This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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There were a lot of designs to choose from, but the final selections for the 9/11 commemorative medal by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee were in close alignment with the picks made last month by the Commission of Fine Arts.
“The entire committee acknowledged that this was a tough assignment for the artists,” said CCAC Chairman Gary Marks. “The artists are trying to find symbolic illustrations for a national tragedy and to honor those who sacrificed their lives.”
The CCAC on March 1 endorsed obverse design No. 10, the same design selected by the CFA. It shows Liberty holding the eternal flame as a gesture of remembrance. The CFA asked for the circle around the flame to be removed, but Marks said the CCAC prefers the circle remain in the design.
The design received 18 of 24 points from members. Design No. 1, which depicts oak leaves floating on the surface of a pool that reflects two empty streams of light, received 16 points.
Two similar reverse designs, No. 15 and No. 16, which feature an eagle, waterfall and inscription, garnered much discussion, Marks said.
No. 15 was the committee’s ultimate choice, although initially design No. 16 received more points from CCAC members. CFA endorsed No. 16.
Discussion focused on the text on the two designs. No. 15 features the text “Honor” and “Hope.” No. 16 states, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
In the end, CCAC preferred the design with fewer words.
“We’re in the business of coin and medal designs, and in that arena, it’s all about the art,” Marks said. “It shouldn’t be about text. A successful design should convey its message in its design. If you have to add a lot of text, we’re getting away from what a coin or medal should be. So we went with the simple words, honor and hope.”