Les Peters wrote an article for Coin Update News about the recent meeting of the Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), where designs for the "New Frontier" Congressional Gold Medal were reviewed.
I attended the October 26th meeting of the Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee in the Mint's headquarters in Washington, D.C., and witnessed the members' discussions of the obverse and reverse designs for the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal. The medal honors the space missions of John Glenn aboard Mercury Atlas 6 (first American to orbit the Earth) and of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins aboard Apollo 11 (first and second people to set foot on the Moon, and the pilot of the mission command module).
There were a total of four different obverse design candidates and seven different reverse design candidates provided by the United States Mint.
The article recounts individual committee member statements. Above are the obverse and reverse designs receiving the most support.
I disagree with Donald Scarinci's suggestion that the text “Act of Congress 2009” be removed from reverse. Les notes that the text is a tradition of Congressional medals, but not a requirement. A motion to remove it passed on a 5-to-4 vote.
Here's why I like it. It's very hard to get the Congress of the United States to agree on much of anything, and it's a true honor when the elected representatives of the people bestow a medal. It's not like the President doling out medals to every Tom, Dick and Harry like he's tossing handfuls of Mardi Gras Doubloons. It literally takes an Act of Congress, and that's a Big Deal. If I'd been on the Commission, my vote would have been to keep the phrase.
The more interesting part of the article is probably not what Les has written, but the comments posted by readers. As of this writing the opinions were universally against the inclusion of John Glenn over Alan Shepard. Most believed the choice to be politically motivated.
Why is John Glenn on the coin? I realize he was the first American to orbit, but why not Alan Shepard who was the first American into space?
Could it be that John Glenn was a famous democrat senator?
Richard Stinchcomb writes:
I also find the inclusion of John Glenn very controversial. It is an either/or situation. Either use what applies for one specific purpose, or make different medals for each purpose. In terms of a specific meaning, absolutely none of these coin designs convey a universal concise meaning. This is why everyone is questioning why John Glenn is on these coin designs. Either, you have John Glenn as the first American to orbit the Earth, or you have Neil Armstrong as the first person to touch the surface of the moon. Neil Armstrong is a pioneer, however the same cannot be said for John Glenn since he was not the first person to orbit the Earth. The first person to orbit the Earth was a Russian. This is why the designs have no direct correlation in meanings and therefore make no sense.
But don't blame the CCAC - they are presented a set of pre-selected designs to choose from, and only have a limited say in the matter. I don't think they have a "none of the above" choice.
To read the complete article, see:
New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Designs Reviewed by CCAC
Wayne Homren, Editor
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