US Coins

Lions win for reverse of Lions Club coin

The two panels that review coin and medal designs have arrived at different decisions for a 2017 commemorative silver dollar.

Lions Club International, a worldwide service organization, had won backing from the Commission of Fine Arts for its preferred designs for a commemorative silver dollar to go on sale in 2017, the club’s centennial.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee followed the CFA Oct. 8 in urging a design showing Lion Club founder Melvin Jones in the foreground with the club’s logo for the obverse.

But the CCAC rejected the CFA’s and the Lions Club’s reverse choice, which shows three lions against a globe.

Instead, the CCAC endorsed a design showing two lions, a male and female, against a globe, a drawing that CCAC sculptor member Heidi Wastweet championed as less cluttered than the club’s preferred design.

Noting that lions have not been pictured on U.S. coins, committee members predicted that the coin would prove popular with people who like wildlife on coins.

During the Oct. 7 opening day of its two-day session, the CCAC briefly addressed themes for the three-coin 2017 Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Program.

The enabling law authorizes up to 50,000 gold $5 half eagles, as many as 350,000 silver dollars and not more than 300,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars in Proof and Uncirculated finishes combined.

When representatives of Boy’s Town in Nebraska appeared before the CCAC to discuss the three-coin program that Congress had approved for the organization’s centennial next year, the panel issued a series of warnings.

They cautioned that only good designs would win them sales from collectors and urged them to avoid placing images of individuals, buildings and static objects on the coins.

“What would Father Flanagan want?” Marks asked the representatives, referring to Edward Flanagan, the priest who created the organization that continues to care for troubled youth.

Marks recognition

Retiring CCAC member Gary Marks was presented with a plaque showing bronze duplicates of the congressional gold medal given Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma human rights activist, in 2012. 

Marks, city manager of Lebanon, Ore., has served on the committee for more than eight years including five as the chair.

“We have changed the world. Well done. Well done,” Marks said in a farewell address.

He said the work of the committee has made the Mint more responsive to creating coins with more contemporary designs. That has given the Mint greater standing for the artistic value of its coins.

Marks predicted that several of the Mint’s latest coins will be nominated for “Coin of the Year” competition, illustrating the gains the Mint has made with the committee’s assistance. 

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