During the first day of a two day meeting held from January 27-28, 2015, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed and discussed design candidates provided by the United States Mint for the 2015 High Relief Gold Coin and Silver Medal. These design candidates had previously been discussed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) during a meeting held on January 22, 2015.
April Stafford of the United States Mint began the discussion by explaining the that the high relief gold coin with a placeholder denomination of $75 would be issued following the success of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle. A silver medal bearing the same design less some of the inscriptions would also be issued. The obverse design shared by both the gold coin and silver medal would feature a modern rendition of Liberty while the reverse would feature a modern rendition of an eagle.
Ms. Stafford introduced the 25 different obverse and 16 different reverse design candidates prepared by Mint artists and briefly explained some of the symbols and elements present within the designs. The recommendations offered in the previous week by the Commission of Fine Arts were also indicated. The CFA had recommended designs 3 and 11 for the obverse and designs 1 and 10 for the reverse. The complete set of design candidate images can be found here.
Before the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee began discussing the design candidates, a series of six motions were introduced dealing with specific aspects of the coin and medal.
- A recommendation was reaffirmed for producing the silver medal on a 40.6 mm planchet to maximize eye appeal. This is the planchet size used for the popular American Silver Eagle bullion and collector coins.
- A recommendation was made for the relief of the silver medal to be maximized to the fullest extent possible and in excess of the relief established for the American Silver Eagle.
- A recommendation was made to use “One Union” with a value of $100 as the denomination for the gold coin. This denomination, which was never used for actual coinage, had been historically envisioned to represent $100 on United States coinage.
- A recommendation was made to include mint marks on the silver medals in the same fashion as had been done for the 2011 September 11 National Silver Medals. The West Point Mint and the San Francisco Mint (with mint marks “W” and “S”) were mentioned as potential facilities which could be utilized to provide a solid supply of medals.
- A recommendation was made to include edge reeding on the silver medals to provide the best presentation. Historically, the United States Mint has not used edge reeding for medals.
- While the Mint is considering the gold coin and silver medal under a one year program, the CCAC made a recommendation for an ongoing series of Liberty themed silver medals. The ongoing series would serve to satisfy the anticipated strong demand from collectors and allow Mint artists to fully explore and develop the theme and multicultural aspects of modern Liberty over a number of years.
All six motions were unanimously approved by the members of the CCAC.
The discussion of the design candidates for the gold coin and silver medal began with a culling of the designs to identify those which members wanted to discuss. The culling resulted in a remaining field of obverse candidates 1, 2, 3, 7, 11, 12, and 21, and reverse candidates 1, 3, 9, 10, 14, and 15.
As committee members shared their impressions of the various candidates, a single option for the obverse and reverse quickly emerged as frontrunners. Following the completion of the discussion phase, the CCAC’s voting process affirmed these two candidates as the official recommendations. For the first time in history, both the recommended obverse and reverse received the highest possible score of 30 points.
The CCAC recommended design candidate 11 for the obverse. A motion was introduced and passed unanimously to move the position of the motto “In God We Trust” beneath the date, horizontally stacked in two lines.
The CCAC recommended design 1 for the reverse. A motion was introduced and passed unanimously to trim the size of the olive branch held in the eagle’s talons.
Taking into consideration the recommendations of both the CFA and CCAC, the authority to select the final designs for the gold coin and silver medal rest with the Secretary of the Treasury. The United States Mint has not yet provided a time frame for the release of the coin and medal, although both are included on the 2015 product schedule.