US Coins

CCAC considers American Veterans medal designs

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee Nov. 14 recommended a proposed reverse for the American Veterans medal to be introduced in 2019, but deadlocked between two proposed designs favored for the obverse. It also discussed various other programs during the hours-long meeting, and it welcomed two new members.

The American Veterans Medal is intended to honor American military veterans and their service and sacrifice to the nation. Initially, the medal will be produced on a 1.5-inch .900 fine silver commemorative dollar planchet and sold as part of a special set with the 2019-P American Legion silver dollar.


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However, in 2020 the medal may also be produced in the traditional 3-inch and 1.5-inch bronze versions. These national medals are intended to be part of the U. S. Mint’s medal collection in perpetuity, with no inscribed date of issue and no prescribed mintage levels.

For the medal, the CCAC considered a total of 35 proposed designs, 15 obverses and 20 reverses. During the discussions, some members made suggestions about possibly using a reverse design for the obverse and vice versa, or mixing elements from more than one design.

Under the CCAC’s voting system, none of the 15 proposed obverse designs received the requisite number of votes to obtain the panel’s recommendation.

Each design could receive 0, 1, 2 or 3 points from each of the 11 panel members, meaning 33 points is the maximum any design could receive. To receive the recommendation, a minimum of 17 points were needed.

Deadlocked on the obverse

The CCAC members agreed then to cast one vote each between the top two designs, which had received 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the initial round of voting. The group’s second vote, however, ended in a tie, as one member abstained. 

The design receiving the most points from the initial vote portrays a bald eagle spreading its wings in preparation for flight, suggesting the initiative, determination, and personal courage required by those who choose to serve in our nation’s armed forces, according to the Mint. The five stars in the design represent the five branches of the U.S. Armed Services. The inscription CELEBRATING AMERICA’S VETERANS encircles the design.

Eagles were a widely used theme in the designs, with five obverse and nine reverse designs of the 35 total under review depicting eagles. 

The second obverse favored by the CCAC depicts a winged allegorical figure representing dignity, glory, and honor, presenting a crown of admiration, according to the Mint. The inscription HONORING AMERICA’S VETERANS is featured.

Several CCAC members suggested that if this design is selected, the figure’s wings should be removed.

Selecting a reverse

For the reverse, the CCAC recommended a design that depicts a field of several rows of stars — with one space in the star pattern left empty — above what the Mint calls a “striped” area that has a single, centered, incuse star. The field of raised stars symbolizes all American veterans — past, present, and future — while the lone incused star in the lower field represents the veteran who has made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the country. The missing star in the upper area conveys this supreme sense of loss to the nation.

According to the Mint, the design symbolizes our veterans’ service to our country and the sacrifices they are willing to make while serving in the armed forces. Further reinforcing that concept is the inscription SERVICE AND SACRIFICE above the lone star.

The CCAC will forward its results to the Treasury secretary for consideration.

To view all of the proposed designs, visit Coin World’s Facebook page online.

Other considerations

April Stafford, manager of the Mint’s Office of Design Management, said a request was made by the Department of the Interior to change the obverse inscription on the 2020 Weir Farm National Historic Site quarter dollar. Stafford said the recommendation was to change NATIONAL PARK FOR THE ARTS to A NATIONAL PARK FOR ART, since Weir Farm is not the only national park with a component tied to the arts.

The CCAC also debated whether to suggest that the reverse designs for the 14-year American Innovation $1 Coin Program starting in 2019 be designed according to a template similar to that used for the State quarter dollar and America the Beautiful quarters program. The panel ultimately decided not to recommend a template, believing to do so would constrain designs to be executed by the Mint’s engraving staff and Artistic Infusion Program artists.

The panel also discussed the possible employment of a privy mark on the reverse. The discussion centered on a mark that would not only include a gear as a symbol of innovation, but also include the number of the order of issuance, so collectors can better determine the date of issue.

Since the date will be on the edge of the coins as required by the enabling legislation, it can be difficult for collectors to determine the sequence of the released coins. A numbered privy mark on the reverse would serve presumably to aid collectors to identify the order of release for the coins.

The CCAC members agreed on the idea of a privy mark to include a numbering system, but suggested a “Where’s Waldo?” approach to allow the artists the freedom to place such a privy mark in a position that best fits their design.

The CCAC also put its stamp of approval on its annual report, which will be forwarded to the Treasury secretary for his approval. The report includes a list of approved commemorative coins and proposed programs for the next five calendar years.

New members

The Nov. 14 sessions also witnessed the swearing in of the two newest CCAC members appointed to four-year terms by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin.

Samuel Gill, a logistics and supply chain technology expert, represents the interests of the general public. Gill fills the vacancy created by the resignation of former pro basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Robin Salmon will be the CCAC’s resident medallic arts and sculpture specialist, replacing artist Heidi Wastweet, whose four-year term expired earlier this year. Wastweet remained on the panel until a replacement was selected. 

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