US Coins

President Obama signs Shimon Peres gold medal bill

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission of Fine Arts recommended proposed obverse and reverse designs, left and center, for a congressional gold medal honoring Israel’s president, Shimon Peres. At right is a second proposed reverse.

Images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

Proposed obverse and reverse designs for a congressional gold medal honoring Israel’s outgoing president, Shimon Peres, were recommended by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee during a 15-minute telephone meeting June 2. 

The recommendations were made in anticipation of President Obama signing the authorizing legislation into law. 

H.R. 2939 was forwarded May 30 to the president for his signature. President Obama signed the bill into law on June 9, a week after the CCAC considered the proposed designs.

The same designs recommended by the CCAC were recommended separately June 2 by the Commission of Fine Arts in a telephone poll of its members, according to the CFA’s executive director, Thomas Luebke.

The review and recommendation process was accelerated to meet a deadline to present the finished medal to Peres before the end of June.

The congressional gold medal is in honor of Peres’ maintenance of strong bilateral relations between Israel and the United States, beginning in the days of President John F. Kennedy when Peres served as Israel’s deputy defense minister.

Peres has served as Israel’s president since July 15, 2007. Peres also has served as Israel’s prime minister three separate times, as well as serving stints as minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, minister of finance, and minister of transportation.

H.R. 2939, approved by the House on May 19, was introduced Aug. 1, 2013, by Rep. Joseph Kennedy, D-Mass. The measure passed the Senate on May 20 and was forwarded to the president.

The CCAC reviewed one proposed obverse design and two versions of a proposed reverse design.

The sole obverse depicts Peres, 90, in a suit, superimposed over a flag of Israel. Peres’ staff recommends that the stripes in the flag be reduced in size because, as preliminarily depicted, they are too thick in relationship to the Star of David. The obverse was designed and is being sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II.

Both reverse designs offered depict a dove in flight with an olive branch in its beak.

The reverse recommended features the inscription around: YOU ARE AS GREAT AS THE CAUSE YOU SERVE. Along the bottom border, a series of X’s served as placeholders for the inscription ACT OF CONGRESS 2014. The reverse was designed and is being sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Joseph F. Menna.

The reverse not recommended by the CCAC featured the same central device, but with the inscription around, in slightly smaller size and a different letter font, DREAM OF A FUTURE PEACE RATHER THAN REMEMBER WARS PAST. Below, X’s in three lines were to accommodate ACT OF CONGRESS 2014 in three lines.

CCAC member Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, a medallic sculptor, questioned the positioning of the dove’s tail feathers, suggesting a better-defined perspective.

The law provides for bronze duplicates of the Peres gold medals to be struck by the U.S. Mint for sale to the general public.

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