US Coins

Judging error leads Mint to raise number of semifinalists

A discrepancy during an early judging phase in the U.S. Mint’s Baseball Coin Design Competition resulted in the addition of five additional semifinalist designs, three of which made it to the finalist stage.

Image courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The failure of a member of a design review panel to properly follow the established criteria during an internal round of judging for the Baseball Coin Design Competition did not adversely affect any of the contestants’ entries, Mint officials announced July 9.

The competition is being conducted to select a common obverse design emblematic of the game of baseball for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar.

Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Information, said as soon as the discrepancy was uncovered, “to protect the integrity of the competition and to be fair to all contestants,” Mint officials dropped the offending judge’s scores from the design evaluations.

Jurkowsky said Mint officials declined to disclose the exact nature of the violation of judging criteria.

The discrepancy resulted in the addition of five semifinalist designs (just one design per designer was permitted at the semifinalist stage), bringing the total number of semifinalist designs to 26. The total number of semifinalist designs could have been 27; the Mint originally submitted 22 semifinalist designs to the judges at the semifinalist level, but at one point during the judging, one of the original 22 designers pulled his or her design from consideration.

The discrepancy led the Mint to remove the semifinalist designs June 27 from the website where they had been posted for public viewing for 22 days; the 26 designs were placed on public view at the website starting on July 9. Designs that reached the semifinalist stage were posted through online at

The changes required a second round of judging at the semifinalist level. This second round of judging, including the five new semifinalists, resulted in the selection of three additional finalists, yielding a total of 17 finalists, according to Jurkowsky.

The Mint’s internal design evaluation team evaluated submissions for artistic merit, coinability, technical merit and appropriateness to become semifinalists; the problem with the judging occurred at this level, according to the Mint.

Five members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame — Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton and Dave Winfield — completed their initial evaluation of the semifinalist designs between June 5 and 10. Following a second review subsequent to the judging discrepancy, the Hall of Fame players who judged the designs again submitted their scores to determine the finalists.

The finalists’ designs will be available for public view through and also at beginning July 18, the same day the designs are to be formally reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts, and also presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for further review and comment.

The CCAC is scheduled to formally review the finalist designs in public session sometime during its July 24 and 25 meeting.

The acting director of the United States Mint, Richard Peterson, will make a final recommendation sometime in August after considering all relevant factors, including the comments and recommendations of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the CFA and the CCAC.

The secretary of the Treasury, Jacob J. “Jack” Lew, will make the final design selection, which is scheduled to be announced in September.

The 17 finalist designs will be reviewed by the CFA, CCAC, National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Peterson, before being presented to Lew for final selection.

The first 14 finalists were notified of their selection on June 19 by a representative of the Mint’s design and engraving staff, Jurkowsky said. The additional three finalists and the prior 14 finalists were notified July 9 by email, also sent by a representative of the design and engraving staff, Jurkowsky said.

“It should be noted that the previous 21 semi-finalists, along with the new semi-finalists who were not selected as finalists, were also informed via email today,” Jurkowsky said July 9.

Contestant recognition

A total of 178 designs were submitted for the competition between noon Eastern Daylight Time April 11 and 5 p.m. May 11 by entrants ages 14 and older.

The contestant whose design is chosen for the common obverse will receive compensation of not less than $5,000, according to provisions of the enabling legislation, Public Law 112-152 (The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act).

The winning designer will also have his or her initials appear on the obverse along with those of the member of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff assigned to sculpture the design for die production.

The obverse design will be struck concave on all three coins.

The common reverse design selected by Lew will be unveiled July 26 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., during Hall of Fame induction weekend activities, Jurkowsky said.

The selected reverse design is to be similar to the style of baseball used by Major League Baseball.

The proposed reverse designs were generated by members of the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff and Artistic Infusion Program.

The common reverse design will be struck convex on all three commemorative coin denominations.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame coins are scheduled to go on sale in early 2014. ¦

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