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Kennedy dollar portrait unsettling

I’ve noticed some grousing online about the portrait of John F. Kennedy on his 2015 Presidential dollar.

I have to admit I was not thrilled when I first saw it.

It is not a profile. It is not full-facing. It is a three-quarters portrait where he is looking down and to the viewer’s left.

It is jarring.

I did a little more research.

What did I find?

For historical reasons, the portrait is fitting.

The other 2015 Presidential portraits show the holders of our top office looking directly toward the viewer.

If we were doing one of those school-days math questions that asks us which item does not belong in the set, every collector would throw the Kennedy image out of the set of 2015 Presidential coins.

It does not fit. It is different.

But does it belong?

That is the question.

I conclude that it does belong, precisely because it does not fit.

If you look at the gallery of official Presidential portraits you will notice that the Kennedy portrait does not fit there either.

His arms are folded and he is looking down.

It jars.

That is the way Jackie Kennedy wanted it.

He died in office. That is the history. It still jars me almost 52 years later.

The Kennedy portrait on the Presidential dollar is being true to history.

It jars.

When was the last time you felt something so sharply when you looked at a coin design?

Here are two links. Visit them and see what you think.

One goes to the Kennedy Presidential dollar image on the Mint website.

The other goes to the Presidential portrait gallery.

http://www.usmint.gov/downloads/pressroom/2015-Presidential/2015_Presidential-$1_Kennedy_Unc_2000.jpg http://periodicpresidents.com/research/presidents-portrait-gallery/

http://periodicpresidents.com/research/presidents-portrait-gallery/

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

 

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