Thursday, April 19, 2001

Coin designers in flap with Mint

Liberty taken with Wright plane, bulb

By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — The committee that will choose Ohio's quarter says stars added by the U.S. Mint clutter the designs and that some elements now are historically inaccurate.

        “We are being boxed into choices that we don't think represent the design concepts that we originally chose,” Beth Deisher, a committee member and editor of Coin World magazine, said Wednesday.

[photo] An Ohio committee submitted these six designs for the state quarter to the U.S. Mint...
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[photo] ... and was dismayed to have these four altered designs come back.
(Associated Press)
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        Since 1999, the Mint has released five new state quarters each year and will do so over 10 years. Ohio's coin is to be the 17th — for the 17th state in the union — and will be released next spring.

        The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts will meet today in Washington, D.C., to recommend designs to the Treasury secretary. If the commission accepts the Mint's four designs for Ohio, the state will have to choose its quarter from among them.

        “I just want to make sure our coin comes out just the way we want it because it's something that we're going to have to live with for decades,” said Steve George, the executive director of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and and one of 11 members of the Ohio Commemorative Quarter Program Committee.

        “I don't want to look at it and wince,” he added.

        The Ohio committee, which received the revised designs late last week, had thought the Mint engravers were to make changes that would make the coin easier to produce.

        Michael White, the Mint's spokesman, said the Mint requests concepts — not designs — from the states so that its engravers can create the designs based on the concepts.

        The state committee chose designs with four themes: Birthplace of Aviation, Spirit of Invention, Heroes of Aviation, and Buckeye State, which has a cardinal perched on buckeye leaves.

        The Mint almost completely redesigned the Heroes of Aviation coin and made minor changes to the three other drawings.

        The Heroes of Aviation quarter “gives no context of what is happening,” Ms. Deisher said. “We were trying to communicate that all of these feats were accomplished by Ohio natives and their contributions were to the world, not just Ohio. That's lost with what the Mint sent back.”

        Moreover, she said, the Mint's renderings are historically inaccurate.

        The revised designs show the Wright brothers' plane with boxed wings instead of pointed wings and with too many rods connecting the top and bottom wings, she said. Edison's light bulb was more rounded and longer than what the Mint depicted, she added.


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