It’s that time when the United States Mint announces the designs to be used on all five coins for next years America the Beautiful series. The US Mint is pretty unique in having such a long and open design process for the coins it releases, no doubt because it’s considerably more tied to the government than elsewhere. It’s refreshing and fascinating at the same time. The designs are submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, the chief executive of the host jurisdiction (State/District of Columbia/Territory), the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for review and comment. The Director of the United States Mint will make a final recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, after considering all relevant factors, including the opinions of the four recipients of the designs.
The America the Beautiful series is one of the finest bullion coin series struck today, an ambitious programme running from 2010 to 2021 that will make a superb collection when complete. We’ve covered the 2015 design process in previous articles which can be seen by clicking below.
26 HOMESTEAD NATIONAL MONUMENT – NEBRASKA
An improvement on the design shown in earlier versions, mainly losing the ring of stars, it isn’t a favourite here and although none of the Homestead designs were brilliant, we felt HP-10 showing the farmers working was a better design. This was a close second for me, however.
This design represents the three fundamentals of survival common to all homesteaders: food, shelter, and water. Inscriptions are HOMESTEAD, NEBRASKA, 2015, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Ronald D. Sanders and will be sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.
27 KISATCHIE NATIONAL FOREST- LOUISIANA
We agreed with the CCAC on this and genuinely thought the choice of the KNF-07 design was a done deal, but the CFA chose the design below and ultimately got its way. A decent design but not the one that seemed the most popular from the selection available.
This design features a wild turkey in flight over blue stem grass with long leaf pine in the background. Inscriptions are KISATCHIE, LOUISIANA, 2015, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by AIP artist Susan Gamble and will be sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
28 BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY – NORTH CAROLINA
A design very much in keeping with the America the Beautiful ethos in our book, the original artwork had a bird placed near the flowers at bottom right. The loss of the bird is a minor demerit, but at least the desire to put a car on the road has been ignored. Nice.
This design depicts the grace and curvature of the road hugging the side of a mountain, with the North Carolina state flower in the foreground. Inscriptions are BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY, NORTH CAROLINA, 2015, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by AIP artist Frank Morris and will be sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
29 BOMBAY HOOK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE – DELAWARE
Another good piece of artwork, although very similar in concept and layout to last years Everglades coin. We felt there were better choices for the design in light of this, but it’s a good one regardless.
This design features a great blue heron in the foreground and a great egret in the background. Inscriptions are BOMBAY HOOK, DELAWARE, 2015, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by AIP artist Joel Iskowitz and will be sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
30 SARATOGA NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK – NEW YORK
We hated this when we first saw it, hated it when it was chosen by both the CCAC and the CFA and hate it now. As a piece of art it’s fine, but it just seems so out of whack with the rest of the range, commemorating an event rather than celebrating a location. There were better designs and we can’t see this looking that great on the 5oz coin.
This design is a close-up of the moment General John Burgoyne surrendered his sword to General Horatio Gates, a pivotal moment many believe marked the ‘beginning of the end of the American Revolutionary War.’ Inscriptions are BRITISH SURRENDER 1777, SARATOGA, NEW YORK, 2015, and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed by AIP artist Barbara Fox and will be sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.