|Baseball Coin Design Competition|
- "Baseball and the United States Mint – two American treasures – are teaming up to produce a historic one-of-a-kind coin program. Baseball is a touchstone in American history, and the United States Mint connects Americans to their history through coins. The Treasury Department is proud to be part of this commemorative coin program."
- ―Rosa Gumataotao Rios[src]
The Baseball Coin Design Competition was a coin designing competition carried out by the United States Mint from April 11 to May 11, 2013, allowing anyone ages fourteen or older to submit designs for the obverse of a series of 2014 U.S. coins commemorating the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A related Kids' Baseball Coin Design Challenge began on the same date and continued to June 28. The events were administrated by Leslie Schwager.
History and backgroundEdit
The bill for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act, or Public Law 112-152, was at some point drafted and sent to Congress for approval. It passed the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, and was later passed and amended by the Senate on July 12, 2012. The House of Representatives concurred with the change on July 19 of the same year, and the bill was approved on August 3. The act called for the Secretary of the Treasury to produce coins commemorating the National Baseball Hall of Fame denominated at ½, 1, and 5 dollars.
Section 3 of the act provides the specifications of the coins that will be produced. By the legislation, no more than 750,000 half dollar, 400,000 1 dollar, and 50,000 5 dollar coins may be produced, and each will hold legal tender status. The half-dollar pieces are to be clad in silver, weigh 11.34 grams, and have a diameter of 1.205 inches (30.61 millimeters); the 1 dollar coins are to be composed of .900 fine silver, weigh 26.73 grams, and have a diameter of 1.5 inches (38.1 millimeters); and the 5 dollar coins are to be made of .900 gold, have a mass of a 8.359 grams, and measure .85 inches (21.6 millimeters) in diameter. In addition, the obverse of the coins should be concave while the reverse should be convex, in order to make the coin more similar to a baseball.
Section 4 of the act requires the presence of the nominal value, an inscription of the date of issuance, and the legends "LIBERTY", "IN GOD WE TRUST", "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (Latin for "out of many, one") somewhere on the coins. This section of the legislation allowed for the Secretary of the Treasury to hold a design competition to determine the design used on the obverse. The Secretary of the Treasury will, in accordance with the act, select the winning design after consulting the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee. According to the act, the reverse will need to depict a baseball similar to those used in Major League Baseball.
Section 5, covering the issuance of the coins, authorizes the production of commemorative coins in proof and uncirculated qualities, and only allows the coins to be struck in 2014. The remainder of the act deals with the sales of the coin, financial assurances, and budget compliance.
Section 3 of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act gave the Secretary of the Treasury the authorization to receive coin designs from the public. The United States Mint first announced the Baseball Coin Design Competition and Kids' Baseball Coin Design Challenge in a press release issued on March 28, 2013. Both competitions commenced on April 11, 2013 at 12:00 am (EDT). The submission period for the main competition was scheduled to end on April 26, 2013, but due to the insufficient amount of entries, it was not officially ended until May 11 at 12:00 am (EDT). The last day submissions were accepted for the Kid's Baseball Coin Design Challenge was June 28; entries could not be turned in past 12:00 am (EDT) on June 29.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame issued a press release on April 24 announcing the five Hall of Fame inductees who would be judging the designs of the main competition: Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton, and Dave Winfield. Other judges included mint officials Don Everhart, Joseph Menna, and Phebe Hemphill, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing designer William Krawczewicz. The public was allowed to vote for the kids' competition until the submission deadline on July 30, and the highest-voted designs were judged from August 1 to October 8. Twenty-four semifinalist designs were chosen for the main competition in early June 2013, and after the mint discovered a discrepancy in a round of judging, this number was increased to twenty-six designs. Sixteen designs were later chosen as finalists, and were put on public display on the competition's official website, http://batterup.challenge.gov (later http://batterup.challengepost.com/). On October 15, 2013, the United States Mint and the Baseball Hall of Fame publicized the winning design by Californian artist Cassie McFarland, which was entitled "A Hand Full of Gold". The results of the kids' challenge were subsequently announced on October 31.
In order for one to participate in the main competition, they had to be at least 14 years of age by the date of submission and be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. However, there were a few exceptions. Employees and contractor employees of the Department of the Treasury, as well as former contractors under the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program and individuals involved in the design evaluation, were not permitted to take part in the competition, nor were their immediate family members. This condition also applied to the kids' challenge, which permitted children thirteen years old or younger to submit designs that would not be used on the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins. Minors (ages 17 and under) were required to have their parents sign a consent form in addition to the required Rights Transfer Agreement, two items that were offered on the websites of the U.S. Mint and the competitions. Each applicant was allowed to send in one design, which had to be emblematic of the theme of baseball.
There were stipulations over how the coin would need to be designed and how designs should be submitted for the main competition and the kids' competition. For both, submitted designs could not feature a picture of an identifiable person, whether living or deceased, nor include any reference to the National Baseball Hall of Fame; a depiction of any real baseball stadium, arena, or field; any identifying marks such as initials or a name; depictions or names of any organization; or any inappropriate elements. Also, for the main challenge, submitted designs were required to include the inscriptions "Liberty", "In God we trust", and "2014", as was defined in the legislation, and include a clear border between each design element. The United States Mint accepted line-art and three-dimensional entries from applicants of the main competition. The line-art entries were to have a circular border, and the elements could not fade into the background. All of the lettering on such entries was to be shown in outline form or be solid black, respectively denoting raised lettering and recessed font. Three-dimensional entries were required to be between seven and nine inches in diameter, and to be produced using white or gray plaster, epoxy, or other hard casting material. The United States Mint expected line-art submissions to be sent as image files and three-dimensional works to be submitted via photograph, and, if necessary, by mailing the casting. The photographs and image files were to be uploaded to http://kidsbatterup.challenge.gov (later http://kidsbatterup.challengepost.com/) for the children's competition and http://batterup.challenge.gov for the main competition.
The winner of the main competition received a US$5000 reward in addition to the United States Mint using their designs and initials on the finished coins. According to the mint, if requested to do so, the winner may have needed to cooperate with the mint in promoting the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin series.
The children's competition was broken up into three age brackets: 5 years old and younger, 6 to 10 years old, and 11 to 13 years old. Each category was expected to contain five winners. The three grand prize winners received a silver 1 dollar National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin while the twelve runners-up won a clad ½ dollar coin. In addition, the winning designs were displayed on the websites of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the United States Treasury, and the United States Mint.
A total of 178 Americans participated in the main competition, while around 226 children took part in the kids' competition. The "A Hand Full of Gold" design submitted to the United States Mint by Cassie McFarland, an artist from San Luis Obispo, California, was declared the winner of the main contest by the United States Mint and Baseball Hall of Fame on October 15, 2013. This design, which depicts an image of a baseball glove as its main feature, was inspired by a similar glove the author had used while she was growing up. McFarland's design was used for the obverse of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins once the dies were prepared and the U.S. Mint gained the authority to produce them, at the start of 2014. The accompanying reverse design was drawn and sculpted by United States Mint Engraver Don Everhart, and unveiled by the mint on July 26, 2013. This design features a baseball similar to those used in Major League Baseball and stylistically curved inscriptions.
The results of the kids' competition were announced on October 31, 2013. First prize for the 0-5 age bracket was won by Mollie for her submission "Mollie's Baseball Coin". The "Hard Work" design sent in by Ethan won the 6-10 age bracket, and the "Baseball lives in the hearts of America" design submitted by Walter won first prize in the 11-13 bracket. Sixteen runners-up were selected due to two-way ties for fourth in the 0-5 and 6-10 age brackets and a three-way tie for third in the 11-13 bracket.
- Public Law 112-152
- United States Mint Press Release – Five Hall of Famers to Serve as Judges for Mint Design Competition for Commemorative Coin (24 April 2013)
- h.i.p. pocket change – Kids' Baseball Coin Design Challenge
- Official rules of the competition
- United States Mint Press Release – Hall of Famers Begin Judging Designs for United States Mint Baseball Coin Competition
- United States Mint Press Release – Mint Review Results in Additional Semi-Finalists
- United States Mint Press Release – Reverse Design for 2014 Baseball Commemorative Coins Unveiled During National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend