Dear Mr. Moy:
In its meeting of 15 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed designs for the fifth set of ten-dollar gold coins and associated medals in the First Spouse series. The Commission's recommendations were as follows:
Eliza Johnson. The Commission recommended alternative #2 for the obverse, commenting that the portraits in the other alternatives have an excessively severe appearance. For the reverse, the Commission members supported the composition of alternative #1, with the request that the design be simplified; they also supported the narrative theme of alternative #2, depicting the children's ball at the White House, but recommended further exploration of a design that could satisfactorily depict this theme at a small scale.
Julia Grant. The Commission recommended alternative #2 for the obverse, commenting that this portrait is more flattering and places less emphasis on the hair ornamentation. For the reverse, the Commission members were not satisfied with any of the submitted alternatives and recommended further development and resubmission of alternative #1 or 2. They suggested that #1 could be adjusted to remove the table and straighten Mrs. Grant's pose; the composition of #2 could be adjusted to feature Mrs. Grant alone and to move the horse's nose further from the edge of the coin.
Lucy Hayes. The Commission recommended alternative #2 for the obverse, commenting on the strength of the near-profile pose. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #4 depicting the Easter egg roll, requesting that the image of the White House in the background be rendered in very low relief.
Lucretia Garfield. The Commission recommended alternative #2 for the obverse, commenting that the other alternatives have less pleasing facial expressions and undue emphasis on the hair. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #5 with simplification of the composition by eliminating background elements such as the curtains; the Commission members acknowledged the extensive research involved in developing the details for the alternatives but emphasized the importance of design simplicity at this small scale.
The Commission members reiterated their longstanding preference for the profile view in numismatic portraits; they requested that future submissions for this series—and for other portraiture as well—include at least one profile view among the alternatives presented.
As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Edmund C. Moy, Director
United States Mint
801 9th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20220
cc: Kaarina Budow, U.S. Mint