The Commission of Fine Arts had different ideas for designs of the 2017 and 2018 issues of the Native American $1 coin than did the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
CFA members recommended that the 2017 coin featuring the theme of Sequoyah creating the Cherokee syllabary contain reverse design No. 1.
It cited the clear juxtaposition of the phrase “United States of America” with its translation using the syllabary and the clarity of the portrait of Sequoyah. The CCAC chose a similar design that featured Sequoyah’s full face and includes his name inscribed in English.
For the 2018 Native American $1 coin featuring athlete Jim Thorpe, the CFA endorsed a design that honors his accomplishments in the Olympics and football, while the design preferred by the CCAC focused on his football career.
The CFA also encouraged Mint engravers to modify the design to use the Native American rendering of his name, according to CFA secretary Tom Luebke. He said the CFA also felt that a design focusing on a single portrait of Thorpe would be inappropriate paired with the obverse portrait of Sacagawea resulting in the potential perception of a two-headed coin, Luebke said.
Also reviewed were reverse designs for the five America the Beautiful coins that will be issued in 2017 as quarters and 5-ounce silver bullion coins.
• Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa. Neither the CFA nor CCAC recommended any of the designs, all of which offered aerial views of the huge mounds in the park. The CFA requested a more careful depiction of the mounds to convey their rounded shape, Luebke said.
• Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty National Monument in New Jersey. The CFA recommended design No. 1, which shows an immigrant family approaching Ellis Island with the hospital building they had to pass through in the background. The CCAC asked Mint engravers to revisit the designs submitted.
• Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in District of Columbia. The CFA recommended design No. 4 for its strong depiction of both Douglass and his house, Cedar Hill. Luebke said members felt the dual images retained focus on the historic site and avoided any confusion of a two-headed coin. The CCAC endorsed a design featuring Douglass at the podium.
• Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri. The CFA recommended design No. 4 citing the use of trees to frame the scene of the historic mill and stream. The CCAC preferred a design featuring a turtle and kayaker.
• George Rogers Clark National Historic Site in Indiana. The CFA recommended design No. 5 for its strong composition and portrayal of the harsh weather and conditions endured by Clark and his troops in his 1779 capture of Vincennes during the Revolutionary War, Lubke said. The CCAC preferred a design that showed Clark and his troops forging through flood waters on their way to secure the surrendered Fort Sackville.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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