The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met on June 26, 2012, to review and consider candidate designs for the 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Program. In attendance were Chairman Gary Marks, Dr. Michael Bugeja, Robert Hoge, Erik Jansen, Mike Moran, Michael Olson, Michael A. Ross, Donald Scarinci, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, and Heidi Wastweet.
Per the text of the ‘5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Act’, the Mint is tasked with creating coins in recognition of five United States Army 5-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold, and Omar Bradley. All five are alumni of the United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The program will include three coins, a $5 gold coin, a $1 silver coin, and a 50-cent clad coin, with surcharges from the sale of coins to be distributed to the Command and General Staff College Foundation to help finance its support of the Command and General Staff College.
Ron Harrigan of the United States Mint read through the descriptions of each of the obverse and reverse designs for the gold, silver, and clad coins, and informed the committee of the recommendations of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), who already reviewed the designs, as well as the preferences of the CGSC:
|Design||CFA Recommendation||CGSC Preference|
|Gold $5 obverse||design 2||design 4|
|Gold $5 reverse||design 2 (spell out $5)||design 2|
|Silver $1 obverse||design 8||design 6|
|Silver $1 reverse||design 2||design 2|
|Clad 50-cent obverse||design 6||design 6|
|Clad 50-cent reverse||design 3||design 3|
Chairman Marks then proceeded to the next phase of the committee’s standard procedure: ask for a vote to consider for each of the design sets, to reduce the number and speed up the discussion. Gold obverse designs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 made it to the next stage, as did silver obverse designs 4, 5, and 6 and clad obverse designs 1, 3, and 6.
Next, the chairman directed the other committee members to copies of the authorizing legislation for the program. He proceeded to read one particular passage, in which the sale of the coins is intended to support the CGSC, and not as coins to commemorate the generals in and of themselves. He argued that in the spirit of the stated purpose of the legislation, the committee should select reverse designs that are emblematic of the college, rather than of the specific general or generals depicted on the obverse. However, only the reverse design candidates prepared for the clad half dollar paid tribute to the college. He made an official motion to consider only the half dollar reverses for all three coins. The motion was opposed by Heidi Wastweet due to the stated preferences of the CFA and CGSC. Erik Jansen added that this situation could have been avoided had the committee been engaged in the design process sooner; Chairman Marks replied that the recently published blueprint on coin design excellence addressed that situation. The motion carried 7 to 3.
With its modified paradigm, the committee started its design discussions, starting with Chairman Marks. He stated simply that these are military men, and should be depicted as such, and to him, that meant headgear. Regarding the reverse designs, he indicated his preference that a lamp, a crest, and an eagle be selected for the different denominations.
Michael Olson followed the chairman, and echoed the sentiment that preserving a military appearance was important. He expressed interest in maintaining an equal presentation where pairs are depicted together, rather than having one in front of the other, as well as including Fort Leavenworth on at least one of the coins.
Jeanne Stevens-Sollman was next, and continued the comments that the generals need to appear to be military men.
Dr. Michael Bugeja had some specific comments on the designs, such as replacing the larger Latin phrase for the college with the words “Fort Leavenworth” on reverse design 1, as well as a note of caution of repeating groupings of 5 stars on both the obverse and reverse designs of any single coin.
Michael Ross said he regretted not seeing the emblematic corncob pipe in the MacArthur depiction. He also mentioned that show Eisenhower with headgear separated his military career from his later work, including his Presidency.
Robert Hoge asked if the concept of depicting all 5 generals on a single coin was considered; Ron Harrigal replied that the Mint was given the task of depicting 5 generals on 3 coins, and that a 1-2-2 division seemed natural. Mr. Hoge compared the MacArthur depictions to those of Latin American dictators, and also questioned the targeting Asian markets with the gold coin depicting that general, whose service was most notable in the Pacific theatre. On the reverses, he wanted to avoid designs that were “too busy”, but also “too flat”, and said that a connection to Fort Leavenworth was important.
Donald Scarinci was next, who started out by indicating he “liked everything Bob said.” He stated that these designs “send a message to the world” about us, and that “the image we are portraying may not match the image Americans perceive of themselves.” He then announced that he would abstain from voting for any designs, that “no improvements can be made,” calling the designs “pictures of people copied onto metal.”
Heidi Wastweet followed, and said she agreed “with some, but not all” of the points Mr. Scarinci made. She said that MacArthur obverse design 3 would be recognizable, but design 2 would not without the name attached. His sunglasses “convey an attitude of non-approachability,” and that a textured treatment on them would “get in the way.” Of the silver obverses, she said that design 7 made Eisenhower look “like a bulldog”, and that the depiction of Marshall on design 5 was “not good.” She compared the stripes on obverse 6 to the 9/11 commemorative. Concluding her comments, she said that she “did not like any” of the clad obverse designs: the third looked like “floating heads”, and the sixth had “no sense of uniform” and “de-emphasized the military”. For the reverse designs, she felt that design 3 had a lot of text, but that it “serves a purpose” and was important. She favored design 2, as it had incorporated “Fort Leavenworth”, but that none of the designs referenced the anniversary of the CGSC. Design 6, in her opinion, had “everything except the kitchen sink”, and that the lamp would not be visible. The inclusion of a sword and arrows balanced the olive branch to depict war and peace.
Erik Jansen started his comments by saying he felt like they were “scraping stuff together to get the job done”, and also compared the design review to “finishing the job of making sausage”. He said he preferred reverse design 3 for the gold coin, design 2 for the clad half, and design 6 for the silver dollar. He also raised an issue with the number of stars for the MacArthur gold coin, noted the absence of the corncob pipe, and agreed that the lettering was too small. He did say he preferred obverse 5, as it was the iconic image of MacArthur, but added that the “A” and “C” in his name should be lowercase letters. For the silver, he liked obverse designs 4 and 6, liked the stripes, but that Marshall “looks grumpy”, and that the separated grouping of the 5 stars was “distracting”. Of the clad designs, he said that design 3 made them look “like bus drivers” instead of generals, and asked about incusing the stars. Lastly, he expressed sadness that the committee “did not have more input into the specifications going to the artists”.
Mike Moran completed the committee’s comments by stating that obverse 3 for the gold coin was “weighted down with a lot of symbolism”, but did ask that his name be enlarged. He liked the fourth silver obverse design, but that the pentagon in the center of the 5 stars was an issue for him. He concluded his comments on the clad obverses by saying he “can’t like any of them”. For the reverses, he felt that design 3 was “too much, too much, too much”, and that the coat of arms would look best on the clad half dollar.
The votes for the designs were as follows. For the gold coin, obverse design 3 received 18 out of the possible 30 points, and received the committee’s recommendation; reverse design 4 received the most points at 10, but did not attain recommendation status until a motion to do so was called for, and carried 7 votes to 1, with 2 abstentions.
For the silver coin, obverse design 6 also received 18 points, along with reverse design 6; both were given recommendation status.
Neither of the highest voted-for designs for the clad half surpassed the 50% mark: obverse #6 was given 10 points, and reverse #7 received 15, one point short. Motions were called for to give both designs recommendation status, but only the reverse was so designated. The obverse design will be put to the Secretary of the Treasury as the design with the highest point value, but without a recommendation from the committee. There was an expression of great interest to be “assertive” in the committee’s recommendations regarding the reverse designs, as they had went against what the Mint had produced for the gold and silver reverses, contrary to both the CFA and the CGSC.
All of the design candidates provided by the United States Mint for each of the three coins are included below. Click any image for a larger version.
$5 Gold Coin Obverse Design Candidates
$5 Gold Coin Reverse Design Candidates
Silver Dollar Obverse Design Candidates
Silver Dollar Reverse Design Candidates
Half Dollar Obverse Design Candidates
Half Dollar Reverse Design Candidates