In my first post about the Stone Mountain Memorial half-dollar, I mentioned that in addition to language concerning "the valor of the soldiers of the South" the authorizing legislation for the coin also included language about how the coin was to honor the memory of President Warren G. Harding. (Original post here: http://goccf.com/t/119791.)
The first models prepared by Gutzom Borglum for the coin did feature an inscription that paid homage to Harding, but the designs were not accepted by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).
Regarding the proposed obverse, the CFA was not happy with multiple aspects of the design. They did not like the horse's head that protruded into the design at the 3 o'clock position (it is the head of Jefferson Davis' horse as per Borglum's original design for the mountainside memorial), the soldiers depicted in the background or the execution of Lee's and Jackson's horses (among other things!).
Turning to the reverse, the CFA commented that the reverse design was "crowded" and that the "reference to President Harding is most unfortunately made subordinate."
Borglum worked in consultation with the CFA to improve the obverse and reverse designs of the coin during the summer of 1924. Before final acceptance, however, the CFA discussed the reference to Harding on the coin with the Mint and suggested that its inclusion be reviewed with the President (Calvin Coolidge) before the design was finalized and accepted.
As we all know, the final coin did not include any reference to the fallen president, so it seems reasonable to conclude that Coolidge did not favor the inclusion of a reference to Harding on the coin. It is not known whether the decision was motivated by politics or design aesthetics, but the result is evident on the issued coins.
Shown below are images of Borglum's original models for the coin along with my example of the released coin. The details on the obverse image are a bit difficult to make out but I think you should be able to see the design elements I referenced above. The reverse model shows the original "Harding" inscription very well.
Enjoy!Original Borglum Model for Stone Mountain Memorial Half-Dollar - Obverse1925 Stone Mountain Memorial Half-Dollar - ObverseOriginal Borglum Model for Stone Mountain Half-Dollar - Reverse1925 Stone Mountain Memorial Half-Dollar - Reverse