The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met on November 22, 2013, at United States Mint Headquarters, to review and discuss reverse design candidates for the 2014 American Platinum Eagle. In attendance from the committee were Chairman Gary Marks, Dr. Michael Bugeja, Erik Jansen, Michael Moran, Michael Olson (via teleconference), Michael Ross, Donald Scarinci, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Thomas Uram, and Heidi Wastweet. Steve Antonucci, Betty Birdsong, Don Everhart, Bill Norton, April Stafford, Megan Sullivan and Greg Weinman were present from the U.S. Mint. Sculptors from the Mint’s Philadelphia facilities were also on the teleconference.
April Stafford provided an overview of the current American Platinum Eagle design series, which is based on the principles of the phrases from the Preamble of the Constitution; the phrase for 2014 is “to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. As eagles have traditionally be part of the reverse of these designs, an American eagle privy mark will be added. The individual designs were then displayed and the descriptions read by Ms. Stafford.
As during previous meetings, Chairman Marks asked for a call to discuss each design; if no one wanted to discuss a particular design, it would be excluded from consideration. After the call, only designs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12 would be considered. Comments from each of the CCAC members for each of these designs are summarized below.
Dr. Michael Bugeja indicated that his method of evaluating designs includes looking for ample fields, movement and orientation of the figures in the design. He also cautioned the Mint designer to use an iconic privy mark. Donald Scarinci, while not commenting on this or any of the other designs, did lament that the Commission of Fine Arts did not explain the reasons for their selection (design 12), but suspected that the reason was it was the only design that “it was the only one that was not figurative”. He also went on to admit that while the collector community likes seeing the classic depictions of Liberty, we have to acknowledge that “Adolph Weinman (designer of the Walking Liberty half dollar and Winged Liberty Head dime) is dead”, and that we need to collectively move past the designs we grew up with. Heidi Wastweet simply stated that doves are symbols of peace, not liberty. Chairman Gary Marks was “not excited” about this design, Erik Jansen dismissed it as being the wrong symbol, and Michael Moran also did not think it represented a blessing of liberty. Thomas Uram liked the comments on the movement, and Jeanne Stevens-Sollman liked the open field, but did not understand the design. Michael Ross commented that historically, Liberty was never represented as a child.
Dr. Bugeja thought the bounty was “too ornate” and consumed too much field, and Ms. Wastweet called attention to the use of words as necessary because of the mixed symbols. Chairman Marks thought it was interesting, but it had no central focus, and echoed Ms. Wastweet’s comment, stating that the use of text indicates weakness. Mr. Jansen dismissed it along with design 1.
Designs 5 and 6
These designs were almost always discussed in the same breath by the committee members. Dr. Bugeja commented on the ethnic-looking faces, but was open to a reduction in the size of the moment in the images, and called the inscription “United States of America” too large. Ms. Wastweet noted that the physiques looked “awkward” and “ugly”, and did not have any grace. Chairman Marks noted they looked art deco, Mr. Jansen mentioned the Standing Liberty Quarter in comparison to these designs, and indicated he was not pleased with the ethnicity and stature. Mr. Moran said the mixed fonts were jarring, and the foot in design 6 was not anchored to the steps. Ms. Stevens-Sollman noted the text felt squeezed into the space.
This design did not appeal to Dr. Bugeja, who thought it reminiscent of a revolutionary war medal. Ms. Wastweet, after indicating hesitation that it might sound a bit crude, commented that she was “afraid people would look at this and think that Lady Liberty got knocked up”. Chairman Marks thought the field was cluttered with the flag in the background, and Mr. Jansen simply referenced Ms. Wastweet’s comment. Mr. Uram thought that the background would pop if frosted with the Mint’s modern techniques.
Dr. Bugeja said his first impression with this design was “wow”, adding that Lady Liberty is the “ultimate superhero”. Ms. Wastweet saw it as a “beautiful design”, very classic looking, but was “looking for more innovation”. Chairman Marks found it to be “dramatically classical”, and Mr. Olson liked the use of 13 stars surrounding the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Jansen referred to it as the “worst product of computer-aided design” and a “paste-up”. Mr. Moran found it to be a throwback to the Walking Liberty design (a second Wienman reference), and Mr. Uram thought it too similar to last year’s design. Ms. Stevens-Sollman thought it was an old image and not contemporary enough.
Dr. Bugeja indicated his first thought was of the Olympic torch, the road was the Yellow Brick Road from “The Wizard of Oz”. Ms. Wastweet said this design was her favorite, commenting that there are not a lot of children on our coins. Chairman Marks echoed Ms. Wastweet, and thought the coin would proof up nicely. Mr. Olson said it was a “vibrant fresh design”, and indicated he would only support this design over the rest. Mr. Jansen questioned the expression on the girl’s face, but was otherwise supportive of this design, saying that is “flat out works with the previous 5 coins” in the series, a comment echoed by Mr. Moran, and Ms. Stevens-Sollman saw that this design depicted the “weight of liberty on her shoulders”. Mr. Ross stood apart from his colleagues, and indicated that Liberty has historically never been depicted as a child, and could not support this design.
The committee members voted, and these are the results out of a possible 30 points. With 23 points, design 11 received the CCAC’s recommendation.
|Design 1: 4||Design 2: 0||Design 3: 0||Design 4: 2|
|Design 5: 3||Design 6: 0||Design 7: 3||Design 8: 8|
|Design 9: 0||Design 10: 0||Design 11: 23||Design 12: 0|
Images of the Remaining Design Candidates