The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met on November 27, 2012, at United States Mint Headquarters, to review and discuss reverse designs for the 2014 America the Beautiful Quarters. In attendance were Chairman Gary Marks, Heidi Wastweet, Thomas Uram, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Mike Ross, Erik Jansen, as was Don Everhart, Ron Harrigal, Bill Norton, and Greg Weinman from the U.S. Mint. Mr. Everhart was videoconferenced in from the Philadelphia Mint, and Ms. Wastweet was voice-conferenced; all others attended in person. Mr. Harrigal provided the descriptions for each set of designs: 4 for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, 5 for Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, 7 for Arches National Park in Utah, 7 for Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, and 6 for Everglades National Park in Florida. In addition, he provided the preferences of the Committee of Fine Arts (designs 3, 5, 1, 6, and 4, respectively) who reviewed the designs the day before.
Chairman Marks started the discussion of the designs by passing around business-strike and proof strike quarters to demonstrate how the designs they reviewed, and spoke highly of, actually turned out. Some of the fine details that were seen as focal points seems to melt into the coin. He wanted to remind his fellow committee members to have an understanding of the scale between the drawings they review and the actual coins that are produced. With regards to the designs in front of the committee that day, the chairman found design 3 for the Great Smoky Mountains to be his favorite, but thought the amount a scenery would disadvantage the viewer. He liked design 5 for Shenandoah, but thought the bear would “going to be lost in the scenery”, much as the Roosevelt Elk did on the Olympic quarter, and the ram on the Denali quarter. For Arches, he found design 2 the “most familiar”, but also liked design 7. The lack of negative space on the Great Sand Dunes designs gave him cause to not have any favorites, and he thought that the second Everglades design would “show well on a small quarter-sized coin.”
Michael Olson was next, who stated he agreed with a lot of what the chairman had said. Regarding the designs, he also liked the third Great Smoky Mountains design, “simply because it does show the cabin”, and liked design 4 for Shenandoah because “it does show the road more predominantly”. He expressed strong support for Arches design 2, but said he may give design 1 “a vote or two”. Regarding the Great Sand Dunes, he asked that the other committee members “take a look at 2 and 3”, and found himself “really working hard” to find an Everglades design he liked.
Jeanne Stevens-Sollman was third to comment. She liked both designs 1 and 4, but did not indicate a specific preference for the Great Smoky Mountains designs, whereas she did like the fourth and fifth designs for Shenandoah, those that highlight Skyline Drive. For Arches, she liked the simplicity of design 2, and felt that design 1 was “a little off center”. She found that design 7 of the Great Sand Dunes showed off the park’s diversity, but thought it might be “too much information”. Last, she thought design 4 has “the strongest image”, and highlights iconic birds of the park.
Dr. Bugeja was next, and expressed no preference for neither the Great Smoky Mountain designs nor the Shenandoah designs. He liked design 1 for Arches, but only due to the circular aspects of the the design. He had no preference on the designs for the Great Sands Dunes, and commented that design 1 resembled a “waffled coin”. Last, he commented that the second Everglades design showed “an unanticipated encounter” with the depicted bird.
Ms. Wastweet was next, after verifying she could be heard over the phone. She found designs 1, 2, and 3 for Great Smoky Mountains to be “about equal”, and was really against the depiction of fog in design 4. She generally did not like the designs for Shenandoah, but found design 4 to be “the closest one that works”. She believed that there would be fabrication and coinability issues with Arches design 1 (the CFA’s recommendation), and she found design 2 to be “iconic” and “coinable”. She was “not totally won over” with design 1 for Great Sand Dunes, but it would be one she would pick if she had to. She was quite pleased that the Everglades design were “designs” and not “storyboards”, “pictures”, or “postcards”, and thought design 2 “would be a fantastic design”.
Mr. Ross’ comments were restricted to single comment regarding design 1 for Everglades, on which a member of the Calusa tribe (one of several groups of Native Americans forcibly relocated) is depicted, and expressed concern of “whitewashing American history to remove this tragic event by focusing on a tribe that just kind of disappears into the mists.”
Mr. Hoge agreed with Ms. Wastweet in her thinking that it is “very good idea to try to show fog or clouds and that sort of thing” for the Great Smoky Mountains quarter, and felt that design 3 would work best with some size adjustments. He was also “not thrilled” about the Shenandoah designs, at one point confusing the river of the same name with Skyline Drive. He agreed with his colleagues that “the negative space issue is very important”, and indicated that design 2 would receive his vote. With the Great Sand Dunes designs, he thought designs 2 or 3 “would both look better with no human images in them”, and felt that all the Everglades designs were “quite attractive drawings”.
Mr. Uram liked the third design for the Great Smoky Mountains, but was also gravitating towards the bears. He also liked design 5 from the Shenandoah set, as well as design 2 for the Arches set. He liked the third Great Sand Dunes design, “with the footprints”, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth Everglades designs.
Mr. Moran prefaced his remarks by saying he “really was disappointed with most all of the work”, commenting specifically on the errors in perspective for the highway in Shenandoah design 4, the “little tiny people” on the Arches areas, and the footprints through the Great Sand Dunes.
Mr. Jansen wrapped up the committee’s discussion with some comments towards his fellow members. Regarding designs that are member’s default, “don't give it a three. Give it a two or a one”. He also expressed concern with the degree of texturing that is being attempted by the sculptors in their designs, as well as stating it appeared that “three of those [Shenandoah] drawings all came from the same photograph, clearly, because the contours in the rocks are identical”.
The committee cast their votes, giving a score of zero to three for each design. The results were tallied as follows:
Great Smoky Mountains: design 1 (13 points), design 2 (0), design 3 (11), design 4 (0). No design was recommended, as none crossed the 50-percent point barrier. A motion to “request new designs giving more balance between the images and negative space, and less fine detail” carried.
Shenandoah: design 1 (0 points), design 2 (0), design 3 (2), design 4 (12), design 5 (17). Design 5 was recommended. A motion to “remove the hazy hills, the tree, and to ask that the proportion of the hiker to the rock formation be verified to be accurate” carried.
Arches: design 1 (6 points), design 2 (28), design 3 (1), design 4 (0), design 5 (1), design 6 (1), design 7 (4). Design 2 was recommended.
Great Sand Dunes: design 1 (3 points), design 2 (4), design 3 (9), design 4(0), design 5 (0), design 6 (2), design 7 (2). No design was recommended. A motion to “simply new designs seeking more balance between negative space and objects, and less fine detail” carried.
Everglades: design 1 (0 points), design 2 (3), design 3 (1), design 4 (20), design 5 (5), design 6 (1). Design 4 was recommended. A motion to “remove the clouds and then generally to address the foliage in the background horizon such as to emphasize the bird in a more contrasting way” carried.