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Archive for the ‘American Numismatic Association’ Category

FOR MORE than ten years I have been studying the future development of the coins and coin denominations of the United States. Our coinage system and the coins themselves drastically need revision. But the institutions which have the power to change our coins have been hesitant to act and we face the most inept situation in that two of our coins now cost more than their face value to make!

At present we have a situation where the zinc industry is lobbying Congress to retain the one cent coin, even though it has passed its time as a viable coin of commerce. The cent coin needs to be abolished, like Canada has done earlier this year. The cent denomination will still exist, transactions can still be made in cents and dollars, it is just the final amount will be rounded off to eliminate any necessary payment of cent coins.

What is needed is to study our entire coinage system with an unbiased view, establish a well thought-out plan, and have this vetted by all organizations and institutions which have an interest in the outcome.

Better yet, invite these organizations to have a part in forming that basic plan. They could be represented on a committee to study and make recommendations for what coin denominations the U.S. Mint should manufacture – and their characterizes.

One of the fields of American commerce with the greatest activity in circulating coins is the vending machine industry. Their trade association would be ideal to be involved in determining what coins would be best for future circulation.

As a numismatist, I would recommend a numismatic association as well.  This is important because there are forces in existence at present which desire to replace coins where all transactions are electronic transfer of payments. This would be a death knell for the hobby of coin collecting which needs new coins issued every year, if only a change of date or mintmark.

I won’t say numismatics is at a crossroad. But it is a serious situation, which, if not confronted, could lead to the elimination of modern coins.  (We would still have ‘old coins” to collect, but new issues keep new people entering the field, as evidenced by the Statehood Quarter series.)

What I propose is to establish a study group – a Committee for Determining America’s Future Coins. The committee would do some creative “think tank” reasoning. Then make a report of their recommendations.

The recommendations can be as specific as metal formulas for coin compositions to reconfiguring new cash registers of the future – where perhaps no one touches the coins, the machine does all that. To perhaps, embedding a microchip in high value coins which records, say, the last ten transactions.

We are in a new century. We need not utilize last century’s coinage system. Below is a letter I have written to the new executive director of the ANA to initiate the formation of this Committee.

An Open Letter to Jeff Shevlin, ANA Executive Director

Jeff Shevlin, Executive Director
American Numismatic Association
818 N. Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO  80903

Dear Jeff:

There are very strong forces in existence today that if allowed to continue will ultimately abolish the need and use of coins. Namely, the electronic transfer of money. If we are to see the continued use of coins in the future  – of viable coin denominations, the continuance of our hobby with new coin issues, and the sheer existence of numismatics! – there are some actions that must be taken fairly quickly to ensure the abolishment of coin issuing will never happen.

Fortunately we have a strong ally, the vending machine industry. While this industry has continued with inadequate coin denominations – and plagued with problems of paper currency in their machines – they are one of the greatest users of coins in our economy. We assume they would want to continue to use coins in preference to any other system of collecting payments for the small transactions generated by their vending machines.

Therefore I propose the ANA, as the largest coin association, join forces with the largest trade association of the vending machine industry for the purpose studying what coins – denominations and specifications – would be the most viable for future use in America. In effect, establish a Committee for Determining America’s Future Coins.

This committee would determine not only what coin denominations are necessary, but also their specifications – composition, diameter, thickness and such. Further, it could make suggestions as to design but the basic factors are the important considerations since designs can change often.

Organizations which have an influence in Future Coins should be represented on this committee:

  • ANA – two members
  • Vending Trade Association  – two members
  • U.S. Treasury Department  – one member
  • U.S. Congress  – one member
  • U.S Mint – one member
  • Futurist Society – one member.

There is one person whose credentials recommend him to be the chairman of this committee. That person is François Velde. He has written a book on the subject of small coins in world coinage systems and is currently Chief Economist, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank.

For ANA to join with a trade association of the vending machine industry to sponsor such a committee would benefit both fields. It would benefit the numismatic field by insuring the continued, well planned, use of coins far into the future. It would benefit the vending machine field by giving them the most useful coin denominations and a time schedule to reconfigure their machines for the most efficient use in the future.

Heretofore the Treasury has made coin decisions on one situation or crisis at a time. This should be replaced by an overall established plan for the most efficient coinage system covering any circumstance in the future. This should eliminate such actions as issuing a dollar coin near the same diameter as a quarter. Or the continued manufacture of cents and nickels costing more to make than their face value.

Can you make an arrangement with the vending machine trade association to form such a committee?

Respectfully,

D. Wayne Johnson

D. Wayne Johnson,
Corporate Historian, Medallic Art Co

Jeff Shevlin and Dick Johnson at the 2010 ANA Boston convention.

Jeff Shevlin and Dick Johnson at the 2010 ANA Boston convention.

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American Numismatic Association Lamp Medal

American Numismatic Association Lamp Medal

FOR one hundred years – a centennial of supreme importance – the Medallic Art Company has had a relationship with the American Numismatic Association. It stands to reason that the premiere firm for manufacturing medals should be closely allied with the premiere collector’s organization of numismatic items.

Company officers have supported the ANA since Edward J. Deitsch first joined in April 1910, earning full membership status in July that year. Edward Deitsch, along with his brother Charles, were New York City businessmen with their own lines of leather goods and jewelry trade items, who had hired Henri Weil to produce silver trimmings for their line of leather purses for the New York carriage trade.

By fate they had imported to America the first die-engraving pantograph, the Janvier, to aid Henri Weil in the creation of those silver decorations. Within a few years, it also put them into the medal business.

Thus, first Edward Deitsch saw the merit of a membership in ANA, then Henri Weil did likewise, once he obtained full control of Medallic Art Company.

Henri applied in February of 1912, receiving full membership in April that year.

At that time three major numismatic organizations were in New York City. In addition to ANA, other numismatic were the American Numismatic Society – more for scholars than collectors – and also the New York Numismatic Club, which was a monthly dinner and gathering of social collectors.

Henri Weil would become a member of all three.

The list below is an attempt to record the MACO – ANA relationship in the people and the medals produced by one for the other. We have learned that the president of Medallic Art Company has been an ANA member almost continuously.

Once William Trees Louth became president of the company, he set a course to actively solicit the national organization’s medal business. In so doing, he achieved remarkable success, and for the period of 1960 to 1986 dominated the production of medals for this organization.

More than that, Bill Louth was highly innovative in creating medals for the ANA. For their 75th anniversary convention he suggested adding a real diamond to their convention badge – a suggestion the general chairman readily accepted. That was in 1966.

In 1969, he suggested a Lady’s Badge in a smaller size and lighter weight. Also, by reducing the convention medal for the Lady’s Badge, he then had two sizes of dies. Why not, he suggested, create a set of the four medals, one bronze and one silver, for each of the two sizes. This became a ready-made collector set that proved to be very popular with the membership, even during the years when the convention badge was made by other firms.

Here, then, is the first half of the list, at least through the administration of Bill Louth. The list for the full administrations of Don Schwartz and Bob Hoff are yet to come.

MACO – ANA Relationship Timeline

1910 (April)  Edward J. Deitsch (first owner of Medallic Art Company) applies for membership in ANA, sponsored by Frank C. Higgins and Edgar H. Adams; accepted and assigned membership number 1364 in July 1910 issue of The Numismatist.

1912 (February)  Henri Weil, founder, Medallic Art Company, applies for membership in ANA, sponsored by Waldo C. Moore and Edgar H. Adams; accepted and assigned membership number 1556 in April issue of The Numismatist.

1924 Medallic Art produces the Moritz Wormser Medal bearing the portrait of the organization’s president, modeled by Jonathan M. Swanson (1888-1963); catalog number 1924-030.

1927 Medallic Art produces the Guttag Brothers National Coin Week Medal, catalog number 1927-036-01; it bears the inscription: COIN WEEK ORIGINATED 1923.

1928 Medallic Art president Clyde Curlee Trees becomes a member, of ANA, membership number 3354.

1948 Dick Johnson (later to become the firm’s first director of research in 1966, and later corporation historian in 2010) joins the ANA with original membership number 17047.

1959 Medallic Art produces American Numismatic Association’s Heath Literary Award Medal, named after the ANA’s founder, George F. Heath; modeled by sculptor Rene Chambellan (1893-1955); catalog number 1959-042.

1960 Medallic Art produces the ANA’s Seal Medal in three sizes; from model by Joseph DiLorenzo (1920-2001); catalog number 1960-027.

1960 On the death of Clyde C. Trees, his nephew, William Trees Louth, becomes president of Medallic Art Co; he also joins ANA receiving membership number 840561.

American Numismatic Association Medal Selection

American Numismatic Association Medal Selection 1960 to 1970

1960 This begins the longest run of ANA convention medals made by one firm – Medallic Art Company – with models by top American sculptors in high quality and innovative medals. This year’s convention medal, 1960 Boston 69th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by Boston numismatist James Ford Clapp Jr., was modeled by Joseph DiLorenzo; catalog number 1960.077.

1961 Medallic Art produced the 1961 Atlanta 70th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by Edwin Harrison, modeled by Curt Beck (1901-1985); catalog number 1961-043.

1961 The Atlanta Coin Club like the convention medal so well, they had one side added to their own for a separate variety, catalog number 1961-043-002.

1962 Medallic Art produced the 1962 Detroit 71st Anniversary Convention Medal, designed and modeled by Detroit sculptor Marshall Fredericks (1908-1998); catalog number 1962-024

1962 Medallic Art in conjunction with a prominent client, Presidential Art Medals sponsor the first of an annual gala gathering at the ANA convention, giving a party favor to each guest who attends, this year a specially-struck Greek Coin Medal, catalog number 1962-119. 

1963 Medallic Art produced the 1963 Denver 72nd Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by Charles Nelson, modeled by Joseph DiLorenzo; catalog number 1963-088.

1963 This year’s ANA convention’s party medal was a 2-inch medal, catalog number 1963-122.

1964 Despite the fact convention chairman Robert McNamara owned his own mint (Heraldic Art) he turned to Medallic Art to produce the 1964 Cleveland 73rd Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by Robert McNamara (1919-1995); modeled by Cleveland sculptor Walter A. Sinz (1881-1966); catalog number 1964-050.

1964 Again, this year’s ANA convention’s party medal was a special large size 2-inch medal, catalog number 1964-135.

1965 Medallic Art produced the 1965 Houston 74th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by Diane Holmes and Doris Martin, modeled by Edward R. Grove (1912-2002); catalog number 1965-108.

1965 Medallic Art suggests an innovation in making a separate medal for exhibitors, the first ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1965-109.

1965 This year’s ANA convention’s party medal was a special large size 2-inch medal, modeled by Ralph Menconi (1915-1972); catalog number 1964-135.

1966 Another new innovation, introduced this year, the American Numismatic Association Past President Medal, with a new obverse modeled by Joseph DiLorenzo; catalog number 1965-145.

1966 The greatest innovation of all for numismatic convention medals – for the diamond anniversary convention – in cooperation with M. Vernon Sheldon, Bill Louth suggests adding a real diamond to the convention medal! Medallic Art produces the 1966 Chicago 75th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed by M. Vernon Sheldon, modeled by Herbert Krammerer (1915-1985); catalog number 1966-101.

1966 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1966; modeled from the convention medal itself also with a real diamond embedded in the obverse; catalog number 1966-102.

1966 This year’s ANA convention’s party medal was a special large size 2 1/4-inch medal, modeled by Ralph Menconi; catalog number 1966-138.

1967 The organization builds its first national headquarters and Medallic Art produces the American Numismatic Association Building Dedication Medal with a stunning medal designed and modeled by Ralph Menconi; catalog number 1967-002.

1967 Medallic Art produced the 1965 Miami Beach 76th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed in shape of a Spanish cob coin, modeled by Margaret Grigor (1912-1981); catalog number 1967-045.

1967 This year’s ANA convention’s party medal was a special large size 1 13/16-inch medal, modeled by Ralph Menconi; catalog number 1967-119.

1968 Medallic Art produced the 1968 San Diego 77th Anniversary Convention Medal, City in Motion theme designed and modeled by John Worthington; catalog number 1968-039.

1968 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1968; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1968-111.

1969 Medallic Art produced the 1969 Philadelphia 78th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed and modeled by Frank Gasparro (1909-2001); catalog number 1969-040.

1969 Bill Louth’s second-greatest contribution is the invention this year of the “Lady’s Badge,” first introduced this year. By reducing the official convention badge to half size from 1½-inch to ¾-inch it becomes suitable for wear by ladies. Also this same ¾-inch medal is struck without loops in both bronze and silver along with the normal size 1½-inch bronze and silver for a special 4-medal ANA Convention set. These all have the same catalog number 1969-040.

1969 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1969; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1969-041.

1970 Medallic Art produced the 1970 Saint Louis 79th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed and modeled by Don Dow (1923-1992); catalog number 1970-057.

1970 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1970; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1970-070.

1971 Medallic Art produced the 1971 Washington DC 80th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed and modeled by Lewis King (1919-1991); catalog number 1971-059.

1971 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1971; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1971-077.

1974 Next innovation:  a special medal for the general chairman of the national convention, the Good Fellow Medal; model by Lewis King; catalog number 1974-113. 

1975 Medallic Art produced the 1975 Los Angeles 84th Anniversary Convention Medal, designed and modeled by Barbara Hyde (1914-1988); catalog number 1975-038.

1975 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1975; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1975-125.

1979 Medallic Art produced the 1979 Saint Louis 88th Anniversary Convention Medal, model furnished by customer; catalog number 1979-088.

1979 Medallic Art produces the ANA Merit of Exhibit Medal, 1979; modeled from the convention medal itself; catalog number 1979-092.

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