The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee rejected designs for two of five 2017 quarter dollars proposed for the America the Beautiful series.
But the panel also lavished praise on one of the three quarter dollar designs they do recommend, saying it is so gorgeous it could become the most beautiful coin of the 56 quarters in the series.
The design that won the CCAC’s plaudits at its Oct. 8 meeting, the second day of a two-day session in Washington, D.C., depicts a spiny softshell turtle bobbing its head toward an approaching kayaker on Missouri’s Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
That isn’t the design that park officials had endorsed, and Dena Matteson, the park’s acting chief interpreter, needed to be convinced that the park’s iconic Alley Mill was a nonstarter as a coin.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to make them unhappy,” said attorney Donald Scarinci, predicting a lopsided vote in favor of the turtle design.
But he added that the chosen design will produce “a really special coin. It’s going to be the coin of the set,” he said.
“This is a spectacular coin. This will be the standout,” agreed former CCAC chair Gary Marks. “You have a home run here.”
“Other national parks will be jealous,” said Mary Lannin, the current CCAC chair.
Sculptor Heidi Wastweet of Seattle said the turtle design is so powerful “it makes me want to go see that park.”
“The turtle rules,” announced Lannin.