During a meeting held on February 11th, 2014 at the U.S. Mint’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed and discussed the reverse design candidates for the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters In attendance were all 11 committee members (Chairman Gary Marks, Robert Hoge, Dr. Michael Bugeja, Erik Jansen, Michael Moran on teleconference, Michael Olson, Michael Ross, Donald Scarinci, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Thomas Uram, and Heidi Wastweet), as well as members of the U.S. Mint staff.
After the authorizing law for the quarter redesign (Public Law 110-456) was read by April Stafford of the Mint, Chairman Marks passed around lenses containing the 2013 and 2014 proof quarters, noting how some designs have a definitive focal point and others do not. The chairman wanted to impart this concept into the committee members’ minds.
Homestead National Monument of America Quarter
During the technical discussion, Heidi Wastweet asked why more of the site’s title was not included in the designs; in response, the Mint representatives said that space was the determining factor, and that this site in particular was one of the ‘worst-case scenarios’ from the program’s inception. The chairman called for a culling of designs, which left only designs 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10.
Heidi Wastweet started off by commenting on all the negative points in design 1 (culled by the committee): busy design, a literal interpretation, and the inappropriate size for a quarter. She further commented that the dominant character was a white male, doing an injustice to all the other people that tamed this land. Design 7, she noted, was the only one with reins on the horses, but there was no exertion being shown: they are all at rest. She concluded with a question on the possibility for a redesign, at which point the Mint representatives noted that the artist that created design 1 also made design 2, followed by Chairman Marks requesting that the committee use their scoring process to “point in a direction” of the designs they would like to see. Chairman Gary Marks was very focused in his comments, noting that design 2 was the “closest thing to symbolic” amongst the presented set: it showed the three important things to a settler: food, shelter, water. He also suggested that the stars be removed, to allow for an enlargement of the featured objects.
Michael Moran was equally focused: he supported design 2, said that the well will get lost in the house, and continued the call for the removal of the stars. He noted that to him the words “FREE LAND” in designs 5 and 6 felt overpowering, and that the teams of horses and oxen in designs 7 and 8 would turn into “a bunch of frosting” on the proof quarters. He also echoed Ms. Wastweet’s comments about the reins on the animals and their state of rest. Erik Jansen agreed with his colleagues as to the removal of stars from design 2, and indicated that the depiction the well pump was accurate. He indicated sympathy for the words “FREE LAND”, as it was crucial to the Homestead Act, and drew millions of people to the country. Jeanne Stevens-Sollman continued the targeted comments: could not support designs with teams of animals, and supported design 2 without the stars.
Michael Ross imparted an important perspective with regard to the phrase “FREE LAND”: it was not just free of cost, it was free of slavery. These lands would not support plantation crops, which was why Congressmen from the southern states opposed the law. He would support design 2 if “FREE LAND” were added. Robert Hoge liked designs 2 and 8, but felt the oxen needed incentive. He also indicated that the windmills are some of the only lasting structures from the settlements. Thomas Uram had no comment. Dr. Michael Bugeja wanted to call out the difference between a story and a storyboard: the right-facing American Indian and the left-facing buffalo form a story. Donald Scarinci commented that he supported design 2 with the modifications the others had suggested, but generally did not like the set of designs.
Kisatchie National Forest Quarter
During the technical discussion, Mr. Scarinci asked if the red cockaded woodpecker depicted in design 7 was accurate; it was, and the depiction of the bird in flight would be considered a great shot if captured by a photographer. He also expressed his thoughts that the depiction of a turkey would better represent the site than the woodpecker: the theory being that the public could better identify the turkey over the woodpecker, but as the woodpecker is endangered, and the wild turkey is not, there would be no other opportunity to immortalize the woodpecker. The designs were culled, and designs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 were moved forward.
Mr. Olson liked design 1: at the quarter size, it would be appealing. He also liked design 2 for its simplicity, and designs 5, 6, 7 for their action, calling out design 7 as ‘stunning’. For design 4, he believed the features of the bird and the pine needles would intertwine: they would render well on the five-ounce planchet, but not on a quarter. Ms. Wastweet felt that the tree trunk in design 3 was ‘overwhelming’, and that the lone pine needles in design 4 would get lost. She indicated heavy support for design 7, calling it a ‘unique perspective’, and noting the wing breaking the edge of the design area. Chairman Marks saw “lots of potential” with design 4, but thought there was “too much in it”. Regarding design 5, he referenced Benjamin Franklin’s support for the turkey being the national emblem rather than the bald eagle, and also called out design 7 for its interesting perspective, but believed the trees in the background should be thinned to “isolate the focal point”.
Mr. Moran had more general comments, calling out potential issues with profile views in the proof coins, and suggesting that depicting birds in flight doesn’t work well, as it would lose the desired perspective. Mr. Jansen objected to the depiction of the flying turkey in design 5, saying “they don’t fly like that”. He favored design 3 with its use of negative space, and thought design 1 was “not bad”, but could not support the remaining designs. Ms. Stevens-Sollman thought design 7 was “an interesting view”, and she liked the trees in the background, thinking of their frosted appearance on the proof specimens.
Mr. Hoge commented that the turkey was clearly visible in design 1, but the pine trees were not. Mr. Uram suggested that the branch above the woodpecker in design 4 should be trimmed. Mr. Scarinci boiled the decision down to the two different birds: woodpecker against turkey. He echoed his technical comments that there would “lots of opportunities” to put a turkey on a coin (it already appears on the 2013 Native American dollar reverse), but this coin would be the only opportunity for this woodpecker.
Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter
During the technical discussion, Chairman Marks commented that a road is “one of the more difficult items for a coin”, and added that he believed a vehicle should have been added to the depictions, as that is how the vast number of people experience a parkway. Mr. Olson asked if the addition of the cardinals and dogwood trees were due to their being the state birds and trees for Virginia and North Carolina; he was answered that they were symbols for both states. A question was also asked about designs 3 and 4: they were removed due to their ability to be coined and legal concerns. The designs were culled, and designs 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8 were to be discussed.
Mr. Olson began the design discussion by commenting how his Corvette enthusiast friends enjoy this parkway, saying how it is “all about the road, where it takes you”. He said that designs 1 and 5 struck his fancy, providing an interesting perspective, but the trees and birds in designs 6 and 7 looked “pasted on”. Ms. Wastweet appreciated the birds and trees, but were “a little too much”. She preferred simpler layouts, such as designs 1 and 5, leaning more towards 5. Chairman Marks also preferred designs 1 and 5, describing the parkway’s depiction in 5 as an “inviting roadway”. Mr. Moran noted the use of negative space to highlight the designs. He indicated his support for design 5.
Mr. Janson asked about how the pavement would be frosted in the proof versions of the quarter; Don Everhart of the Mint indicated that a light polish would be used to highlight it. Ms. Stevens-Sollman favored designs 1 and 5, and liked the flowers of the dogwood, but thought it would be lost on a quarter. Mr. Hoge asked what vegetation was depicted on the sides of the parkway (rhododendron), and commented that he was not aware that dogwood trees grew within tunnels, as depicted in design 7. Mr. Scarinci favored design 5 over 1, but lamented the lack of a modern view.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter
The technical discussion started with Mr. Moran commenting that the designs reminded him of the Everglades quarter; this was picked up by Mr. Jansen, who said that similarity may drive the committee to design 5 to create a difference; Dr. Bugeja concurred. Mr. Scarinci asked if the egret as depicted in design 3 was common; the answer was yes, during the summer months. He followed that with a question about the uniqueness of the bird to this site; it isn’t unique, but they are associated with the site during a large portion of the year. The designs were culled, and designs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 received requests for comment by one or more committee members.
Mr. Moran had a little to say about each design: the fish in 1 gave it action, but the background in 2 was distracting. The herons in 3 were too small, but found the birds in flight on 4 “interesting”. Design 5 was “beautiful”, 6 had a “nice balance”, and 8 was a “nice scene”, but thought there was a touch too much background. Ms. Wastweet felt that design 1 provided a “strong silhouette” and thought it was a more unique design. She noted that design 5 was not unique to this particular park. Chairman Marks noted that the committee recommended removing a horizon line from the Everglades design, and design 1 had the same situation, but he really liked it. He noted that the inclusion of Canadian geese in design 5 could be a response to the Canadian government having a bald eagle on one of their 2014 $100 silver coin. Mr. Moran said the legs in design 8 “will get lost” against the landscape elements. He also liked the fish in the beak in design 1.
Mr. Jansen indicated that the fish in design 1 would disappear on a quarter. He liked designs 4 and 8, but felt that “the neck is wrong”. Ms. Stevens-Sollman said the heron in design 1 was accurate, but wanted to improve the s-curve in the bird’s neck, a comment she also made for designs 2, 6, and 7. Mr. Hoge indicated the neck in design 8 was correct, and preferred that design over 1, where the fish would be lost in the details. He also commented about the appropriateness of the Canadian geese in design 5. Mr. Uram said that the depictions in design 2 were accurate to views from his own property; it is a solitary bird, and should be shown in isolation. On design 3, the flying bird in the center “should be scaled up” and placed in isolation. Mr. Scarinci indicated the problem with herons is that they, like geese, are everywhere; he wanted to put design 5 forward, to send a message to Canada.
Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter
The technical discussion started with Chairman Marks asking about the significance of cannons to the battle; the committee heard from the site representatives on the conference call that they were not used during the battle, but the British armaments were captured and used in later battles. Mr. Hoge noted that a crucial element was not being viewed: the American riflemen, whose tactics were key to disabling the enemy. Ms. Wastweet asked if the sword was depicted accurately; the actual sword returned to England, so some of the depictions were from what was seen in the Trumball portrait. Next, she asked if the sword was decorative; as a general, the sword was symbolic of his rank. Mr. Scarinci asked if the sleeves and uniform elements were accurate or based on the Trumball portrait; the depictions of General Horatio Gates were based on a portrait drawn months before the battle, so that is accurate, whereas the depictions of Burgoyne varied between the Trumball portrait and other historic data. The culling of designs resulted in designs 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 moving forward for consideration.
Mr. Olson called out that the claim to fame of this site is the British surrender, which needed to be the focus of this coin. He said he was drawn to design 9 overlooking the Hudson River. Ms. Wastweet felt that the placement of whose hands are on top and bottom are important: the surrendering general is handing the sword down, which seems to be the wrong orientation. She also commented that inscriptions are usually not good, but it is important here. The gestures in design 7 seems right to her, and like Mr. Olson, design 9 could be a scene from the past or the present. Chairman Marks indicated that he wanted to support design 1, but asked if the cannon could be made to stand out more; the Mint officials said they would texture the grass, and concentrate on the details of the cannon, which would fade into the background. He ended with a reference back to the multi-mode texturing that was mentioned for the Blue Ridge Parkway design. Mr. Moran said he would “shy away from cannons”, and would prefer changing ‘surrender’ to ‘triumph’ or ‘victory’ so that the American perspective of the battle would be reflected in the coin. He liked the defeatist pose in designs 7 and 8, the latter he indicated he would support. He also thought design 9 was “beautiful”, but would be surprised if it shows up.
Mr. Jansen felt that the hardware in design 6 was correct, but the hand orientation was wrong. He also called out the fact that the flag in design 10 had only bars, and echoed Mr. Moran’s comment that the word ‘surrender’ has “got to go away”. Ms. Stevens-Sollman felt that this was “extremely difficult”, leaning towards design 9 as “more simple”. Mr. Ross called a cannon “an awful choice: they are everywhere”, and reflected that designs 7 and 8 demonstrated “abject surrender”. Mr. Hoge commented that design 3 with the modifications previously suggested was good, assuming the sword details are ensured to be accurate. Mr. Scarinci echoed Mr. Ross’ comment that there would be other opportunities for cannons, but this was the “only opportunity for surrender”. He thanks the artists for historical accurate drawings, rather than “trace and bake”, and continued the call for alteration to design 3, his being adding ‘British’ to the word surrender.
|Site Name||Design Number:Votes Received|
|Blue Ridge Parkway||
Bold votes counts indicate the committee’s recommendations; DNR indicate designs that were not reviewed.
A number of motions were filed to make changes to the recommended designs. First was the often-mentioned stars on the Homestead design 2, as well as adding “FREE LAND” to be located at the artist’s discretion. The motion passed 8 to 0 with 2 abstentions (Dr. Bugeja had departed the meeting after the primary discussions, but prior to these motions).
Next was a motion to increase the amount of contrast between the bird and the background on the Kisatchie design 7. It passed 9 to 0 with 1 abstention.
For Bombay Hook, there was a flurry of motions. First was to remove the background horizon on design 5: it failed to pass on a 5-5 tie vote. Second was to was to remove the fish from design 1: it also failed to pass on a 3-6 vote with 1 abstention. Third was to remove the horizon line from design 1: this passed on a 6-4 vote, but was reconsidered with a subsequent motion, which failed on a 4-6 vote.
As there was no design that passed the 50% point level for Saratoga, Mr. Ross called for a motion to recommend design 3, which Ms. Stevens-Sollman seconded. Additionally, Mr. Ross called to add ‘British’ to the word ‘Surrender’, which was agreed to by Ms. Stevens-Sollman. The motion carried with a 9-0 vote.
CCAC Design Recommendations for 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters