Design reviews and recommendations are in for the 2015 High Relief Gold Coin and 2015 High Relief Silver Medal, one-year issues planned by the United States Mint based on the success of the 2009 $20 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle.
Last week the United States Mint published design candidates for the two high reliefs (see the gold coin designs or the silver medal designs). Both collectibles will share the same basic designs, with the Treasury Secretary ultimately responsible for selecting them. Those of the silver medal will vary mainly by their lack of coin-required inscriptions.
All the Lady Liberty and American Eagle candidates were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on Thursday, Jan. 22, and then by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Apparently finding it hard to decide, the CFA endorsed two possible designs for both obverses and reverses. The CCAC stayed true to the task and recommended one for each side, even as committee members voiced many favorable opinions for other designs.
Before jumping into the design recommendations that will get sent up to the Treasury Secretary, the CCAC also unanimously passed a series of six major motions. These basically equate to strong suggestions for how the U.S. Mint should produce the two collectibles. In summary, the six motions:
For the silver medal to maximize its "eyeglass" appeal, stick to the same 40.6 millimeter planchet that is used to strike American Silver Eagles.
Maximize the relief of the silver medal to the fullest extent possible, making it deeper than the obverse of the proof American Silver Eagle.
Use an inscription of "One Union" followed by "$100" for the gold coin’s denomination.
Include mint marks on the silver medals with the possibility of both U.S. Mint facilities in West Point and San Francisco striking them.
Add edge reeding to the silver medals to dress them up, which isn’t traditional for medals.
Make the silver medal the first in a series of annual Liberty-themed issues.
As for the design recommendations, the CCAC unanimously scored obverse candidate #11 and reverse candidate #1 as the winners. In a first, each of the 10 members gave the two designs their top score.
There was a motion made about obverse candidate design #11. Members disliked how the flag pole ran into the "W" from WE TRUST. A motion passed to lower the font of the year 2015 and then place IN GOD WE TRUST beneath it in two horizontal lines.
For reverse candidate design #1, a motion was made and passed to trim the size of the olive branch that’s held in the eagle’s talons.
Unable to lockdown their decision, the CFA recommended the same designs as above as well as obverse candidate #3 and reverse candidate #10.