Commission of Fine
Arts Chairman Earl A. Powell didn’t like the design for the
reverse of the 2019 Native America dollar coin that had endorsements
from several groups.
The drawing is “very complex,” he cautioned his fellow commissioners
at their June 15 meeting. “A lot of this will get lost,” he said,
holding up another Native American dollar, adding “You can hardly see
what’s on them.”
But after U.S.
Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II suggested several ways to
simplify the design, the commission bowed to the groups’ wishes and
endorsed a design that most had said appeared cluttered.
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That vote seemed to symbolize how far the commission was willing to
go to meet the wishes of groups that had helped the U.S. Mint create
designs for the six new coins reviewed at the CFA’s meeting.
The 2019 Native American dollar will salute contributions Native
Americans have made to the space program.
Key among those contributions is the work of Mary Golda Ross, a
Cherokee who is considered to have been the first female Native
American engineer, according to the Mint. Ross helped develop the
Agena spacecraft for the Gemini and Apollo programs, Mint information said.
The design showed her working on math calculations as an Atlas-Agena
rocket roared into space, with an equation embedded in cloudy exhaust.
In addition, NASA Astronaut John Herrington, another Native American,
was shown in a spacewalk overhead, along with “a smattering of stars,”
according to the Mint.
Too much, agreed Everhart.
He suggested removing some of the stars and changing the rocket’s
size and placement.
Elizabeth K. Meyer, vice chairman of the panel, suggested adding a
phrase about Native Americans in space.
With all those suggested changes, the commission endorsed the
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The endorsed reverse design for the 2020 Native American dollar
also followed the recommendations of Native American groups, and the
commission seemed happy with one of the proposed designs.
The commission endorsed a design honoring an Alaskan woman who led
the fight for one of the country’s first anti-discrimination laws.
Elizabeth Peratrovich, a member of the Tlingit Nation, pressed the
Alaska Territorial government in 1945 to enact the law. The
commission-endorsed design shows both a portrait of her and the symbol
for the Tlingit raven moiety of which she was a member.
Apollo 11 coins
The commission took two steps toward issuing a set of four curved coins in 2019 to mark the 50th
anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.
The set will consist of a gold $5 coin, a silver dollar, a
copper-nickel clad half dollar and a Proof 5-ounce silver dollar, the
first such commemorative coin of that weight.
The law authorizing those coins requires that all four share a
common reverse that is based on a photograph taken of Astronaut Buzz
Aldrin on the moon.
The photo shows a reflection in the mirror visor Aldrin wore. It
shows the lunar lander, an American flag and astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Three sets of drawings were prepared by the Mint showing that scene.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had endorsed the
third set of drawings and, although some members of the commission
expressed concerns that the lander appeared to be distorted, they
backed the NASA-preferred reverse designs.
Commission Secretary Thomas Luebke noted that the staff would prefer
that the values of the coin be spelled out and not be numerals.
The commission also named two of its members, Edward D. Dunson and
Liza Gilbert, and assistant secretary Frederick J. Lindstrom to sit on
a jury that will select the obverse designs for the 2019 Apollo 11
The designs can be seen below in this series of tweets: