During a meeting held on May 19th, 2014, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed and discussed the reverse design candidates for the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Congressional Gold Medals Program. In attendance were Chairman Gary Marks, Dr Michael Bugeja, Robert Hoge, Erik Jansen, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Thomas Uram, and Heidi Wastweet, as well as members of the U.S. Mint staff and members of the Artistic Infusion Program.
April Stafford of the U.S. Mint read the authorizing legislation, Public Law 112-76, after which there were some general comments made by the committee members. Heidi Wastweet noted the language of the law to honor the fallen heroes, versus the rebuilding, as well as indicating that the three may need to have an underlying connection. Donald Scarinci noted he would vote along with the stakeholders’ wishes, as the process for this particular set of medals has been long and painful as a matter of respect. He also commended the artists on their efforts, calling it “the best group of designs” he has seen in a while. Chairman Marks called this program the most difficult set in his 7 years on the committee. He differentiated between a plaque, which needs words, and a medal, which to him is about the art; it should speak without words telling the observer being told what to think about it. Michael Moran said he hates inscriptions: “picture worth a 1,000 words”; he reiterated his belief that there should be continuity for all three medals, but admitted that all three sites are very different. Thomas Uram called out the future view of this experience, and said he would base his comments and votes along that line of thought.
April Stafford presented the 18 obverse and 13 reverse design candidates for the New York medal. She indicated that obverse designs 6a, 8, 9, 10, and 12 and reverse designs 1, 1a, 12a, and 13 were the liaison preferences, and that obverse design 8 and reverse design 13 were the recommendation of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). Chairman Marks held the customary culling process, resulting in the following designs being eligible for discussion and subsequent voting for recommendation:
Obverse designs: 1, 1a, 4, 5, 6a, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13
Reverse designs: 1, 1a, 3, 12a, 13, 15
Heidi Wastweet called obverse 1 “extremely powerful”, but noted that obverse 6a looked like a “broken” symbol. She said that obverse 8 was a “strong design”, but was not in favor of obverse 13, calling it “sappy”. She indicated she did not prefer reverse 1 or 1a, she called reverse 12a “contemplative, and described the wording on reverse 13 as a “quagmire”.
Michael Bugeja revealed that he grew up in the NY area, and was finding this very difficult personally. He said this medal should represent remembrance and loss: “you do not do this to us”. He said the shoulders in obverse 1a provide a sense of depth, and that obverse 5 was “my landscape”. To him, obverse 6a provided the feeling of “You don’t do that to us”: calling it a powerful image of an eagle. He favored obverse 8, loving the position on the clock, but suggested restructuring the wording, and warned about the personification of eagles in obverse 13. He said he liked the power and stylistic aspects of reverse 1, and despite being text heavy, he liked reverse 13.
Donald Scarinci said obverse 1 “nailed it”, and called obverse 8a “powerful design” to which he would give his full support. He liked the water element in obverse 12, and liked obverse 13, but thought a crying eagle had been used commercially.
Jeanne Stevens-Sollman called obverse 1 the only choice: “liked depiction of towers disintegrating ”. She indicated she found obverse 8a “powerful design”, but she liked obverse 1 better. She found reverse 13 to be “very informative for those you need to have it”, but liked the simplicity of reverse 15, and would be giving it support.
Mary Lannin said that all three reverse should have text and that she was not fan of roses.
Chairman Marks said the position of the ‘2011’ on obverse 8 was confusing, and said of obverse 12 :“don’t need words for that”. He noted that he would likely be ostracized by commenting positively on obverse 13: he said you expect an eagle to be strong, but all of us were stunned. He also noted the reflections in the eagle’s tear. He finished his comments by saying the art on reverse 13 was a miss.
Erik Jansen said he gets crying eagle, but he would not be not supporting the design, and called obverse 1 a “ghostly ghastly image”.
Michael Moran described obverse 1a as the “heart of New York”, and said that Ms. Wastweet and Stevens-Sollman were right: “you need the space”. He added that reverse 1 needs a spear across the design.
Robert Hoge felt strongly about New York designs, and liked the eagle-eyed view of Statue of Liberty in obverse 5, and had “no terrible problem with inscriptions” on the reverse designs.
Thomas Uram noted that obverse 8was the “only design showing a person” per the legislation, and indicated he liked reverse 13.
April Stafford presented the 13 obverse and 11 reverse design candidates for the Virginia/Pentagon medal. She indicated that obverse designs 1a, 2, 3, 5b, 7, 8, and 9 and reverse designs 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9 were the liaison preferences, and that obverse design 9 and reverse resign 8 were the recommendations of the CFA. Chairman Marks held the customary culling process, resulting in the following designs being eligible for discussion and subsequent voting for recommendation:
Obverse designs: 1a, 2, 3, 5b, 7, 8, 9
Reverse designs: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9
Heidi Wastweet said obverse designs 2 and 3 were “lacking human element”, obverse design 5b was showing an eagle not as it is intended, and she indicated obverse 8 “really stood out to me”, calling it “gorgeous”. She commented that she didn’t like reverse design 4 at first, but liked symbolism over time, noting the simple symbol of the Pentagon. She finished by calling out that reverse 7 has the human element.
Dr. Michael Bugeja said he got a feeling of strength from obverse design 1a, calling it an “eagle in response”; he described obverse design 2 as elegant, obverse 3 as beautiful, and noted the numismatic dangers of personifying eagles as in obverse design 5b. Of obverse 8, he indicated that he could “almost see this on a Roman coin”, noting the classic use of Roman numerals. He called reverse design 8 interesting due to the orientation creating depth, and suggested the use of edge lettering on medals (Mint representatives responded that it was being worked on).
Donald Scarinci called these “a toughie”, and indicated he cannot support the CFA’s recommendation; he said he would support reverse design 2, calling it a “decent design”.
Jeanne Stevens-Sollman liked reverse designs 8 and 9, and wanted to see reverse design 9 used as the obverse, calling it “simple and powerful”, but would create the situation of having images of the Pentagon on both sides (Chairman Marks suggested that she make a motion to that effect).
Mary Lannin liked reverse design 8, as well as Ms. Stevens-Sollman’s idea for the obverse.
Chairman Marks noted that obverse design 8 had “minimal text”, and that he was moved by the meaning behind stars. He noted that reverse design 8 did “not many words”, and he would like to remove “Act of Congress”.
Michael Moran said he preferred a Roman eagle.
Robert Hoge noted that obverse design 8 depicted a classical image of prayer, liked it paired with proper text on the reverse. He also liked reverse design 6.
Thomas Uram felt that obverse design 1a was appropriate place for this design, and echoed Ms. Lannin’s comments regarding reverse design 8.
April Stafford presented the 13 obverse and 16 reverse design candidates for the Pennsylvania medal. She indicated that only reverse design 5b and 10 were preferred by the liaison, and the CFA recommended the same designs. Chairman Marks held the customary culling process, resulting in the following designs being eligible for discussion and subsequent voting for recommendation:
Obverse designs: 6, 7
Reverse designs: 5, 5a, 5b, 7, 8, 9, 10
Heidi Wastweet said that obverse designs 6 and 7 were not literal portrayals, and liked reverse design 5 over the preferred design (5b), calling it simplistic due to the words.
Dr. Michael Bugeja noted the depth in reverse design 5, and called out a hint of an outline of eagle.
Donald Scarinci simply said “let no man put asunder” regarding the preferences of the liaison representatives.
Jeanne Stevens-Sollman called reverse designs 5a and 5b “extremely powerful”; she acknowledged Ms. Wastweet’s liking of reverse design 5, but countered that she liked the text, and said she thought reverse design 10 would “make a good medal”.
Mary Lannin liked the text on reverse design 10.
Chairman Marks commented that obverse design 7 was better suited in national art program versus a Congressional Gold Medal, and that reverse design 7 “should not be used here”. Of reverse design 8, he said “art deco all day long”, and noted that reverse design 9 “honors shape of medal”.
Erik Jansen believed double reverse designs could be used for the obverse and reverse.
Michael Moran liked obverse design 7, but foresaw trouble if paired with reverse design 5, have to go with reverse design 5b.
Robert Hoge indicated he had no strong preference for the obverse or reverse designs.
Thomas Uram called obverse design 6 a “great design” and a “bright design”, and while noting that the retro look of reverse design 8 is great, he was going with reverse design 10.
At the conclusion of the committee members’ comments, the stakeholder representative made a comment that reverse design 10 displayed the intended target (Washington D.C.)
The votes for each medal were as follows. The bold design and points indicate the committee’s final recommendation, with underlining used to indicate those designs recommended outside of the standard vote tally.
Obverse designs – 1:20 points, 1a:1 point, 4:0 points, 5:11 points, 6a:5 points, 8:11 points, 9:1 points, 10:0 points, 12:3 points, 13:4 points
Reverse designs – 1:16 points, 1a:9 points, 3:1 point, 12a:1 point, 13:14 points, 15: 4 points (eliminated design 14:3 points)
There were three motions filed. The first was to change the recommendation from obverse design 1 to 1a; it failed to pass on a 2-8 vote. The second was to change the recommendation from reverse design 1 to 13; it passed on a 8-2 vote. The third was to remove the top rose and integral line from reverse design 13; it passed on a 7-2 vote with 1 abstention.
Obverse designs – 1a:8 points, 2:5 points, 3:1 point, 5b:0 points, 7:2 points, 8:17 points, 9:1 point
Reverse designs – 1:0 points, 2:6 points, 4:3 points, 6:6 points, 7:8 points, 8:21 points, 9:12 points
There were two motions filed. The first was to change the number of stars on the reverse design to the appropriate number; it passed on a 9-0 vote with 1 abstention. The second was to add attributes to the woman to make her look more like Liberty or America; it failed to pass on a 4-5 vote with 1 abstention.
Obverse designs – 6:5 points, 7:6 points
Reverse designs – 5:13 points, 5a:14 points, 5b:16 points, 7:4 points, 8:3 points, 9:3 points, 10:21 points
There were two motions filed. The first was to recommended reverse design 5b as the obverse design; it passed on a 10-0 vote. The second was to remove “Act of Congress” from reverse design 10; it passed on a 10-0.