Coin Designs by Daniel Carr.
These are good examples of the sculpting and rendering capabilities of the VS3D (Virtual Sculptor) CAD/CAM software.

2007 President Concept Dollar Medallions.

In June 2005, the US Mint announced an opening in their sculpting/engraving department for a "medallic artist". They were looking for someone with an art background as well as knowledge relating to digital sculpting and computerized engraving. Since that is what I do every day, I applied for the job. I was not contacted for an interview, however. The mint eventually hired a very qualified candidate, Joseph Menna, for that job.

In late 2006, I was commissioned to design and mint a set of President Concept Dollars for CSN (Cable Shopping Network) and HSN (Home Shopping Network). The purpose was to have something that could be shown on TV prior to the release of the US Mint's first President dollars.

At the time I designed these, no images had been released by the US Mint. I viewed this exercise as sort of a friendly design competition between the Mint's staff and myself. As it turns out, the Mint's George Washington dollar was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna. Having sculpted numerous front-on portraits, I can say that this is a most difficult task. Menna did an admirable job on the Washington dollar.

I do not know what, if any, digital technology the US Mint used in sculpting the Washington dollar. It appears that the design in it's original form (as approved for production) was a pencil sketch, and that the portrait was sculpted by hand. In contrast, I sculpted my Washington medallion digitally, and used computerized engraving to create the dies.

The main difference between the two approaches (freehand vs. digital) is that with a digital process, the final coin is guaranteed to look exactly like the proposed digital rendering because both the rendering and the final die surface are generated by computer from the same source data.

On the left, below, is the Mint's original Washington Dollar design, which is a scan of a 2-dimensional pencil sketch tinted in a "Photoshop" program. This is the image that was reviewed by various committees and approved for production and marketing.

On the right, below, is a computer rendering of my digital sculpture, which was generated before the US Mint released any images of their proposed President dollars. This is the image that was reviewed by CSN and approved for production.

On the left, below, is a photograph of one of the Mint's actual Washington dollars. Note that there are deviations from the original design in the facial features. This is a result of sculpting in clay by hand, using the original sketch as a guide.

On the right, below, is a photograph of one of my actual Washington medallions. The detail sharpness is improvable with better cutting bits. But note that the basic surface contours of the actual medallion exactly match the original rendering above.

I am in no way claiming that either of these designs is superior to the other. My intent is simply to illustrate one potential advantage of a fully-digital design & sculpting process. Also note that the digital sculpting tools are just that - tools. They are not a replacement for the skill of a designer/sculptor. The same basic skills required to sculpt in clay are needed to sculpt digitally.

Shown above are renderings of all four President concept dollars with satin and proof-like finishes. A number in the star indicates the sequence of each president. Opposite that is the dates they served. A small "DC" (designer's initials) apper at the lower left on the obverses and the Statue of Liberty reverse.

These were sold on TV on CSN and HSN for a time in December 2006 and January 2007. Approximately 2,500 of each President were sold with the Eagle Head reverse. Approximately 10,000 of each President were sold with the Statue of Liberty reverse. All of those sold on TV were brass with a satin finish.

In addition, a limited quantity were struck in brass with proof-like finishes, and in silver with satin and proof-like finishes. None of those were offered on TV.