While the U.S. Mint had never executed a curved coin before, Deputy
U.S. Mint Director Richard A. Peterson was confident his staff could
meet the challenges and deliver National Baseball Hall of Fame
commemorative coins that would draw the interest of collectors and the public.
Ken Meifert, vice president of sponsorship and development for the
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said the Mint went a step
further when Peterson included the Baseball half dollar in the curved
coin engineering, even though the enabling legislation only required
the silver and gold coins bear the distinctive treatment.
Pinder said the Mint’s treatment was considerably better than what
he originally imagined. He said he had advised Hall of Fame officials
that such a coin proposal “might raise some eyebrows in the process of
passage,” but HOF officials embraced the plan."
“In the end, just as with the reverse, the obverse came out much
different from what I had imagined, but much better, and the design
process got a lot of people involved,” said Joe Pinder, senior staffer
for the House Financial Services Committee who drafted the appropriate
language for the Baseball coin legislation. “I hope that’s a model for
the future of coin design, and that’s not to take anything away from
the in-house people at the Mint, who are terrific.”
Pinder had wondered whether the technical challenges to produce a
dome coin might be insurmountable.
“Dick Peterson put a lot of effort into making this a real showpiece
for the Mint, and he and his team deserve all the credit in the
world,” Pinder said. “Importantly, and very easy to overlook, the fact
they are making the clad coins domed is perhaps the biggest technical
achievement of all. Gold is pretty ductile and so is silver, but the
planchets are monolithic and after the technical issues are worked
out, fairly predictable. The ‘sandwich’ of cupro-nickel and copper
from which clad coins are struck, on the other hand, has every reason
in the world to de-laminate if you push the middle of a round out.
“The fact that Dick Peterson took that part of this process on
voluntarily and that his staff were able to pull that off, I’m sure
will impress people at other Mints,” Pinder said.