US Coins

CFA recommends designs for Ronald Reagan and Mark Twain coins

Members of the Commission of Fine Arts quickly agreed with the choice of a smiling Ronald Reagan for the 2016 dollar honoring the 40th president, but the seven-member panel dissented from other coin and medal designs endorsed by the government’s other coin review panel.

Meeting in Washington March 19, the CFA agreed with the selection of the same design recommended by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. However, the CFA agreed with only some of the recommendations for the two commemorative coins that will honor Mark Twain in 2016.

It endorsed the same obverse design for the gold $5 coin as the CCAC had selected at a March 6 meeting in Portland, Ore., but selected a different boat design for the reverse than that the departing paddle wheeler that the CCAC backed.

Read about the CCAC recommendations: 

The CFA supported an oncoming view of a twin-stacked Mississippi riverboat in part because it appeared more dramatic to the panel members.

The commission’s support for the gold obverse almost floundered after Thomas Luebke, the CFA secretary, questioned whether the absence of Twain’s name ruled that design out.

Don Everhart, a Mint sculptor-engraver, quickly suggested that Twain’s signature could be added to the obverse.

With that CFA Chairman Earl A. Powell III declared the problem was solved.

For the Twain silver dollar the CFA agreed with the CCAC’s choice of a pipe smoking Twain with a silhouette of Huck Finn and Jim on a raft in the background.

For the reverse, the CFA also followed the CCAC’s selection of another obverse design.

This showed characters from Twain’s book, a knight and horse from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a frog from “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and Jim and Huck from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

“With images this ridiculous it would be great to have them on a coin,” exclaimed Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, CFA vice chairman.

“Go back to the animals,” said Powell in agreement.

The recommendations of both the CFA and CCAC will be forwarded to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. He has the final say on what designs will appear on the nation’s coins and medals.

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