Dear Mr. Ryder:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed an initial presentation of obverse designs for the five-year series of American Eagle platinum coins to be issued for the years 2021 through 2025, based on the theme of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Commission members were pleased to see the coordinated groupings of designs, with each set prepared by a single artist to illustrate a concept for the series. They expressed strong enthusiasm for set #10, which is based on a sequence of depictions spanning the life cycle of an oak tree. They cited the appropriateness of the oak as a metaphor for strength and freedom, as well as praising the beautiful artistry and the sequencing of distant and closer views to illustrate the tree’s features in a narrative progression. They added that the timelessness of this concept will be advantageous compared to a concept that may seem dated by the conclusion of the series in 2025. They discouraged the suggestion by the Mint’s Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) to broaden the concept for set #10 to include other types of trees, commenting that the focus on the oak throughout the series would be simpler and more meaningful. Among the CCAC’s other preferred sets, the Commission members discouraged set #5, depicting the three allegorical Graces, as being poorly depicted. They also commented that set #1, if pursued, should be developed with reconsideration of the design for the first coin, representing the freedom of religion.
For the additional presentation of separate obverse designs for the first issue in the series, the Commission members expressed support for alternatives #14 and 15 as interesting compositions with a focus on hands in prayer. They acknowledged the challenge for the Mint of focusing on the selection of a design for the first coin to be issued in 2021 while also conceptualizing the entire five-year series, and they strongly encouraged the approach to conceive the series with a single artistic theme.
In accordance with the Mint’s planned two-stage submission process for this program, the Commission looks forward to further review as the designs are developed. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
David Ryder, Director
United States Mint
801 9th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20220