Designs for three of four themes proposed for the reverse of 2009 Lincoln cents to honor Abraham Lincoln?s life were endorsed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee when it met Sept. 25.
CCAC recommended designs to honor his humble beginnings, formative years in Indiana and professional life in Illinois. It did not endorse a design depicting Lincoln?s presidency.
The four coins to be issued in 2009 celebrate a different aspect of Lincoln?s life and mark the bicentennial of his birth. The CCAC hopes the U.S. Mint designers will go back to the drawing board and present more designs to mark his presidency.
To honor Lincoln?s birth and humble beginnings in Kentucky, CCAC selected two designs of a log cabin symbolizing the place of Lincoln?s birth in 1809 (images 1-02 and 1-05). They differ primarily in the location and size of the date 1809.
Among designs emblematic of his formative years in Indiana, the citizens advisory group preferred views of a young Lincoln taking notes as he reads a book. Of the two designs showing this, the top pick showed a more straight-on view (2-06) rather than a side view (2-07).
To celebrate Lincoln?s professional life in Illinois, CCAC picked a scene of him inside the Illinois legislature holding a paper while standing by a table (3-08), a second choice Lincoln holding a book while speaking (3-06).
CCAC members decided they could recommend none of the designs in the group intended to honor Lincoln?s Presidency in Washington, D.C.
The seven designs proposed for the fourth aspect included four of the Capitol dome under construction, one view of a carriage in front of the Lincoln cottage, one of the Soldiers Home and a view of Lincoln standing in front of the cottage with stovepipe hat and rolled-up document.
CCAC members felt that none of these concepts evoked correct remembrance of President Lincoln during the Civil War years. A key concern was that the public would not generally understand what was meant by an image of the unfinished Capitol. Lincoln had ordered work on the dome continue during the war as a symbol that the Union would be preserved.
Historian and committee member John Alexander said it would be a mistake not to associate Lincoln with the Civil War. One concept mentioned was Lincoln visiting the troops, perhaps showing tents or war-related items.
A different view, voiced by member Rita Laws, was that the focus should be on the Emancipation Proclamation, depicting Lincoln as the Great Emancipator rather than a military commander.
A vote taken on the issue showed an 8-2 preference for a concept evoking Lincoln?s role in the Civil War more overtly.
Less than a week prior, on Sept. 20, the Commission of Fine Arts viewed the same 38 designs and made one recommendation for each of the four cents.
The CFA picked the same design as the CCAC for the first aspect (1-02).
For the second design, CFA preferred an image of two hands holding a document and a quill as the signature ?A. Lincoln? is signed (2-04).
For the third design, emblematic of Lincoln?s professional life, a view of Lincoln outside the Illinois legislature building was recommended (3-02).
One of the views of the unfinished Capitol dome was preferred for the fourth design (4-03).
While there is time for the Mint to submit further designs for review, such is not required.
Yet to be heard from is the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The law authorizing the coin program, Public Law 109-145, requires that the ALBC be consulted regarding the coin designs.
At some point the Mint director will send his final recommendations to the Treasury secretary, who has the final say over the designs.
The obverse of the 2009 cent will be the familiar profile portrait of Lincoln by Victor David Brenner.
Each new design is to be released at the start of the calendar quarter, in amounts considered appropriate by the secretary of the Treasury.
In addition to circulating examples, numismatic examples will be struck to the same relief and in the same alloy used in 1909 for the first Lincoln cents. That alloy was 95 percent copper and 5 percent bronze. Again, the Treasury secretary is to set any mintage limits considered appropriate.
After 2009, the cent reverse is to ?bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln?s preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country,? the law states.
A separate Lincoln commemorative silver dollar, maximum mintage 500,000 pieces, is also authorized for 2009, by Public Law 109-285.