Several superintendents of the national parks and historic sites to
be honored with America the Beautiful quarter dollars in 2014 had a
common request after being shown designs under consideration with the
U.S. Mint for the coins.
“Why not add a day hiker?” they suggested.
The U.S. Mint complied.
Earl A. Powell III, chairman of the Commission
of Fine Arts, was not amused.
“I really find it trite,” he declared Nov. 15
as the commission discovered hikers on the proposed coins for three of
the five national parks — Shenandoah National Park (Virginia), Arches
National Park (Utah) and Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado).
The CFA recommended only one hiker design, for
the Shenandoah reverse.
The hikers got the boot in the CFA’s other
recommendations to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who must
render final approval. Geithner, or his designate, will have the final
say on what designs will go on the coins.
Here’s what the CFA, in discussions largely
led by commission member Edwin Schlossberg of New York, recommended
for the five quarter dollar reverses:
➤ Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The
recommended design shows a log cabin set against a mountain in eastern
Tennessee. A hawk circles overhead in the recommended design that
Schlossberg called “the most attractive.” None of four proposed
designs had hikers.
➤ Shenandoah National Park: A hiker is looking
into a wide Virginia valley from a rocky crag on Little Stony Man
Mountain on the recommended design. Four other designs showing the
same mountain, including three with hikers and one with a bear, were
➤ Arches National Park: The commission
recommended Double Arch from the Utah park for the coin from seven
designs showing various limestone arches. Only one of the two arches
at Double Arch is clearly visible in the selected design. Schlossberg
said he liked the recommended design because of the way the arch was
placed on the coin.
➤ Great Sand Dunes National Park: Schlossberg
was influential in this selection, too. The design he endorsed seeks
to portray the various geographic zones — grasslands, sand dunes and
mountains — found in this Colorado park. Donald Everhart II, the
Mint’s lead sculptor-engraver, assured the commission that the
different zones could be clearly shown on the endorsed design. The
design could use frosting to portray a river, the dune and forested
mountains. Seven designs, some with hikers, were offered by the Mint.
➤ Everglades National Park: The commission
endorsed a design showing two waterbirds in the Florida park, but
recommended a cloud be removed from the design as unnecessary. For
this reverse, the Mint presented nine designs, ranging from an image
of a Native American in a dugout canoe to a design showing both a
crocodile and an alligator.
The same designs were scheduled to be
presented Nov. 27 to members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory
Committee. That panel also will make recommendations to Geithner.
The CFA also reviewed designs for two other
Proof platinum American Eagle
For the reverse of the 2013 Proof American
Eagle 1-ounce platinum coin, CFA members recommended an allegorical
image of a young woman looking to her left to portray the Preamble to
the Constitution’s message of “Promoting the General Welfare.”
The commission, at Schlossberg’s urging,
agreed to recommend that a circle of 13 stars and a horizon line be
eliminated from the design.
Eight images were presented for the reverse,
several using allegorical figures. One rejected design showed two
eagles building a nest and another showed two hands holding a basket
of fruits and vegetables.
The 2013 release is the fifth in a six-coin
series of commemorative reverses bearing designs reflecting the ideals
embraced in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
The narratives for the six proposed reverse
themes from which designs were executed were rendered by John Roberts,
chief justice of the United States.
Code Talkers medal
For the obverse of a congressional gold medal
to be presented to the Lakota code talkers of North and South Dakota’s
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the panel recommended a design showing two
kneeling Army infantrymen sending a message over a radiotelephone.
Schlossberg urged that the design be revised
to remove one of the soldiers’ feet from interrupting the wording on
the lower rim of the coin.
For the reverse of the medal, they recommended
a design showing the tribe’s seal, rejecting another design that had
added a schematic design of a bison hunt to the tribe’s seal.
The U.S. Mint is preparing medals to honor the
25 Native American tribes that offered their members to serve as Code
Talkers for U.S. forces during World Wars I and II.
The Code Talkers relayed critical military
intelligence in their native languages that enemy forces could not decipher.
The medals are authorized under the Code
Talkers Recognition Act of 2008, Public Law 110-420.