Coin Designs by Daniel Carr.
The New York and Rhode Island designs are examples of the sculpting and rendering capabilities of the VS3D (Virtual Sculptor) CAD/CAM software.

Click on any thumbnail image to view a larger image.

2001 state quarters, 1999.
In November, 1999 I received an invitation from the mint to participate in a design competition for the five 2001 state quarters. Apparently, the Mint's production timetable was running short so they stepped in to help the states get things moving with the design selection process. The Mint started by asking the Governors of each of the five states for a list of three to five themes that they would like to see on the coin. Then the Mint invited approximately 30 artists to submit designs based upon the suggested themes. Due to the Mint's timetable, a business trip, and surgery, I had only one weekend to produce all five designs. With such little time, I generated them the old fashioned way - paper and pencil.

North Carolina

One of the suggested themes was a scene showing the famous first take-off of the Wright Brothers flight. With several artists basing their design on the famous photograph, it was a toss-up as to who would win.


All of the suggested themes for Vermont showed Camel's Hump Mountain. I chose to execute the version with 14 snowflakes, representing the 14 counties of Vermont, and Vermont as the 14th state. Later, when the Commission Of Fine Arts and the US Mint selected a design featuring maple syrup trees, but without any mountains, the Vermont Governor again voiced his insistence that the design show Camel's Hump Mountain.


One of Kentucky's themes was "a horse behind a plank fence with a farmhouse in the background". I chose to put the horse(s) in front of the fence as that made more sense to me. I placed the farmhouse far in the distance and added overhanging tulip poplar branches (the state tree).

2001 New York state quarter, 1999.

Of the five state quarters, New York was the last one I did. It was Sunday evening and I was running out of time so I did what I thought was the easiest theme on the list - the Statue of Liberty with the state outline and "Gateway to Freedom" legend. My preference was for an art deco rendition of the Empire State building, Chrysler Building, or the New York skyline, but I sensed that many New Yorkers might not want their state quarter to be dominated by New York city. The "Gateway to Freedom" and Statue of Liberty suggestion originally came, in part, from a group of 4th graders in Colonie, NY (near Albany).

New York, #1

The first design I submitted featured the three required elements, but I also added rays within the state outline emanating from Liberty Island.

New York,
US Mint version

When the numismatic press published images of the proposed designs, I noticed that someone at the Mint had modified my design. They grayed-out the state (obliterating the rays) and added 11 small stars around the rim (New York is the 11th state). I liked the addition of the stars (although I would have positioned them differently). I was suprised to see that the Commission Of Fine Arts had approved the modified version. The modified version was also one of five designs posted on the New York state web site for public comment. A Buffalo NY television station ran an internet poll and I was again suprised that my design received 54% of the vote in a 5-way race.

New York, #2

After seeing my modified design in the newspaper and on the New York state website, I decided to make my own changes to the design. It was then that I had the idea of adding the state flower, the rose. I created this version by scanning my original and retouching it in a computer paint program. This is still my favorite of all the New York designs I created. I submitted this revised version the the Mint and to Governor Pataki, although it was probably already too late since it was not possible to go through the review process again. Too bad I hadn't thought of it the first time around.

New York, #3

Governor Pataki, who initially favored a Battle of Saratoga design eventually concluded that the "Gateway to Freedom" design was the most generic, and covered the major bases of this diverse state - except one. A vocal group had been calling for an Erie canal design, and they were upset when a design showing mules pulling a barge was not among the final five designs in consideration (the Mint had deemed it too complex for coinage). So Governor Pataki made an announcement stating his desire to add a line showing the path of the Erie canal within the state outline. At that time, I created this final hand-drawn image with the canal outline. The Mint did not want to go through the design review process again, so their intent was to add the Erie Canal outline while making the fewest number of changes possible.

The main problem with adding the canal outline was that it passed right through the area where the "Gateway to Freedom" legend was originally positioned. About this same time I had completed some major re-work on my sculpting software (which had been inoperative for some time). I decided to use it to prepare seven versions of the design with the Erie canal, each with a different placement of the "Gateway to Freedom" legend. Four of the seven versions are shown below.

Of these variations, the last one (on the far right) is the closest to what the Mint is actually using.

2001 Rhode Island state quarter, 1999.

For Rhode Island, I chose the "Ocean Vista" theme. I felt that this was a good one as it represents the state well, and the simple directive allowed for a lot of artistic leeway. It was my idea to add Newport Bridge, as it tied the ocean to the land.

Rhode Island, #1

My first version featured a vintage sailboat heading home to Narragansett Bay, with Newport Bridge in the distance. This design was shown in the numismatic press, but apparently, the Commission Of Fine Arts did not fully endorse it (but they didn't completely reject it either).

Rhode Island, #2

Apparently, Rhode Island Governor Almond liked this design but wanted an actual historic ship in place of my generic sailboat. I was contacted by the Mint and they asked if I would modify the design to show the Reliance, the America's Cup winner in 1903 from Rhode Island. I gladly accepted this assignment. The Herreshoff Marine Museum supplied me with a photograph of the ship. The photo showed it coming towards the viewer. I wanted to show the ship returning home to its port of origin, so I had to visualize what the ship looked like from a different direction. This design was shown along with two others on the Rhode Island state website. In an internet poll, it received 57% of the vote in a three-way race.

After creating the New York designs with my newly-functional software, I decided to use the software to create a realistic rendering of what the Rhode Island quarter might look like. The Mint's final design is almost identical to mine, with the exception of some added ocean surface texture in the background.

Rhode Island, unc.

Rhode Island, proof

Click here to see an image of the virtual sculpture under construction.

2001 state quarters - epilogue.
It was a great honor to have two of my designs selected for state quarters, and I thank the Mint for that. The only problem is that no one believes me when I tell them ! For winning, I was awarded $2500 for each chosen design ($5000 total). Both designs will show the initials of the Mint engraver who sculpted it - Al Maletsky (AM) for New York, and Thomas D. Rogers (TDR) for Rhode Island.

Coin World article regarding credit for the designs


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