallying the points, committee members commented on the
horses galloping across the background in design 8, saying they should
be left as is or eliminated. The CFA also suggested deleting the
background animals, according to Harrigal.
Olson said the CCAC is to recommend designs, including any
changes, to the Treasury secretary. “That’s what our job is,” he said.
However, Wastweet cautioned the committee not to “change the
artists intentions.” Marks noted that such change suggestions often
are ignored. In the end, the CCAC members decided to leave the
recommended design alone.
With three points being the most each committee member could
attach to a design and 18 points the most a single design could
receive, the committee voted as follows: no points for designs 1 to 3;
two for design 6; three for designs 4, 5 and 7; four for designs 12
and 13; eight for design 9; 11 for design 10; 16 for design 11; and 17
for design 8. ■