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Coin Judging Faulty
By Debbie Bradley, Numismatic News
July 12, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Five more designs are in the running for the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin.

They were added after the U.S. Mint discovered a discrepancy in the voting for the semi-finalist designs occurred when a U.S. Mint judge did not follow the established criteria.

“To protect the integrity of the program and to be fair to all contestants, we dropped that judge’s scores,” said Tom Jurkowsky, U.S. Mint director of public affairs.

The correction resulted in the addition of five semi-finalists to the previous group of 21, for a total of 26 semi-finalists, Jurkowsky said.

“When we discovered that a U.S. Mint judge might not have followed the rules, it was brought to the leadership at the Mint,” Jurkowsky said. “Following an inquiry where we determined he had not followed the established criteria, we dropped his scores.”

Designs were evaluated for artistic merit, coinability, technical accuracy and appropriateness to become semi-finalists.

Thirty designs were sent back to the Hall of Fame judges – Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton and Dave Winfield – who judged them on how they best symbolized the game of baseball. Their second round of voting resulted in new scores and three new finalists.

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“We wanted to do this because it was the right thing to do,” Jurkowsky said. “We wanted to make sure the contest remained fair.”

Numismatic News ran a list of 24 semi-finalists in its July 2 issue, but subsequently three of those designs were removed from the competition for non-compliance, Jurkowsky said.

The 26 semi-finalists have already been whittled through voting to 17 finalists. Those designs will be made public July 18 and presented to the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee which will make recommendations on a final design to the director of the Mint, who will then recommend the winning design to the Secretary of the Treasury in August.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act calls for a three-coin program in 2014 of 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins and 400,000 half-dollar clad coins in honor of the National baseball Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary.

It also requires a competition to select a common obverse design emblematic of the game of baseball. The common reverse of the coins will depict a baseball.

A unique feature of the coin will be its curved shape; it will be produced so the obverse is concave and the reverse is convex.

Surcharges in the amounts of $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin and $5 for each half-dollar coin sold will help fund the Hall of Fame operations.

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