Newspapers are said to be "the first draft of history", and I think that's very true. It's one reason I enjoy
highlighting excerpts from local newspaper articles featuring coin designers. Here we are read their own words about the inspiration and
thinking behind their designs.
This article from the Olean Times Herald of Olean, NY features Barbara Fox, designer of the new Saratoga National Historical Park
quarter. The article does not include a picture of Fox or her designs, but I'm added an image from the U.S. Mint web site. -Editor
One of artist Barbara Fox’s recent designs turned out to be right on the money — literally.
The Ellicottville-based artist will be recognized later this month when the United States Mint hosts its newest America the Beautiful
Quarter Launch and Coin Exchange in Schuylerville. The event marks the official release of the Saratoga National Historical Park quarter,
which was designed by Fox.
The quarter illustrates the October 1777 surrender at Saratoga of British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne to Gen. Horatio Gates of the American
Continental Army. The design is a representation of the British officer handing his sword to the American general.
The British surrender was a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War. “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne had attempted to secure the Hudson
River valley and link up with British forces in New York City, thereby isolating New England from the rest of the American colonies to the
south. Meanwhile, the outcome of the campaign convinced the French to openly and actively help the Continentals in their war for
The coin is the 17th coin or medal designed by Fox for the U.S. Mint, as well as her third quarter design. She designed America the
Beautiful quarters for Montana’s Glacier National Park in 2011 and Maine’s Acadia National Park in 2012.
Fox visited Saratoga National Historical Park to take photographs and draw inspiration, and conceived the design after watching a movie
in the park’s museum which included a recreation of the surrender scene.
“Designing for such a tiny round ‘canvas’ is a complicated assignment,” Fox said, “and I wanted the image to be beautiful and readily
understandable. I chose an extreme close-up because it made the hands and the sword the center of attention.”
The design was checked for historical accuracy (down to the embroidery and engraved buttons) by historians at both the Smithsonian
Institution and Saratoga National Historical Park. Also included in the design is the inscription “British Surrender 1777.”
The coin was sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Renata Gordon.
The quarter launch and coin exchange for the Saratoga quarter is set for Nov. 16 at Schuylerville High School; a coin forum in regard to
the new quarter release will be at the Saratoga Town Hall in Schuylerville.
The America the Beautiful Quarters Program will release a total of 56 quarters between 2010 and 2021 depicting locations around the U.S.
that are notable for their natural beauty or historical significance.
Fox works as a fine artist and illustrator from her Mill Street studio in Ellicottville. Her paintings have been featured in solo and
group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the U.S., and she teaches her watercolor painting technique in classes and workshops
around the country. She is working on new oil paintings for a solo exhibition in 2016.
The November 17th launch ceremony organizers have invited U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo. Will they appear? Regardless, these ceremonies are a big deal, generally well attended, and look like fun. I encourage
readers in the U.S. to follow the announcements and attend one in their area. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
State and Union: U.S. Mint quarter designed by
Ellicottville artist (www.oleantimesherald.com/article_51830ee4-8382-11e5-a871-6b2a3085885b.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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