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Commems Collection: 1925 Stone Mountain - President Harding Removed

 
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 Posted 10/18/2013  8:43 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
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 - Obverse




1925 Stone Mountain Memorial Half-Dollar - Obverse




Original Borglum Model for Stone Mountain Half-Dollar - Reverse




1925 Stone Mountain Memorial Half-Dollar - Reverse





Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/18/2013  9:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tpg22 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for posting this. Your threads are always so informative. That is a great looking commemorative. Some day I will try to narrow down the 4-5 I want for for my 7070 set. I like the soldiers in the background of the original model. Too bad they didn't use those.
Edited by tpg22
10/18/2013 9:52 pm
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 Posted 10/18/2013  9:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Indeed ... wonder what set of political forces conspired to exclude the reference to President Harding on the final coin?

Hopeful that you are one page closer to the best-selling book.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.finewoodcrafter.com
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 10/18/2013  10:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The reverse they went with is definitely much better imo. I could go either way for the obverse and I kind of like the soldiers, the 3rd horse head comes off a little awkward though.
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 Posted 10/18/2013  10:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Night-Hawk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The first version with the soldiers in the background,
was thought by many to depict
motion better. I agree, but I
also think the reverse on that
original was too busy with all
the writing.. JMHO
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 Posted 10/19/2013  07:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dave700x to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another great piece of numismatic history commens. I have to agree with the changes that were initiated by the CFA. The original designs were a bit too busy and cluttered in my opinion. This design is one of my favorite commemorative half designs and somewhere out there is an example that is destined to be part of my 7070 collection. Thank you for sharing the history behind this wonderful piece.
1883-O Nut
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 Posted 10/19/2013  08:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Doug58s to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree the revisions did make for a great coin. I keep buying this particular coin when I see the price as being acceptable. I have several now that are circulated as well - since this one seems to have a nice aging tone and the circulated ones almost always look just as nice as the MS65 coins (to me anyway).

It would have been nice to have kept the soldiers in the original design - but the horse was kind of intrusive as well.

thanks again commems... another great post!
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 Posted 10/19/2013  8:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jack jeckel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the 3rd horse head comes off a little awkward though.


Was their a 3rd in command who should have been mentioned but was intentionally left out hence only the 3rd horse reference.
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