Members of the Commission of Fine Arts quickly agreed with the choice
of a smiling Ronald Reagan for the 2016 dollar honoring the 40th
president, but the seven-member panel dissented from other coin and
medal designs endorsed by the government’s other coin review panel.
Meeting in Washington March 19, the CFA agreed with the selection of
the same design recommended by the Citizens Coinage Advisory
Committee. However, the CFA agreed with only some of the
recommendations for the two commemorative coins that will honor Mark
Twain in 2016.
It endorsed the same obverse design for the gold $5 coin as the CCAC
had selected at a March 6 meeting in Portland, Ore., but selected a
different boat design for the reverse than that the departing paddle
wheeler that the CCAC backed.
Read about the CCAC recommendations:
The CFA supported an oncoming view of a twin-stacked Mississippi
riverboat in part because it appeared more dramatic to the panel members.
The commission’s support for the gold obverse almost floundered
after Thomas Luebke, the CFA secretary, questioned whether the absence
of Twain’s name ruled that design out.
Don Everhart, a Mint sculptor-engraver, quickly suggested that
Twain’s signature could be added to the obverse.
With that CFA Chairman Earl A. Powell III declared the problem was solved.
For the Twain silver dollar the CFA agreed with the CCAC’s choice of
a pipe smoking Twain with a silhouette of Huck Finn and Jim on a raft
in the background.
For the reverse, the CFA also followed the CCAC’s selection of
another obverse design.
This showed characters from Twain’s book, a knight and horse from A
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a frog from “The Celebrated
Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and Jim and Huck from Adventures of
“With images this ridiculous it would be great to have them on a
coin,” exclaimed Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, CFA vice chairman.
“Go back to the animals,” said Powell in agreement.
The recommendations of both the CFA and CCAC will be forwarded to
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. He has the final say on what designs
will appear on the nation’s coins and medals.
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