When the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee debated March 15 what images should go on three commemorative coins to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boys Town, it rejected one design after one member strongly urged them to avoid a scene that could be misinterpreted.
The CCAC member feared the design would be ridiculed by social media as an inappropriate image in an era of scandals about priests and child abuse.
That design features the Nebraska organization’s iconic pylon and also a priest’s hand on a boy’s shoulder.
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When the Commission of Fine Arts considered the same images, it quickly endorsed the design rejected by the CCAC. With virtually no debate, the CFA on March 17 backed a design for the gold $5 coin in the 2017 set that carries the Boys Town pylon and the scene of a priest with a child on the reverse.
Then, moments after architect Alex Krieger questioned “how many towers do we need,” the panel agreed to approve a second design featuring the pylon for appearance on the obverse of the copper-nickel clad half dollar.
The five commission members who considered the U.S. Mint’s paired images for the Boys Town set selected for the half dollar a pair of designs from those proposed for the silver dollar in the set.
The obverse features two youths looking at the Boys Town pylon with the years 1917–2017, and the wording “Help a Child Today.”
The paired reverse features the images of four youngsters in graduation gowns above a view of the residential homes in which the children at Boys Town live today, with the inscription “Write the History of Tomorrow.”
The recommendations from the CFA and CCAC will go to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who will find that the only unity between the two reviewing coin panels was their agreement on what should be on the silver dollar in the set.