By CoinWeek News Staff ….
On Tuesday, March 13, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) held its second public meeting of 2018. The agenda included the review and recommendation of designs for the 2019 American Legion Centennial Commemorative Coin Program and the discussion of design concepts for Native American $1 Coins for 2021 through 2024.
Meeting at United States Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C., almost all committee members were in attendance, either in person or by teleconference. This includes Erik Jensen, Mike Moran, Robert Hoge, Donald Scarinci, Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, Tom Uram, Dr. Herman Viola, Heidi Wastweet, Dennis Tucker and Chairman Mary Lannin. The newest member of the CCAC, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, has yet to attend a meeting this year.
2019 100th Anniversary American Legion Commemorative
The first and larger part of the meeting dealt with the approval of designs for the $5 gold, $1 silver and clad half dollar American Legion commemorative coins. April Stafford, Program Manager of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Sales and Marketing, introduced the portfolio of obverse and reverse designs with a brief history of the American Legion, its work, and its philosophy.
Founded in Paris, France on February 16, 1919 by soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force stationed in Europe after the conclusion of World War I, the American Legion works with the Veterans Administration and lobbies Congress in support of a variety of issues that affect the nation’s veterans. Helping veterans, however, is just one of the Legion’s four “pillars”; the other key aspects of the organization’s efforts include Americanism, helping children and youth, and the country’s defense. Also at the meeting representating the American Legion was Vera Jones, the Legion’s first female executive director and the organziation’s liaison with the U.S. Mint.
For the $5 gold coin, the CCAC chose obverse three coupled with reverse four (both being the preferred designs of the Legion). The obverse features an interlocking arrangement of the Eiffel Tower and a victory “V” from WWI, surrounded by a pattern taken from the outside edge of the Legionnaire emblem. Inscriptions on the obverse include LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and the dual date 1919 2019. The reverse portrays a pair of hands presenting a properly folded U.S. flag, such as those presented to the children or significant others of soldiers lost in the line of duty. Inscriptions here include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, THE AMERICAN LEGION, the denomination $5, and the Legion’s motto, FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.
For the $1 silver coin, the committee chose obverse five and reverse 11 (again, the Legion’s preferred designs). Obverse five features the full American Legion emblem, surrounded by oak leaves and a lilly. LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and the date 2019 are the inscriptions. Reverse 11 features crossed and entwined American and legionnaire flags beneath an arch decorated with an egg and dart pattern and a prominent keystone. At either end of the arch are the dates 1919 and 2019. The inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and 100 YEARS OF SERVICE are included.
And for the clad half dollar, obverse five and reverse six were selected. Both of these were the organization’s preferences. Often regarded by CCAC members as the child’s coin in a three-coin program, the clad half dollar obverse portrays two children, hands over hearts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The smaller child is wearing a Legionnaire’s cap. Besides LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, and the date 2019, the inscription ” I pledge allegiance to the flag…” is also inscribed on this side. The reverse, which features a view from below of an American flag waving at full mast as well as the American Legion emblem, finishes the phrase with “…of the united States of america”–though a motion passed at the very close of discussion that will remove the ellipsis from this design. E PLURIBUS UNUM and HALF DOLLAR are inscribed at the top and bottom, respectively.
The CCAC will now send its recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury for final approval, though committee members Donald Scarinci and Erik Jensen expressed strong negative opinions about the quality of the portfolio under review.
Maximum mintages for the gold, silver and clad commemoratives are limited to 50,000 90% pure gold coins, 400,000 90% pure silver coins, and 750,000 clad pieces. Proof and Uncirculated versions will be available only during the program’s release year.
Native American $1 Coin Design Concepts: 2021-24
The second and final portion of the meeting consisted of a quick discussion of Native American $1 Coin design concepts for the years 2021 through 2024. According to April Stafford, the following themes will be represented:
- 2021: American Indians in the military
- 2022: Ely Samuel Parker
- 2023: Charles Alexander Eastman
- 2024: The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
The CCAC approved designs for the 2019 and 2020 Native American dollar coins on January 17, 2017. Themes for the coins are the contributions of Native Americans to the space program (2019) and Elizabeth Peratrovich and the Alaskan Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 (2020). The 2018 Native American $1 coin featuring famous football star and Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe went on sale February 15.
As to the concepts under discussion Tuesday, some concern was expressed about not repeating themes from the copius Code Talker medals produced by the United States Mint (available from their online catalog). But as is surprisingly predictable for a CCAC discussion concerning military themes, it was pointed out that far more people will see a coin than will see medals, and therefore there is nothing wroing in giving greater exposure to such worthy art.
The individuals being honored, Ely Samuel Parker and Charles Alexander Eastman, are important to the history of Native Americans within the fabric of American society at large. Parker, a lawyer and an engineer, served as a Lieutenant Colonel during the American Civil War. In 1869, Parker became the first Native American Commissioner of Indian Affairs under President Ulysses S. Grant, with whom he had served during the war and even written the final draft of the terms of surrender signed by Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox in 1865. Eastman was a writer, doctor and activist for the rights of Native Americans. He also helped found the Boy Scouts of America.
And in an extremely important development for the entire nation, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was passed in response to the service of native soldiers in World War I. The Act made all Native Americans citizens of the United States without divesting them of the rights and privileges of tribal citizenship.
Dr. Herman Viola, who serves as the committee’s specialist in American History and whose professional experience includes work with the Smithsonian Institution regarding Native American history and culture, expressed his excitement about these coins and was especially informative regarding Parker and Eastman.
Designs for the concepts will be presented and discussed at another meeting later this year (date and time TBD).
Scheduled to run until 3:00 PM, Tuesday’s meeting of the CCAC adjourned at 2:06.
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