Dear Mr. Ryder:
In its meeting of 18 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed alternative reverse designs for the first four non-circulating one-dollar coins in the American Innovation series, to be paired with the common obverse that was reviewed in September 2018 in conjunction with the initial coin in the series. The Commission was pleased to take into consideration the preferences of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the governor’s office for each state, and provided the following recommendations and comments:
Delaware. Consistent with the preferences of the CCAC and the governor’s office, the Commission members recommended alternative #5, depicting a profile of astronomer Annie Jump Cannon; they described the composition as abstract and elegant. They expressed concern that the profile may be difficult to discern in contrast to the coin’s background of the night sky, and they therefore requested that the depth and detailing be carefully sculpted to ensure that Cannon’s profile portrait is clear.
Pennsylvania. Consistent with the preferences of the CCAC and the governor’s office, the Commission members recommended alternative #11, depicting a microscope and geometric forms related to the development of a polio vaccine, as the best design.
New Jersey. Consistent with the preferences of the governor’s office, the Commission members recommended either alternative #7 or #9. For alternative #7, depicting an early Edison light bulb, they suggested removing some or all of the surrounding filigree to allow the light bulb to be clearly legible as the central focus of the design. They cited alternative #9, a stylized depiction of a motion picture projector, as a strong graphic composition.
Georgia. Raising concern with the proposed theme of the Trustees’ Garden in Savannah, the Commission members did not recommend any of the submitted alternatives. They observed that the design alternatives for the Trustees’ Garden depict agricultural produce, and they questioned the appropriateness of an agricultural theme for this coin that does not recognize the historic plantation system supported by enslaved labor. They also suggested that a more appropriate theme could be the plan of Savannah itself, which is of special significance in the history of American urban design. They emphasized that their comments address the theme rather than the compositional quality of the submitted designs; they acknowledged the artistry of alternative #2, consistent with the CCAC preference.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
David Ryder, Director
United States Mint
801 9th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20220