Dear Mr. Moy:
In its meeting of 21 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed alternative designs for the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal honoring the four astronauts of two pioneering U.S. space missions. The Commission suggested an overall approach of honoring the astronauts themselves on the obverse and their particular missions on the reverse, with the following recommendations.
For the obverse, the Commission supported alternative #1 for the clear composition of the astronauts reflecting the two distinct missions, and for the near-profile pose of their portraits. The Commission recommended simplification of the design by eliminating the features depicted in the lower part which would be redundant with the recommended reverse, and eliminating the intrusion of the portraits into the area of the outer ring containing the text.
For the reverse, the Commission recommended alternative #2 due to the stylized composition of the various design elements, avoiding the problem of conflicting scales that is more apparent in the other alternatives. The Commission members cautioned against the tendency to create a collage composition and commented that the complex subject matter—including two separate space missions, four astronauts, and the moon as well as the earth—is best handled through simplicity in the medal design.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/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