Reviewing a U.S. Mint mock-up of the design for the 2017 American Eagle palladium bullion coin – what will be the U.S. Mint’s first – was among the highlights of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee meeting held March 21.
The high-relief coin is mandated by law to be produced with Adolph Weinman’s Mercury dime obverse design as its obverse and Weinman’s American Eagle design featured on the 1907 American Institute of Architects gold medal on the reverse.
The coin will be made of one ounce of .9995 fine palladium and carry a denomination of $25. Obverse inscriptions include “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” “2017” and Weinman’s initials. On the reverse is “United States of America,” “$25,” “E Pluribus Unum” and the coin’s weight and fineness.
In reviewing the design, one CCAC member thought it had been overly sharpened, but the majority of the members expressed approval of the design’s execution. The committee voted to accept the designs as presented.
The CCAC was scheduled to review candidate designs for the palladium coin on March 15, but the meeting was rescheduled due to inclement weather in the Washington, D.C. area. The Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the design when it met March 16.
The Mint has not yet announced when the coin will become available to authorized purchasers.
Much of the CCAC’s meeting time was spent reviewing candidate designs for the 2018 World War I Armed Forces silver medals. The five medals will each honor a branch of the United States Armed Forces – the Air Service, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy – and are meant to complement the 2018 WWI American Veterans Centennial silver dollar, whose design has yet to be unveiled.
Before the examination of each design took place, several committee members expressed their overall disapproval of the submitted designs, the designs’ inconsistency as a group and their inability to hold up as a pairing with the silver dollar. Members did come to an agreement that featuring each service branch’s emblem on its respective medal’s reverse would help unify the grouping.
The CCAC also made the general recommendation to the Mint that, at their discretion, the majority of text on the medals’ obverses be moved to the reverses and that extraneous design elements be removed to simplify the designs.
The first branch up for review was the Army. Majority voted for design Obv-04 that portrays a Doughboy soldier with a 48-star flag behind him. Members liked the single focus and human element of the design. Their pick for the reverse is Rev-03. It features the current Army emblem, which was in use during World War I.
For the Navy medal, the favored obverse design is Obv-01. It depicts a four-piper destroyer targeting an enemy submarine by launching depth charges off the stern with an additional depth charge exploding in the background. In the sky, kite balloons patrol for submarines and other dangers. While members liked the action portrayed on the obverse, they suggested simplifying the design and moving text to the reverse so that the scene will translate well on the medal.
The CCAC’s recommended reverse design for the Navy medal is Rev-03, showcasing the World War I era Navy emblem.
The committee selected a design submitted as a reverse design, Rev-06, as its choice for the Air Service obverse design. It portrays a SPAD XIII aircraft, viewed from the top and side. Members liked the precision and power it displays, along with the iconic nature of the plane in air combat.
The top choice for the Air Service reverse is Rev-08, featuring the Military Aviator insignia, to keep with the emblematic theme.
The Battle of Belleau Wood is the subject matter in the CCAC’s pick for the Marine Corps obverse. Design Rev-01 shows the aftermath of the three-month battle. One Marine stands guard as the other kneels to pay respect and honor to the fallen.
It also quotes a report to the American Expeditionary Forces: “Woods Now U.S. Marine Corps Entirely.” Members suggested removing the insignia from the obverse since it will be on the reverse and reducing the text size to allow for enlarging the image.
The favorite for the reverse is Rev-06, which depicts the WWI era version of the Marine Corps eagle, globe and anchor.
The group’s choice for the Coast Guard medal obverse is Obv-04. It features a lifeboat from the cutter Seneca heading out in heavy seas toward the torpedoed steamship, Wellington.
The sailors have sighted the men in the water and are attempting a rescue. The design’s action and movement coupled with the rescue element to differentiate the Coast Guard from the Navy earned this design merit from committee members.
Continuing with the emblem theme, top pick Rev-04 features the era-appropriate Coast Guard emblem.
After CCAC members pointed out and discussed a complete lack of women represented in the candidate designs despite their substantial role in the war effort, a motion was passed to recommend that a sixth medal be added to the group to show both the participation and contribution of women in the war effort, particularly on the home front.
The committee also heard testimony and discussed concepts and themes for the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal.
The medal will honor Filipino soldiers who fought for the U.S. during WWII, soldiers who were promised military benefits that were later denied under the Rescission Act of 1946.
In recognition of the veterans’ commitment and sacrifice, veterans were awarded a monetary settlement in 2009 under the Obama administration.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today
More Collecting Resources
• Subscribe to our monthly Coins magazine - a great resource for any collector!
• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.