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Archive for August, 2011

I have a news clipping in my library that the U.S. Treasury was looking for a couple of good artists to create coin designs in 1854. Nothing became of it. The same engravers in the Philadelphia Mint’s Engraving room remained entrenched.

They created new coin designs, had dies cut and struck sample coins numismatists call “patterns.” Most were rejected.

A similar appeal appeared in 1890 with a somewhat increased response. American artists responded. While researching early American engravers I uncovered one, Hiram W. Hayden, who engraved dies for Scovill as a teenager, went on to establish his own factories in brass city Waterbury and became wealthy. He retained his interest in bas-relief design, even made wax models as a hobby. As a seventy-year-old he submitted a proposed silver dollar design of a girl’s head in answer to the Treasury’s appeal.

Again, the Treasury accepted none of the public’s proposed designs. The Mint’s engravers, George Morgan’s silver dollar and Charles Barber’s subsidiary silver coin designs were placed on the circulating coins to continue for another two decades. American coin designs remained staid and lifeless into the 20th century.

Meanwhile in Europe, coin design was developing into magnificence. The Paris Mint encouraged their engravers with support from the government and their art academies.  In Italy a school for coin and medal engraving was established at the Zecca Mint. Coin design in these countries advanced for this support.

It took a United States president, Theodore Roosevelt, and America’s greatest sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to change all that in America. Roosevelt commissioned Saint-Gaudens to create new coin designs. Understandably Mint Engravers Barber and Morgan fought this intrusion. But the president prevailed.

This set the course, inevitably, where other talented sculptors, all members of the National Sculpture Society, were successful in submitting coin designs which were accepted and placed on the circulating cons:

The Buffalo Nickel

The Buffalo Nickel

  • Victor David Brenner on the Cent
  • James Earle Fraser on the Five Cent
  • Adolph Weinman on the Dime and Half Dollar
  • Hermon MacNeil on the Quarter Dollar
  • John Flanagan on the Quarter Dollar
  • Anthony de Francisci on the Silver Dollar.

As a side note every one of those new coin designs, as well as dozens more for commemorative coin designs, Medallic Art Company was involved. Henri and Felix Weil assisted in their creation by making galvano casts, intermediate reductions, or even hubs for the artists prior to those relief designs being submitted to the U.S. Mint.

It should be noted, most importantly, these were top sculptors in the field at the time. They were seasoned artists, talented sculptors, excellent designers, consonant craftsmen, and competent modelers. They knew good design and were able to apply this to the task at hand, even on the small scale of a coin size design.

Also it should be noted the sculptor designed both obverse and reverse. The coin or medal was one unified work of art, despite the fact it had two sides, an object known in the art field as a  dyptich.

Since these were such good designs, then, why didn’t the government hire a couple of these artists to design coins full time?  The sculptors would not have accepted such restricted employment. These artists were busy full time with monuments, memorials, statues, busts, architectural work. Creating coins full time was out of scope of their desired art career.

Two events were to change coin design in America beginning in the late 1980s. One was a policy of accepting different artists designs of separate sides of any coin or medal. This first occurred in 1987. The other was that the U.S. Congress, beginning in 1988, increased authorization of commemorative coins, also increasing the work load of the U.S. Mint’s engraving department.

For the first two years Congress authorized only one new commemorative coin a year. But in 1991 it had increased to five, seven in 1992, five in 1993, eight in 1994, exploding to 20 in 1995 (with the XXVI Olympiad), and such. Sales of commemorative coins included a surcharge of funds paid to a sponsoring organization.  Politically connected organizations found this a source of easy revenue. An obliging Congress provided this.

This exploded even more so in the new century. By then the U.S. Mint had established a department for marketing coins to American citizens. The Statehood quarters began in 1999. A new quarter reverse was required every third month. This in addition to new commemoratives, and in addition to Congressional Medals authorized by Congress.

This placed tremendous demand on the limited staff of Mint engravers at the Philadelphia Mint. Mint officials turned, in an obvious move, to outside artists. What was needed was separate coin or medal designs for each new item. This then, needed to be modeled, rendered into a relief model from clay to plaster, for each side.

An attempt was made to automate that modeling somewhat by accomplishing this with computer technology. A computer savvy sculptor, Joseph Menna, was hired in 2005 to work with this new technology.

But what evolved was not the old method of one talented sculptor designing and modeling his concept in two sides, became instead four artists involved. One for the design of each side and one to model each side!

This move, perhaps in desperation, has resulted in increased mediocrity more than any other. It is the number one cause of mediocrity. An attempt to increase the attractiveness of our nation’s coins has accomplished just the opposite result.

There are subtle ways in which an artist can tie the two sides together with design elements — by repetition, by contrast, by related elements, similar lettering style — a dozen sculptural techniques. These are missing when two different artists are allowed to design separate sides.

With four artists hands and minds involved the result is an even greater mixed bag.

This had an effect on Mint sculptors, where working conditions were not the best in the first place. The work area was described as a “rabbit warren” with work tables chockablock next to each other.  The room did not inspire the best creativity.  Yet the Mint engravers, trudged on, as best as they could. The moral among the Mint engravers dissipated somewhat.

The second greatest cause of mediocrity is the closeness of multiple artists. This is so evident of factory artists everywhere. It has been explained to me as “artists tend to talk to each other, to look over each other’s shoulder, inspecting each other’s work; in time they begin copying each other, subtly perhaps, unconsciously at best. The result is a homogenized look of all their work.”  In time it all looks alike no matter which artist created it originally.

As a medal dealer, handling thousands of medals by dozens of manufacturers,

I began recognizing the work of each manufacturer. Some of this is due to the equipment they used. Much of it, however, was due to similarity of design, even

if signed by different artists. It became a mannerism of that maker, particularly if they had several factory artists.

This has happened in the U.S. Mint engraving room as well. The mint engravers have recognized this condition themselves and have tried to overcome it. I am certain the thought has often crossed their minds:  “I would be better off working in my own studio rather than here in this room!”

A third reason for existing mediocrity is compressed time. With increased number of coins and medals to create, the Mint engravers are facing pressing deadlines.  It has become, not an atmosphere of creativity, but one of an assembly line. One artist does one function, and passes it on, Another artists adds another function, while two others are doing the same thing.  All with the hope this bird will fly when all the parts are brought together.

It seldom does.

Ideally artists should have two weeks just to think about a design, to let it percolate in their conscious and subconscious. They should seek inspiration in a variety of fields, reading, viewing images of related content or subject matter, examining great medallic art. Knowing what has been produced by previous great medallic artists. Asking themselves “What can I do better than what they did?” Let their inner Muse  reign free!

While Congress can enact legislation for as many coins and medals as it wishes (and the president signs that legislation) the Engraving Department should be light on its feet to create every one of those, providing models and patterns that can be struck into desired objects by the mint where they are employed.

But remember The U.S. Mint is a government agency. It is bound by bureaucracy. What’s the incentive?  Engravers can keep their job for life if they wish. They won’t get paid more for any increased work.  Mediocre work is as good as highly creative work. Great medallic art is not encouraged here.

The fourth cause for mediocrity is money. Currently an outside designer is paid $2,500 for an accepted coin design. If they can model it, they get $5,000 more.

But not every artist can create a coin design.

Even worse, most graphic artists attempt to create glyptic coin designs. These are entirely separate art formats. Graphic artists work in two dimensions. Coin and medal artists must work, think – even dream! – in three dimensions.

Not every drawing makes a good model.  There are characteristics that make a good bas-relief model that graphic designers are unaware.  Some of these can be learned – height and bevel of relief, hide three support points on the reverse, employ texture for contrast – but much of it cannot be taught.  It comes with experience in creating relief models to be struck into coins and medals.

But if the seven artists named above are the greatest that America has produced, among the 300 at any one time who have created coins and medals – or the three thousand listed in my databank of American artists – we see how rare this talent really is.

In contrast to athletes who earn seven-figure contracts because they have the ability to perform based on their athletic prowess and talent – not many can do what they do – shouldn’t coin designers be compensated likewise. Not many artists can create great coin and medal designs.

Six things the Mint can do to create great coins and medals.

  1. Send their engravers home to work in their own studios. Keep on salary, but spend one day a month at the Mint. This day to review work, make assignments, keep up-to-date on latest developments, both within the Mint and within the industry, learn latest technology, a day of inspiration and awareness.
  2. Name an Art Director, not a Chief Engraver.  This person must be an administrator. He should know every aspect of bas-relief art, the mint technology and the capabilities of his staff. He – and this person should be male – should have knowledge of as many outside sculptors as possible who he can commission at his discretion.  He should be given power to accept or reject any design or model. He will edit all sketches and models.  He must have the temperament to work with artists who have great egos (they should!).
  3. Hire one Staff Sculptor. He is a backstop sculptor who works full time in that Engraving Room.  He (or she) accepts all models, and where necessary make any corrections or alterations demanded by the Art Director. This artist  insures a perfect model for the next step of production.
  4. Eliminate the policy of multiple artists on one coin or medal. Each artist must provide both sides for each item.
  5. Hire a Staff Art Researcher.  This person should have knowledge of picture and image resources to search out needed images for any artist. Seek these images among all sources in ample time for artists to work with. This does not preclude the artist from doing his own image research. She – typically a female researcher –should have knowledge of symbolism as well and provide suggested symbols.
  6. Establish a policy for adequate artist compensation.  A pair of circulating coin models should be compensated at $100,000. A commemorative coin or medal at $50,000.

Such a plan as outlined above will attract great artists, who will, in turn, create great coins and medals.

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Desperate for sales at the beginning of the 1930s depression, Clyde Trees attempted to generate revenue wherever he could. He set his sights on car dealers. What better, he thought, than to offer them a circular plaque bearing Henry Ford’s portrait. He envisioned selling such a plaque to place in the showroom of every Ford dealer in America.

Ford Medal

Ford Medal

Fortunately he had just the portrait in mind. He had commissioned sculptor Anthony de Francisci to create just such a portrait in 1929 for a medal honoring Ford Motor Company. The obverse bore an attractive side view of founder Henry Ford looking left. The company name appeared on the reverse – along with 1929 models of Ford products, tractor, truck and sedan with an airplane above.

Trees had just acquired Medallic Art Company two years before; he was eager to promote sales of his tiny firm’s products. Thinking ahead he instructed de Francisci to make the models oversize, 16 inches diameter instead of customary 10 or 12-inch size. He must have imagined how he would promote the larger size.

His next step was to advertise. But he learned there was firm in Detroit, owned by Ford Motor Company itself, which specialized in just what he wanted to do, Sales Equipment Company. He offered the de Francisci 1929 medal to this company to sell to car dealers. They offered it as a desk weigh or paperweight.

From the number of these medals that come on the collector market the sales of these desk weight medals was not that large. I sold one when I was a medal dealer. Joe Levine has sold two. Three out of perhaps 300,000 that the two of us have handled gives an indication of this medal’s – MACO catalog number 1929-082 – rarity.

The appeal, of course, is the Ford name. Anything with a Ford name associated with an auto is of great interest to Ford collectors. There are thousands of these collectors. I would estimate that 1929 de Francisci medal on today’s market would exceed $500.

Promoting the plaque.  Since the medal didn’t sell well Trees planned more carefully for the plaque. It had to be the same size as de Francisci’s 16-inch model. He tried again with Sales Equipment Company. He supplied some wording the firm incorporated into a full page advertisement. He coined terms like “Medallium Metal,” and “heavily bronzed.”

Further, he touted the reputation of de Francisci, accurately, as the sculptor of the Peace dollar “issued just after the World War.” And called the portrait “a remarkably fine likeness of Mr. Henry Ford, “an exact reproduction of the sculptural conception by Mr. Anthony de Francisco.”

The ad showed the circular plaque, with a drawing of a group of four people admiring the plaque on the wall in an auto showroom. The headline said it all: “A Work of Art You Will Be Proud to Display.”

An order form accompanied the ad.

Now to make the plaques.   Cost was such a factor with these that Trees recognized he could not make these in his own plant. He would have to make such a plaque as a copper galvano and that would be too costly. He had to find another method.

His solution was to have the plaques made in iron as foundry casts. He found such a foundry in New Jersey which would cast these and ship to his plant in New York City. Here he would have his workers apply a brown patina in imitation of bronze. His “medallium metal” was nothing more than cast iron. His “bronze plaque” was the color of the patina.

The shipping weight approached ten pounds apiece. Sales Equipment Company was selling the plaque for $7.50 each express collect.

One wonders what Trees paid for the foundry casts. Plus how much time his workers could devote to coloring each cast. I once described this finish as a dark brown bronze patina with face highlighted somewhat with lighter color for contrast. The reverse was spray lacquered with satin gold colored bronze powder immersed in a clear lacquer.

Despite the fact Medallic Art did not make the plaques, the name appears on the reverse (placed in the mold by the caster): MEDALLIC-ART-CO. / N.Y. in two lines with hyphens separating words in the name.

Another flyer is tucked in a Medallic Art Company scrapbook with the last indignity:  it lowered the price of the plaque to $3.50!  Those were really hard times!

Recent events.  Here are some updates:

  • In 1999 I appraised one of these plaques for $1,250. I estimated fewer than 100 were made and, of course, even fewer still exist.
  • In 1998 the Early Ford V-8 Foundation, a collectors group, published somewhat of a history of this plaque in their Foundation News. It had many misstatements, speculations, and other inaccuracies.

The newsletter did reveal a Rochester New York member, Bob Malley, obtained one 20 years ago. He replicated it having a dozen or so cast copies made but only sold three. He gave the rest to the Western New York Regional Group of the Early Ford V-8 Club to distribute to their members.

Malley donated his original Ford plaque to the national group and they, in turn, forwarded it to the Beller Museum in Darrien, Illinois for display with other Ford showroom memorabilia.

Three Generations of Fords Medal

Three Generations of Fords Medal

In 1953 Anthony de Francisci created a Three-Generation Ford Portrait Medal.  Here is the data on that medal from my databank:

1953 Ford Motor Company 50th Anniversary Medal (modeled
by Anthony de Francisci after Norman Rockwell’s painting

Three Generations of Fords) [two varieties were struck,
1953-021-01 bore a reverse inscription of “…AMERICAN
ROAD” for distribution in U.S.; 1953-021-02 bore “50 YEARS
WITH  FORD” for Canada and rest of world] . . . MAco 1953-021

Auctions:. . . . . . . . . CAL 30:208, CAL 31:100, CAL 35:404;
J&J 10:93, J&J 11:175-176, J&J 13:122, J&J 21:107,
J&J 23:252, J&J 24:454, J&J 27:766; PCA 50:1529,
PCA 51:1098, PCA 55:1671
Exhibited: AF6 {1955} F.I.D.E.M. Stockholm (1955). . . . 17
Illustrated: Nat Sculpture Review 2:3 (Summer 1953) p . . 20

This is truly a stunning medal. As I recall de Francisci was paid the highest price ever at the time for a medallic model. Whatever it was, it was worth it!

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Ever since the Philadelphia Mint was established, in 1792, has the policy been in place that private medals could be struck there; provided, of course, such work did not interfere with the normal duties of the Mint personnel and the client paid the government for all costs including the metal used for striking the medals.

While the first such private medal was not dated – for Ricketts’s Circus – the enterprising circus promoter was the first to take advantage of this. Numismatic researchers can only state these medals were made at the Mint between1793 to 1795.

Despite the fact that striking medals for non-governmental clients was common among European mints, a very strong reason compelled such medals in America to be struck at the Philadelphia Mint. No other presses in America could strike a medal of silver dollar size or larger!

One important restriction.  One provision in the Mint policy on private work at the Mint, however, came about during the administration of Andrew Jackson. No medals were to be struck at the Mint for any political campaigns. Mint personnel were prohibited from involvement in such political work.

This created, in effect, a cottage industry of die engravers with a small screw press of creating campaign medals, a custom of providing citizens a name and sometimes a portrait of a candidate in a country with limited reading material. These were usually small medals to be distributed freely among potential voters.

At the Mint private medal dies were created by mint engravers and struck on mint presses by mint pressmen. Of the 412 medals, cataloged by numismatist Robert Julian, struck by the U.S. Mint in its first century, 252 were for private individuals and organizations, mostly for schools, notable events and celebrations, and even one wedding medal.

A client, for instance, who commissioned an American jewelry firm, as Tiffany & Co, to create a large medal for them, occasionally would have them struck at the Philadelphia Mint (if they didn’t have them struck in Europe). Often clients would deal with the Mint directly or through the Treasury Department in Washington.

Medallic Art competition. This practice of the U.S. Mint continued well into the 20th century. By the 1930s when medal jobs became somewhat scarce, Clyde Curle Trees, president of Medallic Art Co, did not appreciate this policy of the Mint. They were striking medals that should have, he reasoned, be struck by private industry and his firm.

As he had to curtail operations of Medallic Art to half days to support his employees and keep his business afloat, he began mounting a campaign to get the U.S. Mint out of the private medal business. He wrote to Treasury officials pointing out it was unfair to use government equipment and government employees — and pay no taxes — in competition with his private firm, which of course, had to pay taxes.

His letters fell on deaf ears throughout the years prior to World War II.

During the war Trees postponed this campaign since he could not get bronze to strike medals anyway. After the war he got busy manufacturing military medals and decorations. He resumed his effort, however, in the late 1940s, appealing to the Treasury for many years and to each new administration — without much apparent effect — as it was not until 1966 (six years after Trees’ death) that the U.S. Mint stopped producing medals in competition with American private medal industry.

Mint engravers outside work. While mint engravers were permitted to create models for medals for any client who came to the mint, it was also permitted for mint engravers to create models on their own time, working in their own home studio. For the most part they brought these models to Medallic Art Company to be made into dies and strike medals.

This began in 1927 with U.S. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock. For the first half dozen of these Sinnock was listed as Medallic Art’s client, so he was preparing these for someone else. Sinnock and MACO’s Clyde Trees were to form a close relationship.

In 1930 Trees learned that the Crane Company in Chicago was planning a 75th anniversary. When he called the firm’s president, he learned they had already commissioned a Chicago sculptor for the models, but they were not satisfied with his design. Trees, not to lose such a prospect, called Sinnock, bring your sculptor tools and let’s travel to Chicago.

As Sinnock worked in a hotel room, Trees saw the president in person, learned what he had to create for an acceptable medal. He conveyed that information to Sinnock who had a portrait done in two day’s time, Trees got the approval and the order before the two returned to New York City. Trees had a never-say-quit attitude.

Over the next two decades Sinnock was to send four dozen models to Medallic Art Company, and established a relationship that was to continue with succeeding Chief Engravers. In a show of gratitude for so many of these commissions, Sinnock modeled Clyde Trees portrait. This was prepared as both a medal and a galvano relief and that is the Trees portrait that was illustrated in that June 1945 Fortune magazine article.

Gilroy Roberts close ties to Medallic Art.  As close as Sinnock was to Clyde Trees, his successor, Gilroy Roberts became close to all Medallic Art officials. He served on a number of committees with art director Julius Lauth and was long-time friends with the Trees family and, of course, Bill Louth, who assumed MACO presidency in 1960.

Considered the top medallic sculptor in America at the time, Roberts was commissioned to prepare the portrait reliefs of all MACO directors, and, ultimately, Bill Louth’s portrait as president. The relationship between Roberts and Medallic Art officials was very close, not only as sculptor of dozens of commissions sent his way and the 70 medals the firm made from his models, but also for leading the art community to consider art medals as a proper art forum.

The relationship became strained, when, in October 1964 he resigned from the U.S. Mint to become chief engraver of Franklin Mint, a new competitor in the medallic field. Enticed by promoter Joseph Segal to become Chairman and Chief Engraver of this private mint, he virtually severed his relationship with Medallic Art Company.

The Franklin Mint produced only proof surface medals (until it bought foreign firms who possessed the technology for relief finish), Roberts made only three medals, which Medallic Art Company struck, after he joined Franklin Mint.

Gasparro less active.  Frank Gasparro was named Chief Engraver on Roberts resignation. He was willing to work with Medallic Art Company when a situation required it. A New York City client, the Liberty National Shrines desired a four-medal series. U.S. Mint engravers prepared four different reverses. and Gasparro created the obverse to appear on all four. The U.S. Mint struck the small silver medals, Medallic Art struck the large bronze.

Gasparro was also commissioned to prepare one medal in a series produced by Medallic Art. He did the


U.S. Mint Chief Engraver’s Medallic Work
Made by Medallic Art Company

SINNOCK, John Ray  (1888-1947) sculptor, engraver,
Chief Engraver, Philadelphia Mint, 1925-1947.
Born Raton, New Mexico, 8 July 1888.
Joined the U.S. Mint engraving staff in 1917 as Assistant
Engraver, transferred to Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
to return in 1925 to be Chief Engraver.
Signed models JRS monogram (6 different), or JS initials
(later on Roosevelt dime).
Fellow: National Sculpture Society.
Died Staten Island, New York, 14 May 1947.

M  E  D  A  L  S

1927 Kaufman (Louis Graveraet) Merit Medal (actually a
plaquette) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1929-067

1927 Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial
Art Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1927-006

1928 American Peony Society Bertrand H. Farr Medal (obv
by Sinnock, rev by Feilx Weil) . . . . . . . . MAco 1928-007
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 57:1653

1928 Philadelphia Electric Company Accident Prevention
Plaquette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1928-050
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PCA 57:1654, PCA 72:1921

1929 Edison (Thomas Alva) Medal (struck by Medallic
Art Co). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1929-100
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 7:468

1929 Edison (Thomas Alva) Plaquette (one of first two medals by
Sinnock to carry the “art medal” as inscription on
the reverse, 1929-81 the other) . . . . . . .  MAco 1929-057
Auctions:. . . . . . J&J 25:262; CAL 30:243; PCA 57:1856,
PCA 80:453
Collection: American Numismatic Society. .  1940.100.193
Illustrated: The Numismatist 42:11 (November 1929) p 745

1929 Lewi (Maurice J.) Plaquette. . . . . . . . .  MAco 1929-078
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  CAL 28:425
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . 1930.999.68

1929 Hole-in-One Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1929-036
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 13:862

1929 Homans & Company 50th Anniversary Medal. . . . MAco 1929-002
Auctions:. . . . . . .  J&J 13:9, J&J 21:9; PCA 57:1656, PCA 70:1330
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . 0000.999.7582

1929 MacDonald (J. Ramsay) Medal. (one of first two medals by
Sinnock to carry the term”art medal” as inscription on
the reverse, 1929-57 the other) . . . . . . .  . . . . MAco 1929-081
Auctions:. . . . . J&J 21:1856; CAL 28:134, CAL 30:2020;
PCA 55:1654, PCA 57:1657
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . . 1930.94.1
Illustrated: The Numismatist 42:11 (November 1929) p 744

1929 Mendel (P. Gregor) Medal . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1929-048

1930 Boyd (James) Memorial Medal. . . . . . . . . . MAco 1930-007

1930 Crane Company 75th Anniversary Medal . . . .  MAco 1930-023
Auctions:. . . . . . . CAL 35:10; J&J 13:10, J&J 14:454,
J&J 19:355, J&J 19:387, J&J 21:1065, J&J 24:347,
J&J 26:395; PCA 57:1660
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1] 1940.146.17
Collection: Princeton Library Vermeule (NC000) . . . 188
Exhibited: Utah Museum of Fine Arts (1991) . . . . . 188

1930 Janssen (Henry) Plaquette. . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-049
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 57:1658

1930 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society James Boyd
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1930-007
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 57:1659

1930 Woods (Edward A.) Company 50th Anniversary
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1930-051

1931 American Medical Assocition Frank Billings
Plaquette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-039
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 57:1661

1931 Fahnestock & Company 50th Anniversary Medal. . MAco 1931-001
Auctions:. . . . . . . CAL 30:134; J&J 7:245, J&J 9:422,
J&J 13:48; PCA 66:1309, PCA 67:908, PCA 70:1331
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . 1940.100.45
Collection: Cornell Univ Johnson Art Gallery . . . . 355
Collection: Princeton Library Vermeule (NC000) . . . 196
Exhibited: Utah Museum of Fine Arts (1991) . . . . . 196

1931 Grant (Madison) Medallion. . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-068

1931 Malloy (Jack) Memorial Medal . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-069

1931 New York Herald Tribune Yard and Garden Medal
[dates/issue: 1931-35] . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-013
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 50:1330

1931 New York State Historical Association
Medallion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1931-047
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:96, J&J 12:283
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1] 1940.100.43

1932 Dickens Christmas Carol Medallion (obverse portrait
and reverse models by John R. Sinnock, after 19th
century drawings by John Leech; struck for
Philadelphia bookseller Charles Sessler by
Medallic Art Co) . . . . . . Harris MPR-32, MAco 1931-062-001
Auctions:. . . . . . J&J 10:101, J&J 18:430; PCA 69:1733,
PCA 80:1703
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] .  1940.100.624

1932 Dickens Christmas Carol Uniface Medallion (similar
to rev of previous medal with modifications in lettering
and branches at side in model by John R. Sinnock,
after 19th century drawings by John Leech; struck
for Philadelphia bookseller Charles Sessler by
Medallic Art Co) . . . . . . Harris MPR-33, MAco 1931-062-002
PCA 80:1702

1932 Garbo (Greta) Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1932-022

1932 Hoover Company Silver Jubilee Medal. . . . .  MAco 1932-037
Auctions:. . . . . .  J&J 7:469, J&J 16:1008, J&J 25:10;
PCA 57:1662, PCA 74:2208
Illustrated: P4 {1983} TAMS Journal 23:1 (February) p 21
Illustrated: M40 The Numismatist (October 1984) . p 2071

1933 Chase National Bank Salmon P. Chase Medal.  MAco 1933-038-001
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 8:1618; PCA 57:1664
Illustrated: The Numismatist 53:8 (August 1940) p. . 581

1933 Chase National Bank Money Museum Medal . .  MAco 1933-038-002
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 24:610

1934 Hoover Cetnury of Progress Medal . . . . . . . MAco 1933-009

1934 Methodist Episcopal Church in America
Sesquicentennial Medal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1933-022
Auctions:. . . . . . .  J&J 16:2017, J&J 19:1118, J&J 25:1526;
CAL 28:665, CAL 30:2106; PCA 57:1663
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . . 1940.100.47
Illustrated: The Numismatist 47:6 (June 1934) page . 392

1935 Schurz (Carl) Memorial Foundation Medal (dates/issue:

1935-36) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1935-010
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 57:502, PCA 65:529

1936 Schenectady’s Half Century of Electrical Progress
Medal (obv portrait of Thomas Edison by Sinnock,
rev by Rene P. Chambellan). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 1936-038
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. J&J 12:420

1936 McKenzie (Robert Tait) Medal [this uniface medal is
one of a pair, each artist – Sinnock & McKenzie –
did the other’s portrait in uniform size, ultimately
in 1966 Medallic Art Co issued these as two sides of
the same medal]. . . . . . . . . Freeman 334, MAco 1937-018
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . 1976.263.12

1937 Mount Vernon Seminary Alumnae Medal. . . . . . MAco 1937-005
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . PCA 57:1665-1666, PCA 61:1339,
PCA 81:566[silver]

1937 Somers (Elizabeth J.) Plaquette. . . . . . . . MAco 1937-007

1937 Voorhis (Warren R.) Medal. . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1937-040

1938 Gates (Russell C.) Medal . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1938-036
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 70:753

1938 Morgenthau (Henry) Secretary of Treasury Medal. MAco 1935-006

1938 Brown (Mark Anthony) Medallion . . . . . . .  MAco 1938-020
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 57:504, PCA 70:753

1939 Acacia 45th Anniersary Bronze Meritorious Medal
(reverse by Rene P. Chambellan). . . . . . . . MAco 1939-001

1939 Acacia 45th Anniversary Plaquette. . . . . . . MAco 1939-002

1939 Barnes (Earl B.) Medal . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1939-042
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 70:753

1939 Pennsylvania Society of Minature Painters
Medal of Honor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1939-012

1940 Trees (Clyde Curlee) Medal . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1940-028
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 57:504, PCA 70:753
Illustrated: Fortune Magazine 31:6 (June 1945) page 182

1946 Princeton University Bicentennial Medal. . . . MAco 1946-001
Auctions:. . . . . . CAL 29:355; J&J 12:284, J&J 19:430,
J&J 25:47, J&J 27:716; PCA 57:1667, PCA 65:1622,
PCA 66:1317, PCA 69:1748
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . .  1947.103.1

1949 Geological Society of America Penrose Medal. . MAco 1949-005

1959 Equitable Life Assurance Society Centennial Medal (obv
by Sinnock, rev by Gilroy Roberts). . . .  MAco 1958-043-001
Auctions:. . . . . CAL 32:1818; J&J 10:229, J&J 16:1591;
PCA 57:1668
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . .  1959.154.1


ROBERTS, Gilroy  (1905-1992) sculptor, engraver, Chief Engraver,
Philadelphia Mint, 1948-1964; Chief Engraver Franklin Mint
1965-92, Chairman of the Board 1965-72.
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11 March 1905.
Hired 3 June 1936 for engraving staff at U.S. Mint under John
R. Sinnock, on 6 January 1938 transfered to Bureau of Engraving
and Printing, to return to the U.S. Mint where he was appointed
Chief Engraver 22 July 1948. After serving in this capacity for
17 years he resigned 8 October 1964 at age 59.
His medallic output was in three distinct classes:

  1. government work struck by U.S. Mint (1948-1964),
  2. private issues mostly struck by Medallic Art Company (1950-1967),
  3. private issues struck entirely by Franklin Mint (1965-1992).

Enticed to leave the U.S. Mint by Joseph Segal, founder
of the Franklin Mint, Roberts was named Chief Engraver
and Chairman of the Board of Franklin Mint. He headed an
engraving department for this private mint that was to grow
to over a two dozen full time staff members, and utilized the
freelance talents of more than 240 outside sculptors. Roberts
would often create the first medal of a new series (in 20
instances) and other sculptors would do the remainder of the
series.

He signed both coin and medal models with distinctive GR
monogram (but in 15 different styles, often with date).
His monogram on the Roosevelt dime was infrequently mis-
taken for a Russian hammer & scythe by the uninformed.
Three U.S. Mint artists–Roberts, Frank Gasparro, Adam
Pietz–(and sculptor Micael Lantz) were the first American
medalists to have exhibited in a F.I.D.E.M. exhibition (1951).
Roberts was a member of the jury (1974) of the National
Bicentennial Competition which chose the three coin designs
for the reverses of the U.S. quarter, half and dollar coins (won
by Jack L. Ahr, Seth G. Huntington, and Dennis R. Williams,
qq.v.). Other jury members were: Adlai S. Hardin, Robert
Weinman, all sculptors, Julius Lauth, of Medallic Art Company,
and Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, Smithsonian Institution numismatic
curator.

Member: National Sculpture Society.
Died Haverford, Pennsylvania, 26 January 1992.

His workshop was replicated after his death by the American
Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Many
of this tools, models, drawings, and works of art were placed
on loan to the association.

M   E   D   A   L   S

1950 Einstein (Albert) Medal . . . . . . Flower 3, MAco 50-24
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  WMR 31:1
Exhibited: AF6 {1955} F.I.D.E.M. Stockholm (1955). .  56

1951 Schaefer Achievement Plaquette. . . . . . . . MAco 51-55

1952 Hektoen (Ludvig) Plaquette . . . . . . . . .  MAco 52-25

1953 Atoms For Peace Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal . . .
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . .  1976.264.6

1953 Southern Methodist University Press Club of Dallas
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 53-11
Auctions:. . .  J&J 11:1568-1469, J&J 13:422, J&J 18:853

1954 American Society of Tool Engineers Joseph A. Siegel
Memorial Medal [not the same Siegel founder of the
Franklin Mint] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 54-10
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 16:1360

1954 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Joseph Augustin Le Prince Medal. . . . . . .  MAco 54-33

1954 Berlin (Irving) Congressional Medal. . . . . . . . .

1954 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company F.W. Eckers Medal
(obv by Roberts, rev by Ralph J. Menconi). . . MAco 53-8
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . CAL 35:2255-2257; J&J 16:1590

1954 Republican Party Centennial Medal. . . . . .  MAco 54-56
Auctions:. . . . .  CAL 28:535, CAL 33:1640, CAL 35:902,
CAL 35:984; J&J 16:1996, J&J 17:827, J&J 21:1571;
PCA 50:1082, PCA 63:1302, PCA 67:749, PCA 68:1384,
PCA 80:1232
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . 1976.264.14
Illustrated: Nat Sculpture Review 3:3 (Summer 1954) p 18
Illustrated: N41{2009} Reed. Lincoln, The Image, p 218

1955 Bigger (Issac Alexander) Medal . . . . . . .  MAco 55-44

1955 Diamond T. Motor Car Company 50th Anniversary
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 55-1

1955 Reynolds (Benjamin Smith) Medal. . . . . . .  MAco 55-58

1955 Rust Engineering Company 50th Anniv Medal. .  MAco 55-24
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 13:252

1956 Yeshiva University Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Medal [dates/issue: 1956- ]. . . . Flower 11, MAco 56-13
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 12:632; WMR 31:11
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . .  1983.144.2

1956 Lamar Life Insurance Company 50th Anniv Medal  MAco 56-5
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 10:227, J&J 13:411

1956 Sarnoff (David) 50th Anniversary Medal . . .  MAco 56-26
Auctions:. . . . . .  J&J 12:424; CAL 30:390; NAS 72:190

1956 Sarnoff (David) Engineering Medal. . . . . .  MAco 56-33
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 63:1916

1956 Schapiro (S.) & Sons 50th Anniversary Medal. . MAco 56-7
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 24:773

1956 Stonier (Harold) Medal . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 56-48

1957 Alco Products Incorporated Dedication Medal (also
called Army Package Power Reactor Medal) . .  MAco 57-26
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 13:804

1957 All-American Football Medal. . . . . . . . .  MAco 57-62
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 10:1847, J&J 13:879

1957 Newark College of Engineering Allan R. Cullimore
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 57-55-1
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:1520

1957 New Jersey Institute of Technologty Allan R. Cullimore
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 57-55-2
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:1510

1957 Fiske (J.W.) Architectural Metals Incorporated
100th Anniversary Medal. . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 57-18
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 18:241, J&J 21:36

1957 Norwich Mills 50th Anniversary Medal . . . .  MAco 57-70

1957 Ourisman (Benjamin) Memorial Medal . . . . .  MAco 57-64

1957 Protective Life Insurance Company William J.
Rushton Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 57-10
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 10:228

1957 Reilly (John D.) 50th Anniversary Medallion.  MAco 57-74
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 11:937
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . . 1957.39.1

1957 Sabine (Wallace Clement) Medal . . . . . . .  MAco 57-28

1957 Simplicity Pattern Company Service Medal . .  MAco 57-30
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 13:51

1958 Haag (Joseph Jr.) Plaquette. . . . . . . . .  MAco 58-66
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 11:938, J&J 18:469

1958 Rosenstiel (Lewis S.) Medal. . . . . . . . .  MAco 58-68
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 17:654

1958 Saint Joseph College Saint Louise De Marillac
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 58-28
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:1556

1959 Equitable Life Assurance Society 100th Anniversary
Medal (obv by John Sinnock, rev by Roberts).MAco 58-43-1
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CAL 32:1818

1959 Little (E.H.) Key Tag Medal. . . . . . . . .  MAco 59-48

1959 Melville (Ward) Gold Medal . . . . . . . . .  MAco 59-53
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 16:1016

1959 Sarnoff (Daivd) Electronics Medal (portrait by
Roberts; rev lettering by Ramon Gordils) . .  MAco 59-10
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 24:775

1959 Soper (Fred L.) Medal. . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 59-16

1960 Bach (Charles T.) Medal. . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 60-76

1960 Bigelow (Henry Bryant) Medal In Oceanography  MAco 60-75
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 69:1753

1960 Haverty Furniture Companies Diamond Jubilee
Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 59-38
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 16:1019

1960 Jacobs (Carl N.) Medal . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 60-101

1960 Connecticut Society of Physical Medicine Frank
Hammond Krusen Medal (obv by Roberts, rev by
Paul Manship). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 59-86
Auctions:. . . . . . . . CAL 28:427; J&J 8:1524, J&J 16:1646

1960 West (Louis B.) President of American Numismatic
Society Medal. . . . . . . . . .  Johnson 45, MAco 60-71
Auctions:. . . . . . BMP 1:4391; CAL 35:844; J&J 10:999,
J&J 24:611, J&J 27:741; PCA 49:1306, PCA 55:1675,
PCA 67:927
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1]  1960.131.1
Illustrated: Vermeule A15 {1971} Numismatic Art p. . 219

1961 Brandeis (Louis D.) Medal. . . . . . . . . .  MAco 61-57

1961 Denver and Ephrata Telephone and Telegraph
Company 50th Anniversary Medal . . . . . . .  MAco 61-58

1961 Tate (John Torrence) Award Medal . . . . . .  MAco 61-14

1962 Odlum (Floyd B.) Medal . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 62-53

1963 Broughton Memorial Medal . . . . . . . . . . MAco 63-112

1963 Fleming (John Adam) Plaquette. . . . . . . .  MAco 63-90
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 16:2044

1963 McLain (James A.) Plaquette. . . . . . . . .  MAco 63-50
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 10:234

1963 Howard College Memory Leake Robinson Medal .  MAco 63-78
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 10:236, J&J 16:1614

1963 Tri-State Milling Company 50th Anniv Medal . . MAco 63-6

1964 Contractors’ Association of America Carl V. Cesery
Memorial Medal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAco 64-148
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:24, J&J 18:243

1964 Louth (Willim Trees) Portrait Medal. . . . . MAco 64-152

1964 Melcher (Frederic G.) Book Award Medal . . .  MAco 64-32
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 16:1137

1964 Montana Territorial Centennial Medal . . . .  MAco 63-16
Auctions:. . . . .  CAL 32:1536, CAL 35:122l; J&J 9:552, J&J 18:217

1964 Howard College Frank Park Samford Medal (obv by
Roberts; rev by Ramon Gordils) . . . . . . .  MAco 64-66
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:1465, J&J 18:777

1964 Verazano Narrows Bridge Plaquette. . . . . .  MAco 64-86
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . .  1965.165.1 

1965 Republican Party Centennial Medal. . . . . .  MAco 54-56
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . .  J&J 16:1996, PCA 60:1178

1965 Seng (Francis A.) Achievement Award Medal. .  MAco 65-31

1965 Yeshiva University Albert Einstein College of Medicine
10th Anniversary Medal . . . . .  Flower 15, MAco 65-156
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WMR 31:20

1967 Krich-New Jersey Sarnoff Tribute Medal . . .  MAco 67-94

1967 Marshall-Wythe School of Law Medal . . . . . . MAco 67-7

1971 American Foundation for the Blind 50th Anniv Medal
(portrait by Roberts, rev hand cut die). . . . . . MAco 71-147

1973 Sarnoff (David) Technical Achievement Medal.  MAco 73-64


GASPARRO, Frank  (1909-2001) sculptor, engraver U.S. Mint
1942-81; joined Mint as junior engraver December 1942,
assistant Chief Engraver 1962, appointed Chief Engraver
23 February 1965, retired from the Mint 16 January 1981
for a remarkable 38 years Mint service.
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 26 August 1909.
Trained at Philadelphia Industrial Arts and Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, the later of which he served as a
Director of their Fellowship Board in his later years.
He taught at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial in
Philadelphia for over 47 years.

A most productive medallist, Gasparro prepared models for
a dozen medal series, both for the U.S. Mint and for private
firms.

Three U.S. Mint artists (Gasparro, Adam Pietz, Gilroy Roberts)
and sculptor Michael Lantz were the first American sculptor-
medalists to have exhibited in a F.I.D.E.M. exhibition (1951).

Signed models FG monogram.
Died Havertown, Pennsylvania, 29 September 2001.

M  E  D  A  L    S   E  R  I  E  S

Liberty National Shrines Medal Series:
(Obverse by Gasparro is Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty and is
common to all four medals; first two reverses also by Gasparro,
Castle Clinton by Philip Fowler, Ellis Island by Edgar Zell
Steever. Large dies made and bronze medals struck by Medallic
Art Co; small dies made and silver medals struck by U.S. Mint,
Philadelphia, all from same patterns.)

1965 Federal Hall Medal . . . . . Gabriel G7-13, MAco 1965-024-001,
Turner 13, Dean D1965-1, Swoger 201-1
Auctions:. . . . .  CAL 29:321, CAL 32:1484; J&J 14:448,
J&J 21:1012, J&J 25:1167; PCA 43:1295, PCA 58:1747,
PCA 80:1561, PCA 80:1567[set/4], PCA 81:1805-1806
Collection: Princeton Library Vermeule (NC000) . . . 217
Exhibited: Utah Museum of Fine Arts (1991) . . . . . 217
Illustrated: M60 {2008}Dean, National Comm Medals, p 20
Illustrated: M62 {2008}Swoger, Nat Comm Medals, p 194

1965 Statue of Liberty and American Museum of
Immigration Medal. . . . . . Gabriel G7-14, MAco 1965-024-002,
Turner 14, Dean D1965-2, Swoger 201-II
Auctions:. . . . .  CAL 32:1484; J&J 9:525, J&J 16:1024;
PCA 58:1748, PCA 80:1562-1564, PCA 80:1567[set/4]
Illustrated: M60 {2008}Dean, National Comm Medals, p 21
Illustrated: M62 {2008}Swoger, Nat Comm Medals, p 195

1965 Castle Clinton Medal (obv by Gasparro; rev by
Philip Fowler) . . . . . . . . . .  Gabriel G7-15, MAco 1965-024-003,
Turner 15, Dean D1965-3, Swoger 201-III
Auctions:. . . . .  J&J 14:449, J&J 16:1023; PCA 58:1749,
PCA 80:1565-1566, PCA 80:1567[set/4]
Illustrated: M60 {2008}Dean, National Comm Medals, p 22
Illustrated: M62 {2008}Swoger, Nat Comm Medals, p 196

1965 Ellis Island Medal (obv by Gasparro; rev by
Edgar Zell Steever). . . . . Gabriel G7-16, MAco 1965-024-004,
Turner 20, Dean D1965-4, Swoger 201-IIII
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 19:433
Illustrated: M60 {2008}Dean, National Comm Medals, p 23
Illustrated: M62 {2008}Swoger, Nat Comm Medals, p 197
Auctions:. . . . . . . CAL 28:48[group/3], CAL 28:892[set/4],
CAL 32:1481[set/4], CAL 33:1234[group/3]; J&J 10:3[set/4],
J&J 11:37[set/4], J&J 11:39[group/3], J&J 15:380[set/4],
J&J 18:664[set/4], J&J 24:372[group/3]; PCA 58:1750[group/3]
PCA 80:1567[set/4]

Hall of Fame Series:

1971 Elias Howe Medal . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1963-001-075
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . CAL 31:144, CAL 35:2150;
PCA 52:458[set/94], PCA 65:543[set/94]

M  E  D  A  L  S

1964 University of Iowa Hancher Medallion . . . .  . .. MAco 1964-107
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 11:1602, J&J 18:882

1967 Garden of the Patriots Medallion . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1967-025
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J&J 18:212

1968 Marquette (Father Jacques) Medal (also called Michigan

1969 American Numismatic Association Philadelphia
Exhibit Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .,  MAco1969-041 

1971 Eisenhower (Dwight D.) Silver Dollar Medal (designed
by Gasparro; modeled by Rolf Beck) . . . . . . . MAco 1971-029
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . 1976.264.10

1976 Elizabeth II Visit to United States During Bicentennial
Year Medal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  MAco 1976-094
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 44:262
Illustrated: P21 The Art Medalist 2:3 (June 1975) page 1

1976 Philadelphia City Bicentennial Medal (with port Benjamin
Franklin) . . . . MAco 1975-085, Greenslet GM-258
Auctions:. . .  BMP 2:5685; CAL 35:211; J&J 8:67-68;
PCA 42:925-927, PCA 57:1891, PCA 61:418,
PCA 71:1431
Illustrated: P21 The Art Medalist 1:3 (June 1975) page 4

1955 Fort Ticonderoga Bicentennial Medal. . . . .  MAco 1955-033
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  PCA 63:830
Collection: American Numismatic Society. . . . 1956.58.1


JONES, Elizabeth  (born 1935) sculptor, medalist,
Chief Engraver, Philadelphia Mint, 1981-90 (only woman
to have held this position).
Married name: Mrs Ludvig Glaeser.
Born Montclair, New Jersey, 31 May 1935.
Studied School of Medallic Art, Zecca Mint, Rome.
The 1982 George Washington 250th Anniversary Half
Dollar – the first of the modern U.S. commemorative coins
– with obverse by Elizabeth Jones and reverse by Matthew

Peloso won the 1984 COTY, the Coin Of The Year award
(from Krause Publications), and two other of the organization’s
awards: Most Popular and Most Historical Significant. Her
1983 Los Angeles Olympic Discus Thrower Silver Dollar
won the 1985 COTY (plus Most Popular and Best Crown).
Her 1986 Statue of Liberty $5 Gold coin won the 1988
COTY – the only American artist whose coin designs have
won so many COTYs in four year’s time!

Signed models EJ initials.
Member: National Sculpture Society.
Member: American Medallic Sculpture Association.

M  E  D  A  L     S  E  R  I  E  S

Brookgreen Gardens Membership Medal Series:

1985 Sculptor at Work Medal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Collection: Brookgreen Gardens (SC). . . . .  N.1984.001

M   E   D   A   L   S

1973 Casals (Pablo) Medal . . . . . . . . . (18), MAco 73-223
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . CAL 35:794; J&J 8:642

1973 Wanderers No More Israel Medal (obv portrait heads of
Herzl, Weizmann, Meir, Ben-Gurion; also called Salute
To Israel Medal) . . . . . . . . . . .  (17), MAco 73-77
Auctions:. . . . .  J&J 17:209; PCA 68:1676, PCA 71:1422
Illustrated: P15 {1974} Modern Medals (1974-75) p . . 41
Illustrated: P21 The Art Medalist 2:2 (April 1976) p . 5

1973 Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus) Medal. . . . . . . . . .  (16)
Exhibited: AM1 {1983} AMSA Exhibition ANS, ANA. . . p 34
Exhibited: AE8 {1981} NSS 48th Exhibition cat, illus 110
Illustrated: P8 Medallic Sculpture 5 (Fall 1989) page  2

1973 Spellman (Cardinal) Plaquette. . . . . . . . . . .  (19)

1974 University of Pennsylvania Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal

1975 Dante (Allegoria) Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (21)

1975 Holy Year Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (22), MAco 1974-190
Auctions:. . . . . J&J 10:1820, J&J 23:1355; CAL 31:188, CAL 35:2351
Illustrated: AF16 (1975) F.I.D.E.M. Catalog (unnumbered)
Illustrated: P21 The Art Medalist 1:1 (February 1975)p 3
Illustrated: P8 Medallic Sculpture 5 (Fall 1989) page  2

1976 Johns Hopkins University President’s Award Medal . .

1977 Washington Cathedral Canon Charles Martin Medal. . .

1978 Al-Maktoum (Sheik Rashid) Medal. . . . . . . . . .  (24)

1978 Pope John Paul II Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (23)
Exhibited: AE8 {1981} NSS 48th Exhibition cat, illus 110

1979 Nobel Laureates Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  (25)

1981 Massada Medal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Illustrated: AF19 {1983} F.I.D.E.M. Catalog. . . .  1710

1986 Al-Tajir (Mohamed Mahdi) Medal . . . . . . . . . .  (30)

1988 International Council of Women Centennial Medal. .  (33)
Exhibited: AF22 {1990} F.I.D.E.M. Exhibit, Helsinki.
Exhibited: AM4 {1990} AMSA Newark Museum Exhibit . . p 4
Illustrated: P8 Medallic Sculpture 6 (Fall 1990) page 23

1988 Rockefeller (Nelson A.) Public Service Award Medal  (32)

1990 Sloane-Presbyterian Hospital For Women Medal . . . .
Exhibited: AM5 {1992} AMSA Cast Iron Gallery Show. .  40

1993 Clinton (William J.) Medal (unofficial inaugural medal,
struck by Medallic Art Co) . . . . . . . . . . MAco ?
Auctions:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PCA 71:1109
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1] . 1993.69.4

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Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Medal

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Medal

Medallic Art Company did not strike its most valuable bronze medal, but its founder, Henri Weil, was very much involved with its creation, he made the dies. That medal was the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Inaugural Medal of 1905.

Why is that particular medal so valuable? It has everything going for it. It has tremendous appeal to collectors of medals, art, historians and presidential artifacts. Here are the pertinent points of that appeal:

  1. It honors and portrays an American president, Theodore Roosevelt.
  2. It was issued for his Inauguration to America’s highest office in 1905.
  3. It was designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), America’s greatest sculptor and designer in 1907 of two U.S. gold  coins.
  4. It was modeled by Adolph Weinman (1870-1952), another top sculptor, who also created two U.S. coins, both in 1916, the Mercury dime and the Liberty Walking half dollar, the later of which was made into a bullion coin by the Treasury Department in 1986.
  5. It was struck by Tiffany & Co, America’s premier jewelry firm. Actually its issue was managed by this firm, who sought the best artists and craftsmen for its creation, and that is how Medallic Art’s founder Henri Weil became involved, to make reductions of Weinman’ models and cut the dies.
  6. It has great collector rarity – only 125 were struck in bronze – enough to come on the market often enough, but still scarce enough to never fulfill the great demand for it at any time.
  7. It has great artistic appeal, in both design and execution, and – at Saint-Gaudens insistence – was made to look cast like Renaissance medals, but actually struck.
  8. It has historical significance, the inaugural event has a great heritage, occurring only once every four years at the start of each president’s new term.

In our post of  Saint-Gaudens Medals Made By Henri Weil of Medallic Art Co. of June 20, 2011,  I discussed the career of Saint-Gaudens as a medallist, and listed his entire medallic productions.  I could only allude to his contact with Henri Weil and Weil’s actual participation in the creation of this medal.

Here is what author Michael Moran states of Adolph’s Weinman’s actions to place his model that Saint-Gaudens designed and that he modeled in Henri Weil’s hands:

The following day, Weinamn called on Henri Weil of Deitsch Bros, in New York City. Weil, a Frenchman trained in Paris, was working the firm’s Janvier reducing machine, the first of its kind to be imported to America. Weinman was seeking from Weil a second bid for the making of the dies and striking of the Roosevelt medal. Clearly Gus was seeking a fallback position if the committee and, more importantly, Roosevelt rejected this latest cost escalation.

Weil could make the reductions at once.  However, the model was 20 inches in diameter. There was a probability that Weil would have to make an intermediate reduction down to 10 inches in … paraffin and from that reduction cut the steel die in a second reduction. Next Weinman went to Tiffany’s to inquire as to whether they would insist upon putting their name on the medal and its presentation box.  

The fact Henri Weil made these reductions and cut the dies is well documented. What is not fully ascertained is exactly where the medals were struck as the Deitsch Brothers, for whom Weil was working, did not posses a press capable for striking such a large medal.

It could have been struck in Tiffany’s silverware factory in Newark, New Jersey. Or Tiffany could have subcontracted the striking to one of the metalworking plants in New York City or elsewhere.

[This was one of the subjects I wanted to research during my recent trip June 28, 2011, to Tiffany headquarters. Unfortunately, this fact is buried in one of 84 boxes marked “medals” as their files are not by name of company or individual, but by name of client.]

Just how valuable is a Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Medal?  In an appraisal I made last December for a gentleman who was donating an inaugural medal collection to the Smithsonian Institution, I placed a value of $35,000 on his specimen. It was in gem uncirculated condition.

Most specimens that come on the market are in nice condition. They have been well preserved. The case they were originally placed in helped preserve their original condition. But, more importantly, the owners knew of the importance of the medal and took pains to preserve it as best possible.

Major institutions have this medal in their collections. Here again, they welcome owning such an important and valuable artifact. These are the public collections I have found that have this medal in their collections:

  • American Numismatic Society(bronze) accession 1961.137.1 
  • Princeton Library Vermeule bronze (NC001) inventory number 160
  • Smithsonian Institution, Division of Numismatics (bronze)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, New York
    City (two bronze)
  • Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire (seven models, galvanos, and bronze medals)

Private collections come on the market and are usually documented by their appearance in auction sales. The most recent major medal collection was that of Washington, DC, real estate investor David W. Dreyfuss. His collection, was auctioned jointly by Bowers & Merena and Presidential Coin& Antique, April 12, 1986. Here are the lots of this medal:

5779 Bronze $5,720
5780 Pair Galvanos $12,100
5781 Obverse Plaster model $1,100

I sold one of these bronze medals in my Johnson & Jensen Auctions:
J&J 5 (December 10, 1978) lot 155, bronze $5,500

But Presidential Coin & Antiques has sold more of these medals through their
auctions than any other auction firm:
PCA 43 (December 5, 1987) lot 22, bronze $4,950
PCA 44 (June 25, 1988) lot 239, bronze $4,950 
PCA 55 (December 4, 1993) lot 116, bronze $3,800 
PCA 64 (July 10, 1998) lot 275, bronze. 
PCA 68 (October 28, 2000) lot 239, bronze $12,600
PCA 70 (December 2, 2001) lot 291, bronze, withdrawn  
PCA 71 (November 9, 2002) lot 14, bronze $9,200 
PCA 73 (December 4, 2004) lot 443, bronze.

Numismatic Citations and References

Moran (Michael F.)  Striking Change; The Great Artistic Collaboration of
Theodore  Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Atlanta GA: Whitman (2008) 432 pp, illus.

Color illustration C18, p 230.
The author performed elaborate research to write this book.
It is an excellent and marvelous book, covering the relationship
between the two men in revealing and thorough detail.  I served as technical editor furnishing the author details on the proper technology of several medallic creations.

Levine (H. Joseph)  Collector’s Guide: Presidential Medals and Memorabilia. Danbury, CT: Johnson & Jensen (1981) 120 pages, illus

Levine TR 1905-2, illustrated p 37, text p 37-39.
I was co-publisher of his with partner Chris Jensen; I compiled
the artist biographies and furnished the photo essay on the
creation of the Reagan Inaugural Medal.

MacNeil (Neil)  The President’s Medal, 1789-1977. New York: Clarkson N.
Potter in Association with the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (1977) 160 pages, illus.
Color illustration facing page 64, text, p 55-62.
As director of research, furnished author with Medallic Art Co.
production  details.

Dusterberg (Richard B.) The Official Inaugural Medals of the Presidents of
the United States, Cincinnati, OH:  Medallion Press, (1971) 106
pages, illus; Second revised edition (1976) 140 pages, illus.

Dusterberg 2, illustrated p 30-31, text p 29-33.
Likewise as director of research furnished details to author who visited the plant in New York City for his research.

Smithsonian Institution.  Augustus Saint-Gaudens The Portrait Reliefs, The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution.  New York: Grossman Publishers (1969) unpaged.  Compiled by John Dryfhout, Preface by Marvin Sadik.

Saint-Gaudens Relief  55
Baxter (Barbara A.)  The Beaux-Arts Medal in America. New York: American Numismatic Society. For Exhibition Sept 26, 1987 to April 16, 1988. 92 pages, illus.
Baxter 78, illustrated p 29, text p 28-31.

Dryfhout (John H.)  The Work of Augustus St- Gaudens. Hanover & London: University Press of New England (1982) 356 pages, illus. Catalogue raisonné of artist’s work.
       Dryfhout 197, p 271.

Vermeule (Cornelius C.)  Numismatic Art in America; Aesthetics of the United States Coinage.  Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1971) 266 pages, 249 illus.
Illustrated p 109, text p 107-111.

Jaeger (Katherine) and Bowers (Q. David)  100 Greatest American Medals
and Tokens. Atlanta, GA:  Whitman Publishing  (2007) 120 pages, color.  Number 27, p 38,

Jaeger (Katherine)  The Guide Book of United States Tokens and Medals.
Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing (2008) 289 pages, color illus.
Illustrated p 198.

Anonymous  Art & Archaeology, vol 8 (July-Aug 1919) p 199.

Description of this medal:

Obverse: Bare head of Roosevelt facing left; legend above
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, below in two lines PRESIDENT OF THE /
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; inscription at right AQVVM / CVIQVE.

Reverse: Eagle perched on rock facing left; legend above
WASHINGTON D C MARCH IV MCMV; inscription left E / PLVRIBVS,
at right VNVM.

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When Medallic Art Company was located in New York City, one-half block from the United Nations Headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan, sculptors and clients often came to our two-story building. They delivered models, or came to talk about pending work.

It was a relaxed time. Often these people chatted with workers in addition to the salesmen or management they came to see. My office was off the showroom so it was easy for a visitor to stick his head in my office to say “Hi.” I enjoyed talking with these highly talented – and successful – people.

The first year I was employed at the firm, my office was behind a door with two of the salesmen, and a couple of secretaries. I was often called upon to meet with one of these people, or their party, to engage in conversation or answer their questions until the art director Julius Lauth or a salesman, or president Bill Louth, became available.

I would go back to my desk and couldn’t resist opening my copy of Who’s Who In America to read how the person to which I spoke was listed. “Wow” I thought. That person is famous!  All the sculptors seemed to be listed. Often a client was the head of some foundation, or the sponsor of some noted medal.

Once I was charged with taking famed artist Andy Warhol on a plant tour. He was commissioned to create a medal and wanted to learn how medals were made.  I came to find the more famous a person was, the more pleasant the conversation became. And I did like to talk about medals and medallic art.

Many sculptors stand out in my mind. Robert Weinman was one. He was in the office frequently. He was the son of famed sculptor Adolph Weinman, who was one of the first sculptors that Medallic Art Company founders Henri and Felix Weil worked with in 1909. Bob Weinman carried on the family tradition and talent as a top sculptor, despite the fact his father didn’t want either one of his two sons to be sculptors, but both Robert and Howard Weinman did.

Ralph Menconi was another frequent visitor. His studio was in New York City across town and he could walk to our plant. He was such prodigious artist, he could make a pair of models in less than a week. He would deliver these to Julius Lauth, they were always “letter perfect” and never needed any touchup to sharpen detail or improve some relief.

Albino Manca was very distinguished, his designs and models were surperb. He had a studio in lower Manhattan, it was more museum than workshop atelier.

Karen Worth came often to the office. Always a delight, she was always dressed as formal and as perfect as her bas-relief models.

Sculptors – I could list dozens more – always liked to examine the medals we had on exhibit in the showcases. These had a variety of styles and subjects, all created by a wide universe of previous medalists. By studying these, artists learned – or at least imagined the technique – of how the original artist accomplished a feature on the model to be rendered into the final medal.

An accomplished medalist, apparently, never stops learning.

The exhibit of the Society of Medalists, however, mounted on two large panels in that New York City showroom that attracted the most attention. And rightly so, for here was the distillation of the major medallic talent of the entire 20th century of American medallic art.

The artists of this medal series were the top of this rare fraternity, those sculptors who could render an idea, a concept, into a three-dimensional model, complete with symbolism and detail to be reduced to the size of a palm of your fist, hand-held miniature sculpture. It was also appealing to view the variety of patinas, each medal bore a different color patina (until the full spectrum of these had be repeated again). But the names of the artists who prepared the issues of the Society of Medalists read like a who’s who of American sculpture of the 20th century. If I had to rank them somewhat in order of fame – a difficult and rather subjective chore – this would be my designation of the top twenty-five artists:

  1. Paul Manship
  2. Herbert Adams
  3. Adolph Weinman
  4. Malvina Hoffman
  5. Anthony di Francisci
  6. John Flanagan
  7. James Earle Fraser
  8. Laura Gardin Fraser
  9. Anna Hyatt Huntington
  10. Lorado Taft
  11. Carl Paul Jennewein
  12. Marcel Jovine
  13. Robert Tait MacKenzie
  14. Robert Weinman
  15. Ralph Menconi
  16. Chester Beach
  17. Alexander Calder
  18. Joseph A. Coletti
  19. Donald De Lue
  20. Edward R. Grove
  21. Walker Hancock
  22. Lee Lawrie
  23. Berthold Nebel
  24. Bruce Moore

Two more American medalists-artists of the 20th century whose names are missing from this list are the greatest American sculptor of all, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and, of lesser stature, Victor David Brenner – both artists noted for their American coin creations – had both died before the Society of Medalists began in 1930.

But it should be well noted that both these artists worked with Medallic Art Company founders Henri and Felix Weil, before they died: Saint-Gaudens for his Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Medal of 1905 and the Benjamin Franklin Bicentennial Medal of 1906 (see Saint-Gaudens Medals Made By Henri Weil of Medallic Art Co.) before his death in 1907 and more than half of Brenner’s medals before he died in 1924.

Medallic Art Company supported the Society of Medalists – even when it may not have been profitable to do so – but it was a dedication to the art that drove the firm to carry forth this series for more than sixty years.  In addition to the two dozen medalists named above, nearly a hundred more were drafted into the fold to exhibit their best medallic creations. There were few rules, just create your best design and render that into a medallic model. Show us your best! 124 artists did just that.

So it can be stated Medallic Art Company reproduced the medallic creations of every major American bas-relief sculptor of the 20th century. Without exception.

That statement should be embedded in the mind of every employee, everyone in the sculpture field, and everyone who comes in contact with a medal made by the firm. No other firm, not even the national Mint at Philadelphia, can come close to that record of sculptural achievement.

The heritage of American medallic art has been advanced by no greater force in America than of the firm founded by two sculptural assistants, Henri and Felix Weil, and thrust into prominence by the Trees family, Clyde Curle Trees, his widow, Frances Kimmerle Trees, and Clyde’s nephew, William Trees Louth.

For the 80 years in which these five art advocates have controlled the company, American medallic art has risen to the prominence unsurpassed in this hemisphere and is on par with the great art elsewhere in the world and the firm is an equal with any similar medallic organization in Europe. Par excellance. Interest in the past issues of the Society of Medalists is at a high point among collectors and art enthusiasts at the present. With proper planning and management this could be a viable new venture to satisfy many hungry desires.

Fame among clients. We should also mention the reputation of the clients of Medallic Art Company. Among the firm’s list of customers of this rare form of art for business or award recognition can be found the top Fortune Five Hundred Firms, the top universities, trade associations and foundations.

Fame, it has been said is fleeting. But working with famous clients and sculptors is an everyday occurrence, commonplace at Medallic Art Company.

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