A poem written by Francis Scott Key, and later turned into the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” commemorates the defense of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 against the British.
Soon, a $5 gold coin and $1 silver coin will do the same.
The Commission of Fine Arts endorsed designs for both coins when it met July 21. It reviewed a total of 33 designs in making its selections.
And overall, “members generally were not pleased with the quality of artwork and composition,” said CFA Secretary Tom Luebke. “It encouraged the Mint to attract some outside artists.”
Its favorite design of the day was obverse No. 1 for the $1 silver coin.
“CFA members commended the high quality of the drawing of the ship,” said CFA Secretary Tom Luebke. It was suggested, however, that the small ship in the background be eliminated and the word “Privateers” be changed to “War at Sea.”
The CFA chose design No. 1, which features an unfurled American flag, for the reverse of the silver coin. It asked that the text be placed around the circumference of the coin, Luebke said.
The treatment of the red and white stripes of the flag as depicted on a silver metal was a concern, Luebke said. And members noted that the placement of the red and white stripes in the design were actually opposite of the placement on the flag of that time.
For the obverse of the $5 gold coin, CFA members chose design No. 8 as the most coherent and balanced composition, Luebke said. It features an image of Fort McHenry in the background, however CFA members suggested there be some text included to identify it as such, Luebke said.
CFA selected design No. 8 for the reverse of the $5 gold coin for its simple abstraction of the flag, Luebke said. Again, members preferred the text be moved to the circumference of the coin, similar to the placement on reverse design No. 7.
In fact, it informed the Mint of its “general preference for standard information to be placed at the outer edge of the coin rather than in the middle and to coordinate the typeface between the obverse and reverse,” Luebke said.
And it reiterated its preference for simplicity in the designs, noting an excessive number of elements one again appearing on the designs presented for consideration, Luebke said.