Design submissions for the five 2019 America the Beautiful quarters and final designs for the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal vied for members’ votes during the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee’s Sept. 19 meeting.
The committee, whose responsibility is to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on themes and designs pertaining to U.S. coinage, convened at Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Reverse designs up for consideration in the 2019 America the Beautiful lineup honor the following national sites: Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts, American Memorial Park in the Northern Mariana Islands, War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Guam, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
When considering submissions for the Lowell National Historical Park design, committee members were guided by criteria set forth as important by the site’s liaison: that the design incorporates the human element, particularly the female “mill girls” in the workforce; innovations in technology by way of the textile machinery; and the mill environment and building preservation.
Designs 10, 11 and 12 emerged as favorites. The design set depicts a mill girl spinning thread that is stylized to look like water, indicating the importance of the canal system in powering the mills throughout the factories of Lowell. A water wheel is placed in various positions among the three designs.
After discussing where the wheel worked best in the design, members agreed on Design 10 as its recommendation with the suggestion that the buckets on the wheel be angled in the opposite direction for accuracy.
The favored design for American Memorial Park was Design 01, which features a Chamorro boy saluting the American flag while on the shoulder of a soldier at the Memorial Court of Honor and Flag Circle. The memorial honors those who lost their lives in the Marianas Campaign during World War II.
The committee voted to request that the Mint artists provide them with a variation of the design for review and approval at its next meeting. Members suggested that the two figures be enlarged, the flags be pushed into the background and that an alternative abbreviation of “Nor. Mariana Isl” be considered.
Much of the CCAC’s discussion of the War in the Pacific designs centered on whether a battle scene, a nature scene or a combination of the two was the most appropriate way to commemorate the Guam historical site.
The committee narrowed it down to Design 03, portraying American Forces coming ashore at Asan Bay in the fight for the island of Guam and its eventual liberation, and Design 06, featuring an endangered Green Sea Turtle and coral reef transforming artifacts of the Marianas Campaign for its own use. In the end, Design 03 garnered the most votes and the CCAC’s endorsement.
The four-quadrant design echoing the Spanish Colonial 8-reales coin of Design 03B was the committee’s clear choice for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Symbols of the mission include arches and bell tower, Heraldic Lion, wheat and the San Antonio River.
Members preferred the way the cross is pulled away from the edges of the design as opposed to running to the edge in Designs 03 and 03A.
Another design that rose above the rest was Design 05A for the River of No Return Wilderness. Members commended the design for its unique perspective of looking out and up into the night sky as a way of portraying the vastness and remoteness of the wilderness.
They did make the recommendation, however, that the neck and body of the wolf be re-worked to look more anatomically correct.
The committee noted that, due to character limitations on the template, the site liaison requested that “River of No Return” go on the template and that the word “Wilderness” be included on at least one of the designs submitted.
New and revised designs for the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal were brought back to the committee for final review and recommendation.
The OSS liaison’s preferred obverse design is O-01. It features the inscription “OSS” revealing three figures – a woman, a paratrooper and a man in a suit. The silhouette style suggests anonymity, hinting at the way OSS agents sought to operate “in the shadows.” Dates 1942-1945 mark the years during which the OSS operated.
The liaison’s preferred reverse design is R-03, which displays the OSS Spearhead inscribed with code words related to important OSS missions and agents.
After hearing the liaison’s explanation of the code words, the committee felt the design was powerful and intriguing enough to lead people to buy it and learn more about the OSS.
The CCAC backed both design recommendations with the suggestion that the artist make it clearer that the “O” on the obverse is in fact an “O” and not a “D.”
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today
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