During a meeting held on September 22, 2014, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed and discussed the reverse design candidates for the 2016 America the Beautiful Quarters. The five coins will feature Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Fort Moultrie (For Sumter National Memorial) in South Carolina.
In attendance at the meeting were Chairman Gary Marks, Dr. Michael Bugeja, Robert Hoge, Erik Jansen, Mary Lannin, Mike Moran, Donald Scarinci, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Thomas Uram, and Heidi Wastweet, as well as members of the U.S. Mint staff.
When the committee has a large number of designs to discuss, it is common for the chairman to call for a culling of designs so that only those that are of interest to individual members are discussed. The results of this culling were as follows:
- Shawnee National Forest – designs 4 and 7
- Cumberland Gap National Historic Park – designs 2, 3 and 6
- Harpers Ferry National Historic Park: designs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park: designs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9
- Fort Moultrie: designs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Shawnee National Forest Quarter
Michael Moran found design 7 to be a clear image and noted the “good use of negative space”. While he also liked design 4, he believed the hawk “will likely not show up on the quarter”. Thomas Uram agreed with Mr. Moran regarding design 7, calling it a “great design”. Jeanne Stevens-Sollman noted the telescoping of the head in design 4. Heidi Wastweet indicated she favored design 4 over 7, as the latter would be “more recognizable” on the quarter planchet. Chairman Marks expanded on Ms. Wastweet’s comment, noting that design 4 would have more impact. Erik Jansen also saw the decision as being between designs 4 and 7. Mary Lannin liked design 4 as well, noting the size of the trees juxtaposed with the rock. Dr. Bugeja noted that the America the Beautiful series was inspired by the 50 States Quarter series, which had lots of source material; the current series, in contrast, was limited, in his opinion, to “landscapes, flora, fauna, and history”; he felt that design 4 was the “only one left”, with its landmark and red-tail hawk, but still saw it as a postcard. Donald Scarinci said design 4 would “make the better coin”, and Dr. Viola said he was “happy” with that design.
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park Quarter
Mr. Moran called out design 6, stating that “every Kentuckian needs to have a 10-point buck in his pocket”. Mr. Uram was undecided between designs 2 and 6, but liked the former. Ms. Stevens-Sollman said she liked the concept of design 3, and found muscular issues with the legs of the deer in design 6, but liked the depiction of the river and gap. Ms. Wastweet called design 1 “too simplistic”, design 3 “too complex”, and noted the difficulties to sculpt the muzzle of a forward-looking animal. Chairman Marks supported the liaison choice of design 2, possibly with a slightly-lower horizon, and noted its great negative space, but added his comments to the challenges of the anatomy of a deer; he did note that the antlers will be the best-presented feature. Mr. Jansen declared design 6 out, noting that “every sculptor called out a problem”, as well as calling design 3 a “picture on metal”, leaving him with design 2. Ms. Lannin wanted to see some separation between the left shoulder and the background on design 2. Dr. Bugeja saw design 2 as the “hands-on” favorite, and was concerned that the deer was taking a prominent position over the landscape that depicted the park. Mr. Hoge noted that the man did not have enough equipment to be actually shooting the gun in design 2, and agreed with Dr. Bugeja that the deer overpowered design 6. Mr. Scarinci called design 6 a “classic deer in the headlights”, and not an option; he also indicated unawareness of people being used as primary elements in this series: design 2 gave him troubles for that reason. Dr. Viola said he was happy with design 2.
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park Quarter
Mr. Moran noted that design 3 was “easily recognizable”, and design 6 would be a “jumbled-up mess on the quarter”. Mr. Uram called the fort image iconic, but noted that water in designs 1 and 2 was an important feature. Ms. Stevens-Sollman was hesitant to recommend design 3, and said design 4 was important to the park. Ms. Wastweet commented that designs 1 and 2 looked like the person was drowning, said design 7 “would make a nice-looking coin”, and design 6 would be better for a postcard. Chairman Marks said he wanted to like design 1, but Ms. Wastweet’s drowning comment ruined it for him; the water seemed too 1970’s era to him. He said he would go with design 7, calling it an “interesting building”. Mr. Jansen also said his preferences were “wrecked” by the drowning comment, and would vote for design 7. Ms. Lannin liked the cleanness of design 3, and saw the Jefferson Rock as messy. Dr. Bugeja noted the “strange iconography” in designs 1 and 2, “saying so many different things”. Mr. Hoge found the “giant hand” holding the 1855 harpers ferry rifle “amusing”. Mr. Scarinci called out designs 4 and 7 as possibilities, and was inclined to go with the former, but design 6 was not an option. Dr. Viola called design 7 a “very good icon”.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park Quarter
Mr. Moran said the selected design needed to include the Little Missouri River, and noted that sand hill cranes were not well connected to the park. Mr. Uram commented that design 1 depicted President Roosevelt with a “much more youthful, outward-looking appearance”. Ms. Stevens-Sollman noted that design 1 was her preference, but called attention to the knee of the horse not being correct. Ms Wastweet also liked design 1, but found a problem with the cutting off of President Roosevelt’s head. Chairman Marks had been to this park, which left him with impressions of rolling hills and lots of bison, but the images of President Roosevelt were awkward. Mr. Jansen called design 1 a good choice, but questioned “why do we have him scalped?” Ms. Lannin liked design 3, but noted that it isn’t “Theodore Roosevelt and Horse National Park”. Dr Bugeja said designs 1 and 2 were “fine”, and commented that it appears the President is saluting in design 3. Mr. Hoge liked design 1, but called into question the handedness of the President and the source material, as the reins were being held in the right hand instead of the left. Mr. Scarinci proclaimed that if the America the Beautiful series would have one human figure, it should be President Roosevelt; he also needed to see the S-shaped river, but did not need to see the horse. Dr. Viola said design 1 “says it all”.
Fort Moultrie Quarter
Mr. Moran called design 1 a winner, but said he could be convinced on design 4. Mr. Uram liked the flag and soldier in design 5, but called design 1 “tough to interpret”. Ms. Stevens-Sollman noted that the flag in design 5 “seems quite intact”, and asked “shouldn’t it be more ragged as it was in battle?” Ms. Wastweet noted that the upward angle of design 5 made the head too small, the flag in design 6 looked like it had “been through hell”, and that design 7 “misses on every note”. Chairman Marks liked design 1 at first, but could see how the average American would have difficulty interpreting it. He also liked the cannon in design 4, but thought the explosions in design 5 “might be confusing”. Mr. Jansen commented that adding a stalk on the foliage in design 1 “improves the imagery”, and called the forward tree in design 4 “backfire from the cannon”. Ms. Lannin really liked design 1, but wanted to remove the word “LIBERTY”, and felt that design 7 had “too much stuff going on”. Dr. Bugeja indicated he wanted to select a design without the word “LIBERTY”, as it was a repeated element between obverse and reverse, and the movement, wind, musculature, and negative space in design 6 “captured his attention”. Mr. Hoge called the cannon in design 4 was an “enormous distortion”. Mr. Scarinci called this site the “most difficult to date”, but said he was a sucker for the simplicity of design 1. Dr. Viola was in favor of design 6.
With a full committee, the maximum value any design could receive is 33 points; it takes 17 points to receive the committee’s recommendation.
Shawnee National Forest – 4-31 points, 6-0 points, 7-8 points
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park – 2-26 points, 3-4 points, 6-4 points
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park – 1-1 point, 2-1 point, 3-10 points, 4-6 points, 6-1 points, 7-27 points
Theodore Roosevelt National Park – 1-22 points, 2-5 points, 3-16 points, 4-0 points, 9-1 point
There was one motion by Heidi Wastweet to adjust the head away from the rim at the discretion of the art department: it passed on a 11-0 unanimous vote.