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Scout art eyed

Disappointment.

That was the general sentiment of the United States Commission of Fine Arts when it reviewed designs proposed for a new Boy Scouts of America commemorative silver dollar.

“The commission voiced a general disappointment with the quality of the designs, in particular the renderings of the human figures,” said Commission Secretary Thomas Luebke.

The commission met June 18 in Washington, D.C.

There was no clear winner among the 17 designs presented for the obverse, Luebke said.

A minority of the commission members favored designs BSA-O-04 and BSA-O-06.

“BSA-O-04 is clear and straightforward, while BSA-O-06 is more classical using profiles,” Luebke said.

Commission members felt the design concept that contrasted a scout from 100 years ago to one of today was difficult to discern on the scale it would be on the coin, he said.

For the reverse, commission members felt option BSA-R-05 was graphically the strongest. That led to discussion of the treatment of text on coins, Luebke said.

Commission members discouraged the use of text on scrolls noted the importance of appropriate positioning and scale of text on coins.

For instance, the recommended obverse contains the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” coupled with “E Pluribus Unum.”
“One is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America and one is the motto of the United States,” Luebke said. “Should they be placed equally on the coin?”

It’s a subtle issue, but one the commission faces frequently, he said.

There also tends to be a desire to include a lot of information, written and graphic, on a coin, Luebke said.

“It makes for a very thorny compositional problem,” he noted.

The commission did not ask for new designs to be submitted, Luebke said. It just expressed general dissatisfaction with the designs and referred the matter to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of the Treasury on the themes and designs of all coins and medals.

“It was disappointing to see so many designs (17 for the obverse) yet there was no one that was particularly compelling,” Luebke said.

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