US Coins

CCAC considers 2019 Americas Beautiful Quarters

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met by teleconference Feb. 15 to discuss themes for the five 2019 America the Beautiful quarter dollars and the Office of Strategic Services congressional gold medal.

The meeting involved the first participation of the panel's newest member — NBA Hall of Famer and coin collector Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Designs will eventually be rendered by both members of the U.S. Mint's engraving staff and the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program for consideration by the CCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts.

The Office of Strategic Services congressional gold medal was authorized under Public Law 114-269, signed Dec. 14, 2016, by President Obama. The law calls for the medal to be delivered to the Smithsonian Institution following its presentation by the congressional leadership to OSS representatives.

The OSS was America’s first effort to implement a system of strategic intelligence during World War II and provided the basis for the modern-day American intelligence and special operations contingents.

The five quarter dollars to be released in 2019 will recognize:

??Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts

??American Memorial Park, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

??War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam

??San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas

??Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho

The first four sites, under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, were congressionally recognized by statute in 1978; Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, under the jursdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, was congressionally recognized in 1980.

Lowell National Historical Park

The park preserves and interprets the role of Lowell in the American Industrial Revolution, primarily during the 1820s and 1830s.

The nearly six miles of canals and waterways dug to provide power to the textile mills were of vital importance and nearly all are still in existence. The canal system is one of the iconic parts of the park that prompted Congress to set aside the area as a national park.

The era was also defined in part by the “mill girls,” predominantly young New England women, who were recruited to work in the mills where they earned cash wages and lived in supervised, company-owned boarding facilities. Mostly from New England farms, the girls signed on to work in the mills for a designated period of time.

The following were suggested by park representatives as possible design devices:

??Mill girls

??Canal system/water power/engineering/science and technology (STEM)

??Mill buildings

??Elements from the city seal

??Clock tower with bell

CCAC members suggested design concentration on elements other than strictly buildings or architecture. Their focus was supportive of devices reflecting the textile looms and spindles and the activities of the “mill girls.” Since the bell in the clock tower was used to summon the women to and from work, one design suggestion was for a clock face divided into quadrants, with thematic devices placed within each section.

American Memorial Park

The  Northern Marianas’ American Memorial Park honors the thousands of American military and local residents who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign of World War II. Memorials at three distinct locations within the park honor lives sacrificed during the campaign: the Memorial Court of Honor and Flag Circle, the Marianas Memorial (dedicated to the indigenous people who perished), and the Carillon Bell Tower.

In addition to the park's memorials, park representatives suggested designs that depict the importance of the Marianas Campaign to World War II, securing Saipan and Tinian in helping to bring an end to the war.

CCAC members agreed that the designs for the sites in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam should be distinctively separate in themes depicted. The designs for the Northern Mariana Islands coin should reflect the sacrifices made not only by military personnel, but the indigenous inhabitants during World War II. Whatever designs are rendered should not be interchangeable with those for the Guam coin, CCAC members suggested.

War in the Pacific National Historical Park

War in the Pacific National Historical Park was established in 1978 to commemorate the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of those participating in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater of World War II. The park tells the story of how the U.S. took the Pacific Theater, island by island. At War in the Pacific National Historical Park, the former battlefields, gun emplacements, trenches, and historic structures all serve as reminders of key World War II battles. More than 100 sites, including caves, bunkers, pill boxes, plaques, and other military structures can be seen throughout the War in the Pacific park’s landscape.

Perhaps the most iconic memorial in the park is the Asan Bay Overlook. In addition to sweeping views of the landing beaches, Apra Harbor, and seaside villages, bronze sculptures depict events that took place on Guam. The Memorial Wall of Names lists the military personnel killed as well as local residents who lost their lives or suffered during the Japanese occupation. Other memorials include the Marine Landing Memorial, the Liberator’s Memorial, and the Ga'an Point Flag Display.

The park also conserves and interprets a variety of amazing resources found on Guam and has the highest biological diversity of any national park, as it comprises both underwater and land areas.

Among the themes suggested by park representatives, in conjunction with Mint officials, are these:

? Memorials: Asan Bay Overlook; Marine Landing Memorial; Ga'an Point Flag Display; Memorial Day Flag Display, where volunteers place U.S. and Guam flags with tea lights on the beach creating an impressive scene.

? Natural: hawksbill sea turtle; green sea turtle; coral reefs. 

? Recreation: snorkeling; fishing with traditional throw nets.

CCAC members noted that both the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam parks offer the opportunity for coin designs not strictly military in focus. Panel members discussed their support for designs featuring the endangered sea turtle species, since they favored a proposed turtle design for the 2017 Cumberland National Historical Park quarter dollar that was not adopted.

?San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

The park manages four of the five missions in San Antonio: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. The four mission churches are active Catholic parishes and the National Park Service maintains a strong partnership with the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The park also includes Rancho de las Cabras, the ranch associated with Mission Espada in Floresville, Texas.

The fact that Mission Valero (the Alamo) is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2015, but is not part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and therefore should not be part of the coin design, was noted.

The missions were built as walled compounds, containing the church, living quarters (for newly converted Christians and a few soldiers and their families), workshops and storerooms, and bastions or fortified towers used for defense.

Among the themes suggested by park representatives are:

??The Mission “compound” as a self-sustaining community.

??Architecture of the missions including elements of Spanish 18th century style, and indigenous designs inspired by natural elements (e.g. frescoes).

??Innovation with water, addressing the building of aqueducts and of irrigation canals known as “acequias.”

CCAC members suggested artists stay away from renditions of individual mission structures and focus on other imagery representing mission life. One suggestion was a design showing a view into a mission through its bell tower, with activity rendered in the background. It was suggested to steer clear of imagery with strictly religious overtones.

Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness

The Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness, encompassing more than 2.3 million acres, is the largest single contiguous wilderness in the continental United States and spans four national forests. “The River of No Return” name derives from when boats could navigate down the main Salmon River, but not back upstream, due to fast water and numerous rapids. Today, however, jet boats can navigate upstream.

The wilderness is dominated by the Salmon River Mountains, the Clearwater Mountains and the Bighorn Crags.

Wilderness representatives have identified the following possible design themes

? Natural landscape — remoteness; wilderness.

? Canyons — Salmon River Canyon, with a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon.

? Rivers — Main Salmon River and Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

? Mountain Ranges — Salmon River Mountains, Clearwater Mountains and Bighorn Crags.

? Wildlife — fish: steelhead trout, and chinook salmon; mammals: bighorn sheep, elk, and wolves; birds: bald eagles and golden eagles.

? Habitat management – “Leave No Trace.”

? Recreation – horse packing (animals with gear); whitewater rafting, sweep boats, drift boats.

CCAC members suggested design themes featuring elements of the region that are found nowhere else in the United States, such as the Big Horn Crags. Also, rather than centering on human activity in the remote region, CCAC members indicated the focus should be on the wildlife and the landscape. The coin offers the artists an opportunity to execute renderings of wolves native to the region, according to CCAC members.

OSS Congressional Gold Medal

The OSS was made up of members from all of the military branches as well as civilian personnel. 

The OSS was established June 13, 1942, by a presidential military order, to collect and analyze strategic information and to conduct special operations. Led by William J. Donovan (known as “Wild Bill”), the OSS employed almost 13,000 men and women at once at its peak, and thousands more across its entire existence. An ideal OSS candidate was described as a “Ph.D. who can win a barfight” and Donovan described OSS personnel as his “glorious amateurs.”

From 1942 to 1945, the men and women of the OSS were part of a “shadow war” behind the scenes and behind enemy lines around the world.

CCAC members discussed possible obverse designs featuring a portrait of Donovan, and working in his proposed spearhead insignia device. Reverse themes suggested include imagery of OSS personnel, often alone, parachuting from an aircraft behind enemy lines. CCAC members discussed the difficulty artists would encounter in presenting images, since OSS activities were clandestine.

An emphasis was placed on making sure the OSS is the focus, and not today’s Central Intelligence Agency, which was spawned from the OSS.

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