CCAC approves Bob Dole gold medal designs with little discussion

Mint artist warns against suggested changes to the font used in inscriptions
By , Coin World
Published : 10/27/17
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With little discussion, the Citizens Coinage Advisory committee, meeting Oct. 25 via teleconference, approved proposed designs for a congressional gold medal authorized to recognize former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.

The single obverse and single reverse designs considered were Dole’s preferred choices, according to the former senator’s special assistant, Petrina Pyle.

The only question brought up during the short discussion came from CCAC member Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, who inquired about the use of the font for the lettering on the obverse and reverse inscriptions.

Sollman-Stevens is an artist from Pennsylvania.

Astute collectors find that buying a ‘problem coin’ can be a bit of a balancing act, but the rewards can be great. Also in our Nov. 6 issue, Michael Fahey offers some tips on grading Mint State Barber half dollars.

U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph F. Menna, addressing CCAC members by speakerphone from the Philadelphia Mint, said use of a font other than the one selected would affect the kerning or spacing between letters and the spacing of words and size of the lettering on both sides of the medal, and not work well.

Dole’s medal is authorized by Public Law 115-60 to recognize Dole “for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator, and statesman.”

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Dole was seriously wounded from German machine-gun fire in April 1945 during combat in Italy as an officer with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Dole was left with limited mobility in his right arm. Dole was decorated three times, receiving two Purple Hearts for his injuries, and awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor for his attempt to assist a downed radioman.

Dole represented Kansas in Congress from 1961 to 1996 and served as the Republican leader of the United States Senate from 1985 until 1996. He was the Republican presidential nominee in the 1996 presidential election and the party’s vice presidential nominee in the 1976 presidential election.

The proposed obverse features a portrait of Bob Dole with the Capitol in the background. Inscriptions are SON OF KANSAS, SOLDIER, STATESMAN, and BOB DOLE.

The proposed reverse depicts a Kansas wheat field below a quote, in eight lines, from Sen. Dole: FOR / GREATNESS LIES NOT / IN WHAT OFFICE YOU HOLD, / BUT IN HOW HONEST YOU ARE, / IN HOW YOU FACE ADVERSITY, / AND IN YOUR WILLINGNESS / TO STAND FAST IN HARD / PLACES. The inscription ACT OF CONGRESS 2017 is inscribed along the bottom border.

American Legion coins

The coin and medal review panel also discussed design concepts for the 2019 American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program.

The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 115-65, calls for the production and release in Proof and Uncirculated versions combined, of up to 50,000 gold $5 half eagles, 400,000 silver dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel-clad half dollars. 

The House passed H.R. 2519 on Sept. 25, with the Senate approving the bill on Sept. 28. President Trump signed the measure on Oct. 6. The measure was the first commemorative coin bill passed by the current Congress.

CCAC members concurred that while the silver dollar will be the signature coin because it offers the largest design canvas, the panel agreed that the designs for all three denominations should be superior to appeal to a wide audience.

Verna Jones, executive director of the American Legion, said it is important that the proposed designs tell the story of the American Legion.

Among the ideals recommended to consider when the artists develop the designs are the organization’s four pillars — Youth, Veterans, Americanism and Defense — along with its motto, “For God and Country.”

CCAC member Robert Hoge, an expert in numismatic curation, said the gold coin could incorporate Americanism and Youth through the American flag; the silver dollar to represent the “Silver Warriors” or Veterans; and the copper-nickel clad half dollar, representing armor, could reflect Defense.

CCAC member Erik Jansen, while not recommending abandonment of the American Legion’s pillars, advised that “the art has to appeal to purchasers today.”

“It shouldn’t be a collage with negative space and not look like a military medal,” Jansen said, “The American Legion is about healing, not about fighting battles.”

The CCAC’s historian member, Herman Viola, echoed Jansen’s sentiment.

“Don’t fall into the trap of making these a military coin,” he said.

Jansen also noted the likelihood that some designs submitted for one denomination may be favored by the panel for another as it has done with some previous coin programs.

Another CCAC member said the artists should consider the concept of incorporating the pillars separately with a fragment of the American flag, either on obverse or reverse, that when placed together would unite the multiple designs into a single motif.

Pennsylvania collector Thomas Uram, CCAC member, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists and a member of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors, noted that “God and Our Country” had been considered at one time to be added to U.S. coinage before “In God We Trust” was selected.

Further, Uram recommended the possibility of considering the strong shield from the obverse of the 2-cent coin introduced in 1864 with the motto as a possible design.

CCAC member Michael Moran suggested that the complexity of designs for each denomination should be based on the diameter, with the gold being the simplest and the silver dollar the more complex.

“You know there will be sales from your membership,” Moran told American Legions representatives, adding, “You’ll [also] need the numismatic market.”

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