How do you portray the grandeur of a national park on a 1-inch coin?
The challenge once again faced the members of the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee as they met separately in September to select designs for five 2016 American the Beautiful quarters.
“This is a program we have found challenging,” said CCAC Chairman Gary Marks. “We have beautiful parks in our country, but the issue is how to portray them on a coin.”
The parks and landmarks to be featured on coins in 2016 are Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and Fort Moultrie in South Carolina.
“A broad panorama with a stunning view doesn’t portray well when put on this small quarter that has no color,” Marks said. “I want to make sure folks representing these national places understand that this committee is trying to pick the best possible design to represent your beautiful park.”
Throughout the deliberations, CCAC members discussed the historical accuracy of clothing, readability of lettering and the juxtaposition of design elements.
Camel Rock is an iconic rock formation at Shawnee National Forest. Both groups chose a design featuring the rock. The CFA chose design No. 7, which was preferred by the park liaison, while the CCAC chose design No. 4.
Pioneers used Cumberland Gap on their journey into eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. The CCAC chose design No. 2, which features a frontiersman gazing across the mountains to the west and the inscription “First Doorway to the West.” It was the design preferred by the park. The CFA chose design No. 6, which depicts a deer in the foreground with the gap behind it.
An overview of Harpers Ferry featuring its historic iron bridge over the Potomac River, steep cliffs and town center was the CFA’s choice in selecting design No. 6. The CCAC chose a historic design featuring John Brown’s Fort.
And when it came to choosing a design for the coin honoring Theodore Roosevelt National Park, both groups were drawn to an image of the man on his horse with the badlands near the Little Missouri River in the background.
CCAC members asked that Roosevelt’s head, which is partially obscured, be moved away from the rim.
The 2nd South Carolina Regiment garrisoned Fort Moultrie in its 1776 victory over the British. Both designs chosen show Sergeant Jasper clasping the regimental flag, with the CFA preferring design No. 5 and the CCAC choosing design No. 6.
The recommendations will be forwarded to the U.S. Mint and U.S. Treasury Secretary.
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