US Coins

CCAC recommends Indian, horse design for 2012 dollar

After reviewing 13 designs for the 2012 Native American $1 Coin Program and wrangling over them for about an hour, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee chose the same design recently selected by the Commission of Fine Arts.

The CCAC selected design 8 at its public meeting June 27 in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar. Five committee members attended the meeting and three participated via a speakerphone. More than two dozen seminar participants attended.

Ron Harrigal, acting chief engraver and division chief for new products and development at the Mint, said the designs already had been put before the Congressional Native American Caucus, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the National Congress of the American Indian.

In presenting the designs to the CCAC, Harrigal categorized them into two groups. The first were categorized as “natural” art pieces and included designs 1 to 5, 7 and 8. Designs 6 and 9 to 13 fell into what was called “Ledger Art.” This latter group is representative of drawings done on ledger paper by Plains Indians from 1860 to 1900 when the bison herds were decimated and Native Americans were forced onto government reservations.

Jim Adams, who was attending the meeting from the National Museum of the American Indian, said the Ledger Art is “uniquely Indian. It is an authentic expression of the American Indian.”

Many of the CCAC members appeared to lean toward the Ledger Art designs, with attending committee member Michael Olson offering a motion to approve design 11, which received the second most points (17) from the committee members. Design 8 received 18 points.

Olson’s motion failed on a 4-2 vote, with phone-in member Doreen Bolger providing the other yes vote. CCAC member Donald Scarinci, who also was listening on the phone, abstained from all voting on designs.

During an earlier discussion of coin designs, Bolger said she wanted the committee to choose a Ledger Art piece, adding she “liked” design 11 the most.

Olson, who described himself as a “collector since I was a kid,” began his comments by saying he was “initially pleased with the body [of designs] as a whole,” and found design 8 the “finest” among the natural art renderings.

“I find the Ledger Art very interesting,” Olson said before listing his points for the designs. “It is an authentic expression of the American Indian.” However, he found design 9 “distracting” and noted that although design 13 was his “favorite” of the Ledger Art pieces its design was better suited for a silver dollar-size coin.

Committee member Mike Ross, who was listening in on the meeting by phone, said he thought the coin was to be based on a theme of the horse and American Indian and added that not all of the Ledger Art designs met that criteria.

Attending CCAC member Eric Jansen said during his review of the natural artwork that designs 1 to 3 were a “disservice,” design 4 didn’t look authentic and design 5 reminded him of a Lafayette commemorative dollar. Additionally, he said design 7 “has energy” but questioned the perspective. He picked design 8 as his favorite of the naturals, noting he saw the “partnership” between the horse and the Indian in the design.

Among the Ledger Art selections, Jansen “dismissed” design 6, doubted whether design 13 would work on such a small coin and could not pick a favorite from designs 9 to 11.

Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart, who was in attendance, said the composition of design 13 “could work.”

In making her comments about the 13 designs presented to the committee, artist and CCAC member Heidi Wastweet said she was leaning for Ledger Art designs 9 to 12, noting artwork in design 12 was “the most simplistic and most clear.”

Of the natural designs, she found design 8 a “gorgeous drawing,” adding “it would match up well with Sacagawea on the other side.” She said the horse in design 1 “looks more Arabian” than horses used by Native Americans.

Wastweet declared design 4 “wonderful, wonderful” but added, “It’s a lot to put on a coin.” She said design 5 had “too much debris in the background,” questioned the authenticity of design 6, and found design 7 to be “beautiful” but thought it was a hunting scene.

CCAC Chairman Gary Marks said he too was “intrigued” with the Ledger Art design and then went through each piece of artwork.

Marks said he wanted to “see more horse” in designs 1 and 6; thought the anatomies of the horses in designs 2 and 3 don’t “sync”; didn’t like design 4; found “too much detail” in design 5; wanted to “see more horse” in design 6; liked the perspective in design 7; thought the two horses in design 9 were “too much.”

He also; said design 10 was very Native American, clear and would make a “very striking coin”; said the horses in the background in design 11 would fade and “become clutter”; said design 12 had a three-dimensional aspect when it shouldn’t; and thought that design 13 was a “little circle of clutter” and a “failure on a coin.”

As for design 8, Marks said it was reminiscent of Bela Lyon Pratt’s Indian Head half eagle, adding that it was “well rendered” and “conveys a relationship between the horse and the Native Americans.”

“It would be a very attractive coin,” he said.

Before tallying the points, committee members commented on the horses galloping across the background in design 8, saying they should be left as is or eliminated. The CFA also suggested deleting the background animals, according to Harrigal.

Olson said the CCAC is to recommend designs, including any changes, to the Treasury secretary. “That’s what our job is,” he said.

However, Wastweet cautioned the committee not to “change the artists intentions.” Marks noted that such change suggestions often are ignored. In the end, the CCAC members decided to leave the recommended design alone.

With three points being the most each committee member could attach to a design and 18 points the most a single design could receive, the committee voted as follows: no points for designs 1 to 3; two for design 6; three for designs 4, 5 and 7; four for designs 12 and 13; eight for design 9; 11 for design 10; 16 for design 11; and 17 for design 8. ¦

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