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The E-Sylum (8/10/2013)

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Paul Gilkes published an article in the August 19, 2013 issue of Coin World profiling Cassie McFarland, the accidental creator of one of the leading design concepts in the competition for the new U.S. commemorative coin for the sport of baseball. -Editor

Cassie McFarland San Luis Obispo, Calif., artist Cassie McFarland wasn’t aware until May 11 that the U.S. Mint was soliciting designs for a common obverse for the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.

Today, her design appears to be the clear favorite for the three coins in the program — not bad for someone who almost missed the contest.

McFarland stumbled upon the U.S. Mint’s Baseball Coin Design Competition on the contest’s last day for potential designs to be submitted.

McFarland, 27, had been browsing the Internet looking for information on a series of Shell service station “Mr. President” tokens depicting U.S. presidential portraits that she recalls having collected while growing up.

A figurative oil painter, portraitist and sculptor, McFarland was seeking the token designs as inspiration for an art project she had conceived.

The baseball commemorative coin design contest link showed up during one of her Internet searches.

“I guess I typed in the right information [in the search engine],” McFarland told Coin World July 22.

Now the design that she submitted in competition with 177 other design hopefuls is just two steps away from possibly receiving final approval, after receiving the recommendations July 18 and July 23, respectively, of the two congressionally authorized review panels — the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

Final approval by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. “Jack” Lew or his designee would mean a permanent place for McFarland in U.S. commemorative coin history, her initials on the obverse of three commemorative coin denominations, and compensation of at least $5,000.

To say that McFarland is ecstatic about the prospects would be an understatement.

“Oh my goodness, that’s crazy. What are the chances?” McFarland said upon learning the news. “This is all very surreal for me. I’ll have to take it one step at a time.”

McFarland submitted her proposed design to on May 11, the final day of the 30-day design competition that began April 11.

McFarland baseball coin Glove design McFarland said July 23 that after locating the Mint’s coin design competition and reading the contest rules, she quickly put pencil to paper to execute a rendering that would work well if struck in a concave format. What better way to recognize the game of baseball than a baseball glove?, McFarland said.

McFarland also believed her design would pair well with the common, convex reverse depicting the type of baseball used in Major League Baseball.

McFarland incorporated both two-dimensional and three-dimensional elements to make her contrasted design challenging to the eyes.

“I played softball as a kid and had a somewhat round glove,” McFarland said. “I wanted to make the design spheric, but still appear concave. The bumps of the laces and the wheat and concavity — I think they provide a realistic feel of holding a glove.”

The coin will be a challenge to strike, but I'm glad the Mint is thinking outside the box on this one. More Art Medal than coin, it has the promise of being a stunning product. I'll be curious to see one in person - two dimensional renderings won't do the design justice. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Baseball designer almost missed competition (

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