CCAC Reviews 2015 and 2016 Presidential Dollar Designs

During a meeting held on March 10th, 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 and 2016 Presidential Dollars, which feature Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. In attendance were Chairman Gary Marks, Dr. Michael Bugeja (on teleconference), Robert Hoge, Erik Jansen, Michael Olson, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Thomas Uram, and Heidi Wastweet, as well as members of the U.S. Mint staff.

After the authorizing law for the dollar (Public Law 109-145) was read by April Stafford from the Mint, Chairman Marks held a culling of the designs, after which the following designs remained for consideration: Truman: design 1; Eisenhower: designs 1, 2, 3; Kennedy: designs 1, 2, 4; Johnson: designs 1, 3, 4; Nixon: designs 1, 2; Ford: designs 1, 2, 4.

The following are the committee members’ comments for each design candidate discussed:

Harry S. Truman


Design 1

Mr. Uram thought this design depicted an “accurate, correct visual” of the President. Mr. Hoge said he was for this design, but called out the rest as “pictures of different people.” Mr. Jansen called this design’s recommendation a “fait accompli.” Chairman Marks asked the members to give this design maximum points to go forward “with the strongest possible recommendation,” as it is the only design of the set being considered.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


Design 1

Mr. Olson said that while looking serious is important, he thought that this design “looks angry.”


Design 2

Mr. Olson expressed his belief that this design “looked the closest to what President Eisenhower looked like,” and would get his sole support. Mr. Uram said he liked this design a little bit more than design 3, thinking that the smile’s depiction is better. Dr. Begeja found this design “fetching.” Mr. Hoge indicated this design looked the most as he recalled him in images. Ms. Stevens-Sollman continued her colleagues’ comments that this design looked the most like the President, but was concerned with the circle around his left eye. Chairman Marks found this design and design 3 to be “good representations” of the President, and make a specific comment that he had seen photographs that lend credence to the circle around the eye. Ms. Wastweet indicated she aligns her preferences as if she “would be the sculptor,” and in so doing favored this design, liking the gentle treatment of the lines in the neck, and would be supporting it.


Design 3

Mr. Olson thought the mouth in this design was not consistent with pictures he had seen. Ms. Stevens-Sollman saw this design as being drawn younger than design 2. Mr. Jansen said that the difference between this design and design 2 “are almost in the sculpt,” and was going to give both strong endorsement.

John F. Kennedy


Design 1

Mr. Olson thought this design was “a nice picture,” but it does not look at the viewer of the coin. Mr. Uram found this design a little unusual, as to him it brought forth memories of the crises that were faced during this President’s administration. Dr. Bugeja saw this as a “contemplative” image, and called it out as distinguishing “art from drawing.” Mr. Hoge called out the shading of the hair in this design as “impossible to represent on a coin,” as well as the downward gaze. Ms. Stevens-Sollman found this design to be her preference, but called out his missing right lapel. Mr. Jansen saw an acknowledgement of the President’s assassination in this design’s downward gaze. Chairman Marks noted lots of good comments on this design, but was interested to hear from Ms. Wastweet regarding the part in the President’s hair, and loved Mr. Jansen’s comment regarding the assassination, but noted the conflict between this design’s gaze and the optimistic viewpoint the President held. Ms. Wastweet did not like this design at first, but had changed her mind as more time passed. She was not troubled by the absent lapel, calling it an “artistic little abstract shape.” She commented that she saw no trouble with the hair, a sentiment echoed by Don Everhart from the Mint. Mr. Olson followed his fellow members’ comments with a reminder of all the things President Kennedy did, and asked that he not be memorialized in this way. Dr. Bugeja noted this image matches the official White House portrait, and suggested the committee may ask for more designs.


Design 2

Mr. Uram noted this design, with its gaze “looking forward and ahead” to a bright future. Ms. Stevens-Sollman found this design “a little too chunky in the jaw,” and didn’t look as youthful as she remembered. Mr. Jansen indicated he would give weaker support for this design, as a backup to design 1. Chairman Marks also noted the chunkiness in this design. Ms. Wastweet noted the detail under the chin “would not translate well.”


Design 4

Mr. Olson said he would favor this design, but thought it looked like his brother Robert, a sentiment echoed by Ms. Stevens-Sollman, and Mr. Jansen.

Lyndon B. Johnson


Design 1

Mr. Olson said that this design, as the President is looking away, does not convey a powerful image. Dr. Bugeja noted this design captured the President’s “political face.” Ms. Stevens-Sollman noted the missing right lapel in this design, and did not favor the “wistful look” that this design portrays. Mr. Jansen called this design “weak.” Ms. Wastweet would steer away from this design, calling it “cartoonish.”


Design 3

Mr. Olson thought this design was the most flattering, and looked the most like the President, matching his mental picture. Mr. Uram indicated this design matched his memory of the President. Mr. Hoge said he would go with this design “because he is looking straight at you.” Chairman Marks said he would support both this design and design 4, calling both “good likenesses” of the President. Ms. Wastweet said she would “lean towards” this design due to the gaze.


Design 4

Mr. Olson wondered what the President was looking up at in this design, and questioned why we would have our commander-in-chief looking in this manner. Mr. Uram called out that a number of portraits of the President match this design, noting its “straight-forward, persuading looking view.” Ms. Stevens-Sollman said this design presents the President as “fierce” and “a leader.” Mr. Jansen was reminded of the President being “a fierce politician” from this design, but also noted that design 3 “was not far off.”

Richard Nixon


Design 1

Ms. Stevens-Sollman asked why the “M.” was absent from the designs, where the other Presidents had middle initials; the Mint staff answered that the naming convention was likely established at the beginning of the series, probably from the White House Historical Society. She said that “having a profile is better than having a full face,” but neither, in her opinion, were a good representation. Mr. Jansen said he would “give the [Commission of Fine Arts] a side portrait.” Chairman Marks summed up his viewpoint on this design set: “it’s all about the nose”; he called this design is “quintessentially Nixon.” Ms. Wastweet was going to support design 2, but Chairman Marks’ comments swayed her to support this design.


Design 2

Mr. Olson indicated he thought this design “looked the closest.” Mr. Uram found this design accurate. Dr. Bugeja said this design was “the Nixon I remember.” Mr. Hoge noted this design reminded him of Nixon’s “I am not a crook” statement. Chairman Marks noted this is “a great image.” Dr. Bugeja noted that his inaugural medal read “Richard Milhous Nixon.”

Gerald Ford


Design 1

Mr. Olson called this design out as another where the President was not looking straight out, and said he “would have a hard time” supporting it. Mr. Uram found a similarity between this design and the inaugural medal, and said he would not support it for that reason. Dr. Bugeja said he had interviewed the President for United Press International, and this design matched his memory “vividly,” a recounting that led Ms. Wastweet to support it as well.


Design 2

Mr. Uram found this design as the most positive image. Mr. Hoge indicated that “if we want a jolly-looking President”, the committee should go with this design. Ms. Stevens-Sollman and Mr. Jansen both commented that Ms. Wastweet would say something about the exposed teeth in this design. Chairman Marks stole a bit of Ms. Wastweet’s thunder in noting “teeth bad, teeth bad.” Ms. Wastweet simply said “you know me so well,” and reserved comment as the previous members had already said what needed to be said regarding this design.


Design 4

Mr. Olson said this design “most closely resembled” his memories of the President, and would be getting his sole support. Mr. Uram said this was a “more stern look” than design 2, and less of what the President wanted to portray. Ms. Stevens-Sollman said this design looked the most like the President. Chairman Marks indicated he would support this design.


Truman 1: 24 points 2: 0 points 3: 0 points 4: 0 points
Eisenhower 1: 0 points 2: 21 points 3: 7 points 4: 0 points
Kennedy 1: 16 points 2: 6 points 3: 2 points 4: 1 point 5: 1 point
Johnson 1: 2 points 2: 0 points 3: 17 points 4: 15 points 5: 0 points 6: 0 points
Nixon 1: 14 points 2: 14 points 3: 0 points 4: 0 points
Ford 1: 9 points 2: 3 points 3: points 4: 10 points


Due to the tie for the Nixon, a motion was called to recommend design 1; the motion carried 6 to 1 (Dr. Bugeja departed the tele-conference). For the Ford designs, a motion was called to recommend design 4; the motion carried 6 to 0 with 1 abstention.

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