The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met today in Washington, D.C. to discuss design candidates for two of 2017’s America the Beautiful quarters.
Back in October, the committee met with the intention of making recommendations for all five of 2017’s ATB issues, but they were unable to get behind any single design submitted for either Effigy Mounds National Monument or Ellis Island (Statue of Liberty National Monument). Today’s meeting gave CCAC members the chance to look over new submissions as well as revised versions of older designs, and they were able to come to a decision on which images to put forward.
For Effigy Mounds, the members of the committee repeatedly lamented the difficulty of portraying the animal-shaped burial mounds in a way that would be understandable on a quarter. The design above was the favorite of the park’s representatives and ultimately won out for its realistic depiction of the site and for its clarity of composition.
The Ellis Island designs provoked considerable debate, as they did in October. Committee members remarked that while many of the designs had strengths, few conveyed the overall significance of the site in both its human and spatial dimensions. The above design was chosen for its inclusion of a historical structure as it still appears to visitors, as well as for its relevant theme of parents seeking a better life for their children. The American flag was also cited as a hopeful symbol to many immigrants; this was part of the rationale for adding one to this image, as the artist’s initial submission did not include it.
Committee members often stated their concern that many submissions were too crowded for the face of a quarter. Even beautifully rendered details could be seen as problematic if they were reduced to a muddle on the final reverse. They were aware of the larger canvas provided by the ATB five-ounces coins, however, and occasionally expressed enthusiasm for how well certain designs would translate to those issues. But ultimately the series is meant to focus on circulation quarters, so the smaller dimensions were held to be the highest priority.
Effigy Mounds National Monument is located along the Mississippi River in Harper’s Ferry, Iowa. The Monument preserves a series of more than 200 Native American burial mounds shaped like a variety of animals, including bears and birds. The site was designated a National Monument in 1949.
Ellis Island is located in the Port of New York and New Jersey and was the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station between the years of 1892 and 1954; it served as the gateway to the U.S. for more than 12 million people. Interestingly, a sovereignty dispute between New York and New Jersey led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding that, contrary to long-held belief, the majority of Ellis Island is in New Jersey rather than New York. It was designated a National Monument with the Statue of Liberty in 1966.
The recommended designs for next year’s other ATB quarters, which will feature Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Frederick Douglass National Historical Site, and George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, can be viewed here, while the full batch of design candidates for Effigy Mounds and Ellis island are here.
Portions of this article first appeared at Mint News Blog.