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Boy Scout coin design could be better

When I first saw the cover of the Jan. 5 edition of Numismatic News, I was devastated and then disappointed.

When I first saw the cover of the Jan. 5 edition of Numismatic News, I was devastated and then disappointed. I could not believe the design that was approved for the 2010 Boy Scouts of America commemorative silver dollar.


The short article that went along with the picture stated that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner approved the coin’s designs following a lukewarm response from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and knowing that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee voted for an entirely different design.

If the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts gave it a lukewarm reception and the CCAC gave it a thumbs down, why was it approved? Because someone at BSA National thought it would be a great way to continue the marketing side of the 2010 push to announce the 100th anniversary of scouting in America. (That’s a great idea, but not on the only coin we are going to get for the next 100 years.) They disregarded the fact that a commemorative coin should take into consideration the programs and accomplishments of the past 100 years, not the next 100 years.

In June of 2009 the CCAC held its quarterly meeting at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the first week of the ANA Summer Seminar. The Committee opened its meeting to all of the attendees. During that meeting they reviewed the recommended obverse and reverse designs submitted for the BSA silver dollar. There were 17 obverse designs to go over and six reverse designs.

When asked if anyone had any comments to make, I raised my hand. Having been a scoutmaster for the last 24 years I had plenty of recommendations. I am also on the Florida United Numismatists board of directors, responsible for YN and scouting activities. Others who participated and gave recommendations were Patti Finner from the ANA; George Cuhaj, who has been at the coin collecting merit badge booth for the National BSA Jamboree for the last 20 years, and Jeff Swindling, who is the ANA YN and Scouting Committee Chairman. In addition, two other scout leaders (whose names I do not have) were in the group that was talking with the CCAC.

No one on the CCAC had any Boy Scouting experience and they were excited that we were willing to talk with the committee and share our knowledge and recommendations. We went over all of the recommended designs. It was unanimously agreed by all that the design that Secretary Geithner approved was static and uninspiring. It contains no movement or action. It simply shows three youths in scout uniform standing at attention and saluting. I am not going to throw stones at young women in the scouting venturing program, but I would be willing to say that they make up a very small percentage of scouts overall, and definitely do not represent the 100 years of Boy Scouting.

When the evening was done, all of the scout leaders in attendance and the majority of the CCAC members had chosen another design. I believe it was obverse design No. 6. It shows a scout in a 1910 uniform at the top of a mountain, turning and extending his hand out to a scout in a 2010 uniform. It showed one scout helping another scout, it symbolized the scouts of the 20th century welcoming the scouts of the 21st century. It epitomized what scout leaders have always taught their scouts: to ascend to the top of the mountain, to climb to the top of the trail where eagles soar.

The Boy Scout slogan is, “Do A Good Turn Daily.” It has been for the last 100 years and it will be for the next 100 years. “Continuing The Journey” should be in marketing where it belongs, not on a commemorative dollar. It belongs to the future, it does not commemorate the proud traditions of the past.

In my opinion, BSA and the Treasury secretary made a poor choice considering all the options they had available.

Will I buy the coin when it comes out? Yes, I will. As a scout, and as a leader, I have been associated with the scouting program for almost 50 years. It may not be the design I had chosen, but it represents the Boy Scouts of America. Just wanted to let you know I think it could be better, but I will take what we can get.

Tony Bonaro of Jacksonville, Fla., is an active Florida United Numismatists board member and volunteer who led the Boy Scout program at the January FUN show in Orlando.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.

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