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Panels evaluate First Spouse art

First Spouse medals and gold coins honoring Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, James Buchanan’s Liberty and Mary Todd Lincoln were recently reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

Both groups preferred obverse design No. 1 for Pierce and reverse No. 5 for Fillmore.

The CFA liked the No. 1 design for Pierce because of its suitability for a coin, said CFA Secretary Tom Luebke.

“The other designs had distracting hairstyles,” Luebke said.

The CCAC was unanimous in its choice of design No. 1, said committee Chairman Mitch Sanders.

As for the reverse for Pierce, the CFA liked No. 4 for its simplicity and strong composition, Luebke said, while the CCAC preferred design No. 3, giving it 21 of 24 points.

For the Fillmore obverse design, the CFA felt No. 4 was the strongest image, Luebke said. The CCAC chose design No. 3, but gave it only 13 out of 24 possible points, Sanders said.

The Buchanan obverse will feature the Liberty design because he did not have a spouse. CFA endorsed design No. 2 depicting him working in a dry goods store as a young man, while the CCAC chose design No. 4 depicting Buchanan as an ambassador in St. Petersburg, Russia.

For the Lincoln obverse, the CFA chose No. 1, a near profile composition; while the CCAC chose No. 5, a more full face portrait.

For the Lincoln reverse, the CFA chose No. 4, which depicts her tending to the wounded in the Civil War, while the CCAC unanimously supported design No. 2, which shows her bringing flowers to the wounded.

The ultimate decision on which designs will appear on the coins and medals rests with the Secretary of the Treasury.

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