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Time for artists to compete

The Mint will hold a competition for artists to design the 2018 commemorative silver dollar honoring the centennial of World War I American Veterans.

Because both of my grandfathers served in France in the First World War, I will probably feel more emotionally attached to the coin that results than I do to others.

This year’s Mark Twain commemoratives, for example, honor a very worthy writer and humorist that I have long read and admired. However, there is no family history to tie me to Twain.

It will be different for this World War I commemorative dollar.

That is why I will be keenly interested to see what the artists come up with.

As you might guess, there could be many artists who would like to design a coin when the contest begins Feb. 29.

The Mint says, “To enter this competition, artists must submit an application through containing the required materials discussed below and on the application form. All interested artists must submit an application and upload three to five representative work samples by April 28, 2016.”

From there the Mint will winnow the field down to 20 artists. The finalists will be paid $1,000.

The Mint describes it this way, “Following a review of Phase One applications, the expert jury will invite a select pool of no more than 20 artists to complete and submit a design and plaster for the World War I Commemorative Coin obverse and reverse.

“Invited artists will be paid a fee of $1000 for this work and will be eligible to receive an additional $10,000 (and have their initials appear on the coin) if the artist’s design is ultimately selected. All Phase Two designs must be accompanied by a completed and signed Rights Transfer Agreement that will be provided by the United States Mint with the invitation."

These artists will be notified by May 31. They will have to make their final submissions by July 31. The winner will be revealed in January 2017.

If Diane Wolf were still alive, the former member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts would probably be pleased.

As she was leading the effort to change the designs on circulating coinage in 1987 she often said that she would like to see an invited and compensated competition among artists to determine designs.

This competition style is close enough to what she envisioned to make me think she would like it.

Is the ultimate prize of $10,000 sufficient recompense for all the work the artist must do?

Probably not, but I will bet the bragging rights the winner will enjoy will make up for it.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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