US Coins

Commission of Fine Arts gives nod to basketball commem designs

At its July 18 meeting, the Commission of Fine Arts recommended the same common obverse as the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee chose for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame three-coin commemorative coin program, but selected a different reverse design submission.

The recommended obverse is also the favored design of the Hall of Fame. It captures three players going for a basketball, with one of them in a wheelchair, to capture the inclusivity of the sport.

The 20 proposed obverse designs were rendered by artists who participated in a public competition conducted by the U.S. Mint.

The CFA’s recommended reverse design depicts a basketball as it begins its descent through the hoop. The design captures the pebbling on the surface that players depend on to maintain their grip.

CFA Assistant Secretary Frederick Lindstrom said the panel suggested that, whatever font is used for the lettering, it should be uniform on both obverse and reverse.

“As for the modifications, on the obverse, they requested that the elongated arms of the three people reaching for the basketball be further refined and that the ball should be placed so that it is equally out of the reach of all three figures to convey that each one has the opportunity to touch the ball,” according to Lindstrom.

The common obverse and reverse designs will be used for the gold $5 coin, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar.

The CFA considered 23 proposed designs rendered by the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and Artistic Infusion Program.

Whatever obverse and reverse designs are given final approval by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or his designee will be sculpted for the die production process by members of the Mint’s engraving staff.

The approved designs are scheduled to be unveiled Sept. 6 at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the annual enshrinement ceremony. 

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