In 1892, Saint-Gaudens was asked by the directors of the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago to design its official medal, which would be presented to prizewinning exhibitors. The obverse of Saint-Gaudens's design, showing Columbus coming ashore, was noncontroversial; his reverse, which featured a torchbearing naked youth carrying wreaths to crown the victors, was attacked by the censoring postal agent, Anthony Comstock, as obscene. The exposition directors hastily withdrew the reverse design and replaced it with one created by Barber which, according to numismatic historian Walter Breen was "notable only for banality". A furious Saint-Gaudens swore to have nothing more to do with the Mint or its employees, and for the next decade refused all commissions which might involve him with that bureau.
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