'Older, haggard' image of Ronald Reagan chosen by CCAC
- Published: Mar 12, 2015, 8 AM
It wasn’t quite as decisive as President Reagan’s 1984 re-election, but the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee’s vote to select the design for the 2016 Reagan dollar was swift and the winner was nearly as dominant.
The committee met for design review March 5 at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Portland, Ore.
The first commission member to weigh in on the designs, Thomas Uram, quickly made a motion to adopt the first image presented from eight options. That image shows a smiling, head-on image of Reagan, and was favored by the 10-member panel by a 7 to 2 vote (with Heidi Wastweet abstaining) after nominal discussion.
“As the youngest delegate to the 1980 convention, it is my honor to nominate this design,” Uram said.
Committee members briefly weighed the two favored designs, questioning whether the other well-received design (the third among eight presented), with a closer view of America’s 40th president, was suitably lifelike.
The chosen image, commission member Mary Lannin said, is “100 percent Ronald Reagan. [The other one] is 90 percent Ronald Reagan and 10 percent imagination.”
The third image, said CCAC chairman Gary Marks, was a fuller image, larger on the palette with a little more presence.
“It looks airbrushed,” Lannin offered.
While U.S. Mint senior legal counsel Greg Weinman said that the chosen image of Reagan made him “look older and a little more haggard,” Lannin said, “When somebody says ‘Ronald Reagan,’ that’s the image that comes to mind.”
The third image was “the most handsome of them,” said Robert Hoge, of the American Numismatic Society, making it appear the most like a campaign button.
Nancy Reagan First Spouse designs
More questions were raised when the panel considered possible themes for the Nancy Reagan First Spouse gold coin and concurrent bronze medal.
April Stafford, of the U.S. Mint’s design management, suggested four possible design themes, including Reagan’s famous “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign and support for foster grandparents based on an initiative from her tenure.
Her service to Vietnam veterans and prisoners of war while first lady of California, and her role of protector of her husband, especially after an unsuccessful assassination attempt, were also proffered.
Donald Scarinci, a Democrat from New Jersey, said that Nancy Reagan “did enough as [America’s] First Lady. California is not relevant. ... the focus should not be on her as she relates to the president.”
Her position as a living person to appear on a coin — and the silence from the Reagan Library, Reagan Foundation and others invited to share thoughts with the U.S. Mint — was a major point of concern.
Scarinci said: “In light of that, Mint staff should make every conceivable effort to get her input. This is the only opportunity in this entire series to speak to a living spouse and ask, ‘what would you like to be remembered for?’?”
Michael Moran said that the U.S. Mint had to seek input because, he noted, “Coins do have the half-life of uranium.”
Though Wastweet found the subject of Nancy Reagan’s role as protector the least favorable theme, Marks reminded panel members, “We’re not doing anything we haven’t done already.”
Marks pointed to the reverse of the 2013 Edith Wilson coin and medal, which show her supporting Woodrow Wilson after he experienced a stroke.
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