Will Artwork Match Quarter Ambitions?
By Debbie Bradley
do you portray the majesty of our national parks
on a coin the size of a quarter?
It's obviously in the eye of the beholder, and
those judging designs presented for review to
the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee didn't exactly see eye to
The CFA, which met Sept. 17, and the CCAC, which
met Sept. 22, gave their recommendations for
designs of five 2010 coins that are part of the
America the Beautiful quarter series honoring
national parks and other sites.
Designs were reviewed for coins representing Hot
Springs National Park in Arkansas, Yellowstone
National Park in Wyoming, Yosemite National Park
in California, Grand Canyon National park in
Arizona and Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon.
For Hot Springs, the CFA design No. 2, which
depicts the doorway of the park's main building
with a fountain in the foreground, while the
CCAC preferred No. 4, which featured the
fountain. For Yellowstone, the CFA rejected all
designs while the CCAC liked No. 1, favoring it
with 25 out of a possible 27 points in its
voting. The design shows a bison in the
foreground and Old Faithful in the background.
"The CFA felt the quality of the designs
presented were not worthy of the program," CFA
Secretary Tom Luebke said of the reasoning for
rejecting all of the Yellowstone designs.
"They liked the idea of depicting Old Faithful
with an appropriate image, but they weren't
happy with what they saw," he said.
It is a challenge to differentiate one park from
another on the coins, Luebke conceded. The CFA
felt the Mint should focus on whatever iconic
image is associated with the park to set it
apart, he said.
And we aren't talking about a mural. Designers
are challenged with presenting renderings of
trees, rivers, streams and mountains on a small
"They are putting it on about 1 square inch of
space," Luebke noted.
For Yosemite, the CFA liked design No. 4, which
depicted the Half Dome rock formation, but did
ask for fine tuning of the rendering. The CCAC
preferred No. 3, which shows the rock formation
from a different angle.
For the Grand Canyon, the CFA picked No. 1, but
asked that it be reconfigured. The CCAC also
chose No. 1.
"The Grand Canyon is already on the state
quarter so this has to be something different,"
Luebke said. "It's a challenge. Commission
members liked No. 1 because it represented a
deep perspective, but felt it needed
For Mount Hood, the CFA and CCA agreed on design
No. 3. CFA members felt it had the best
composition and simplest design, Luebke said.
As for the basic design template for the
quarters, Luebke said the CFA prefers a complete
circle rather than a flat edge at the bottom of
the design area.
CCAC Chairman Mitch Sanders said his committee
was pleased with the designs for the parks
"There were many positive comments and our
preferred designs were enthusiastically
embraced, as evidenced by the high ratings,"
"My personal belief is that the program lends
itself to excellent numismatic art because each
coin will be dedicated to a single subject or