Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens's first association with the Mint was in 1891, when he served on a committee judging entries for the new silver coinage. The Mint had offered only a small prize to the winner, and all invited artists (including St. Gaudens himself) refused to submit entries. The competition was opened to the public, and the committee (which consisted of Saint-Gaudens, Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber, and commercial engraver Henry Mitchell) found no entry suitable. This came as no surprise to Saint-Gaudens, who told Mint Director Edward Leech that there were only four men in the world capable of such work, of which three were in France and Saint-Gaudens was the fourth. Barber, who had been Chief Engraver since 1879, felt that Saint-Gaudens overstated the case, and there was only one man capable of such coinage workóBarber himself. Leech responded to the failed competition by directing Barber to prepare new designs for the dime, quarter dollar, and half dollar, resulting in the Barber coinage, an issue which attracted considerable public dissatisfaction.
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