Next year, a new series of circulating commemorative coins will begin, known as America the Beautiful Quarters. During their September 22, 2009 meeting, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed candidate designs provided by the United States Mint for the first five coins of the series. The same design candidates were previously reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).
As part of the design process for America the Beautiful Quarters, the United States Mint generates three to five design concepts for each site. These are prepared based on source materials provided by a federal official who serves as liaison for the national site. Final candidates are presented to the Secretary of the Interior, the chief executive of each host jurisdiction, the CFA, and the CCAC for review and comment. After considering the feedback and recommendations received, the Director of the US Mint makes a recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, who is responsible for making the final design selection.
The CCAC provided the United States Mint with the following recommendations for the upcoming quarters featuring Hot Springs National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Mount Hood National Forest. An image of the recommended design is presented with the Committee’s comments. View images for all America the Beautiful Quarter design candidates.
For the coin portraying Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the Committee strongly recommends design 4, which shows a focused view of the public fountain in front of the site’s headquarters building. Members appreciated the design’s clear imagery, emphasis on water, and incorporation of natural landscape.
For the coin portraying Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the Committee strongly prefers design 1, showing Old Faithful geyser with bison in the foreground and background. Members felt that design 1 would work well on a small coin, and that the depiction of animal life enhanced the design.
For the coin portraying Yosemite National Park in California, the Committee prefers design 3, featuring a view of El Capitan. Members praised the simplicity and ruggedness of the design, and its effective composition.
For the coin portraying Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, the Committee narrowly prefers design 1, featuring a canyon-level view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta, over design 4, which features an aerial view of the canyon. Both were considered to be powerful images, with design 1 preferred for its more immediate, human-scaled view of the canyon.
For the coin portraying Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, the Committee overwhelmingly prefers design 3, featuring a view of Mount Hood with Lost Lake in the foreground. Design 3 was lauded for the artistry of its imagery, and for the absence of design elements that would detract from the view of the mountain.