Dear Mr. Moy:
In its meeting of 15 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed designs for the third set of ten-dollar coins and associated medals in the First Spouse series. The Commission's recommendations were as follows:
The Commission recommended alternative #1 for the obverse, commenting that this design is the strongest rendition of the source portrait. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #2, commenting on its superior composition and its depiction of Mrs. Harrison's commitment to the education of children.
The Commission recommended alternative #4 for the obverse because of its simplicity, and suggested that the depiction of the uppermost portion of the subject's hair be minimized. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #2, as it is a comparatively simple composition showing Mrs. Tyler in front of the family home, "Greenway." The Commission recommended that the relief and details be studied further in order to strengthen the design by emphasizing the contrast between Mrs. Tyler in the foreground and the house in the background while removing extraneous design details such as the trees and cobblestones.
The Commission recommended alternative #1 for the obverse, commenting that this version based on the White House portrait is the most dignified with the least tilting of the subject's head. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #4, commenting that the dancing figures result in a strong composition. The Commission recommended against using the alternatives showing a pen, commenting that the significance of this feature at the scale of a coin or medal would not be comprehensible without consulting a design narrative.
For the obverse, the Commission recommended alternative #3 which has the most pleasant expression and gives the least emphasis to the cap. The Commission recommended alternative #4 for the reverse, depicting a young Mrs. Polk and her sister riding horses, with the suggestion that the relative sizes of the women and overall composition be revised to provide emphasis on Mrs. Polk.
The Commission recommended alternative #1 for the obverse, commenting that it gives Mrs. Taylor the most dignified appearance. For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #1, due to the strength and simplicity of the composition in comparison to the other designs.
As always, the staff is available to assist you in future submissions.
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