Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee have excitedly
recommended designs for a Girl Scout commemorative silver dollar,
saying the reverse could signal “a new American style” for the
Meeting in Washington April 26, the panel recommended a design
showing three Girl Scouts for the obverse of the 2013 dollar that will
mark the organization’s centennial.
But it was the recommended reverse’s layered design of a Girl
Scout service mark that wowed the committee and caused the panel to
believe they had pushed the U.S. Mint’s artists into a more modern era
of design that could become competitive with foreign coinage.
“Reverse No. 6 is exactly what we should be doing,” said Donald
Scarinci, a New Jersey lawyer and medals specialist who has been
highly critical of Mint designs in the past.
“This is a winner,” he declared. “It’ll be a tragedy if we don’t
go with this.”
He need not have worried. The 10 committee members voted
overwhelmingly to recommend the reverse to Treasury Secretary Timothy
Geithner. He will have the final say on what designs are selected for
Under a voting scheme that allows each committee
member to assign up to three points to a design, the panel gave 28
points to the reverse. Only two of the other nine reverse designs
received any points.
What excited the committee was what one
described as the likely “3-D effect” that Proof versions of the
reverse would have.
The combination of planned polished, raised and recessed surfaces
will be “absolutely stunning,” predicted Michael Bugeja, an Iowa State
University journalism professor and numismatic writer.
Others compared the design to the 9-11 congressional medal and the
recently issued Star Spangled Banner commemorative coins. This shows
that the Mint is moving rapidly to use new coin production steps to
create more modernist designs, said several members.
“I’m really excited about Design No. 6,” said sculptor Heidi
Wastweet of Seattle, who said it would signal the start of a new
“Number 6 will make a statement going forward for the United
States,” agreed Jeanne Stevens-Sollman of State College, Pa., a
medallic sculptor who has judged international coin design contests.
“It’s a beautiful design,” said Stevens-Sollman, who was attending
her first meeting as a committee member.
“This coining represents a very important step,” said CCAC member
Gary Marks, an Idaho coin collector who has pressed the Mint for more
The recommended obverse design drew 22 points, outpolling two
designs that each drew 15 points. One showed two Scouts, one in an
early Girl Scout uniform and the other in a contemporary design with a
100th anniversary trefoil between them. The other design show a Senior
Scout exchanging the Scout salute with a younger Scout she was directing.
Marks told the committee he had two goals when selecting art for
commemorative coins. First “we pick beautiful art” for these coins, he
said, and if the panel does that, the sponsoring organization will
benefit more because the coins will sell better.
The Girls Scouts could gain almost $3.5 million from $10-a-coin
surcharges, if all 350,000 coins in the program are sold by the Mint.
The committee suggested some changes to the placement of devices
and inscriptions on the coin. It voted to remove the wording 100 YEARS
from the reverse and substitute, for the current trefoil that is on
the obverse, a centennial version bearing 100. The required E PLURIBUS
UNUM wording would then be repositioned on the reverse, to where the
100 YEARS is currently located. The words “Girl Scouts” would then be
placed at the rim where E PLURIBUS UNUM is in the current design.
Code talkers medals
The committee devoted most of its afternoon discussion to
reviewing designs for four proposed congressional gold medals for four
Native American tribes whose members served as code talkers for the
military during World War I and World War II.
At a previous meeting, the committee had rejected the Mint’s
initial plans for a common side for the 22 tribes that will be honored
in the program. Instead, the CCAC said each tribe deserved a unique
medal to honor its accomplishments, such as Congress had ordered for
the Navajo Nation’s code talkers in 2001.
Marks and the
committee praised the Mint for coming up with new designs and, with
one exception, quickly endorsed the designs recommended by the four
tribes for their medals.
The Comanche Nation would get an obverse design showing a design
based on the Comanche Code and Spirit Talker monument in Lawton, Okla.
It would show the “spirit talker” behind a radio talking soldier and
be encircled by the words NUMUNU (People) and COMANCHE CODE TALKERS.
The reverse would carry inscriptions in the native language along with
the military patches of the Army units in which the Code Talkers
served, having the Comanche tribal logo of a horse and rider.
The Kiowa Tribe medal would show a kneeling World War II soldier
talking on a radio transmitter on the obverse. The reverse of their
medal would show a warrior on horseback, taken from the tribal seal,
and show a buffalo head and a circle of feathers.
The obverse of the Santee Dakota Sioux Tribe medal would show an
infantryman with barbed wire in the background as he looks skyward.
The recommended reverse of this medal was not one supported by the
tribe, but the committee voted for a more stylish eagle designed by
Mint artists. It did urge the Mint to consult with the specialists
about the smoking pipe shown in the design.
The committee urged the Tlingit Tribe Code Talkers be given a
medal showing a solider kneeling with a radio in hand. The reverse
would show one of the tribe’s “Killer Whale” ceremonial hats with the
wording KILLER WHALE CLAN. Semi-circles on the obverse and reverse of
this medal would symbolize the coded messages being transmitted by the
tribal members during World War II.
All the code talker designs will be shown to the Commission of
Fine Arts at its May 17 meeting when the commission will also review
the Girl Scout coin designs.
2013 First Spouse coins
The CCAC returned to what has been a concern at earlier meetings,
the background papers given Mint artist to help them prepare designs
for the gold $10 coins in the First Spouse coin series.
Historian Michael A. Ross, an associate professor of history at
the University of Maryland, has been highly critical of those papers,
charging that they fail to paint a full portrait of the roles that
many spouses have played.
That controversy resumed at the April 26 meeting as Ross and
others critiqued the Mint’s latest paper.
Ross charged that the
paper continues to portray the first ladies as “hostess or hobbyist,”
offering only “very constricted, narrow view” of the spouses influence.
Michael Moran, a numismatic writer, echoed the same arguments,
saying that the latest paper incorrectly says that Edith Roosevelt
worked on “what is now known as the West Wing” of the White House and
failed to mention her promotion of the arts at first lady.
Both Ross and Moran submitted papers backing their positions and
Mint officials promised to forward them to the artists as they begin
work on the coins to be issued in 2013.
Some members ridiculed the papers for noting that Ellen Axson
Wilson, Woodrow Wilson’s first wife, had “insisted on the installation
of women’s restrooms at public buildings and offices.” How could that
be illustrated on a coin? Ross asked.
Ross also said the public was ready for a more critical discussion
of the role of Edith Bolling Wilson, the president’s second wife. She
guarded him after he suffered a stroke as president, playing a
stronger hand in the White House than many of the sources the Mint
typically uses would like to admit, Ross said. ■