Dear Mr. Peterson:
In its meeting of 22 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed alternative designs for the 2015 High Relief 24-Karat Gold $75 coin and the associated silver medal. The Commission provided the following comments and recommendations.
For the obverse, the Commission members expressed overall support for the Mint's direction to artists to develop a modern interpretation of the allegorical figure of Liberty, exploring this theme beyond its classical tradition; they especially supported the ethnic diversity that is apparent in the submitted portraits. However, they noted that some of the submitted alternatives demonstrate a tension between modern design and traditional allegorical elements, such as the clothing and pose of the figures. They also commented that some of the depictions of Liberty appear inappropriately sexualized to the point of being offensive. They recommended alternatives #3 and #11 as the most compelling compositions: they observed that the head-only portrait of obverse #3 largely avoids the question of whether to depict a modern or classical garb and uses a better pose than in the similar alternative #4; and they supported obverse #11 as the best composed of the full-length portraits with the depiction of a torch rather than more militaristic symbols.
For the reverse, the Commission members recommended alternatives #1 and #10. They commented that reverse #1, a preference of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), emphasizes peaceful symbols in contrast to the other CCAC preference for reverse #2. In refining reverse #1, they suggested further consideration of the relative proportions of the eagle and the olive branch in its talons. They commented that reverse #10 is a contemporary composition with a strong depiction of the eagle, particularly its head. They also encouraged further exploration of the oak tree as a symbol of the nation's strength, as shown in several of the alternatives.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Richard A. Peterson, Deputy Director
United States Mint
801 9th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20220