Official Inaugural MedalArtists & MedalistsBiographies
Atchison, Joseph Anthony (1895- ) Sculptor and painter, he created the Franklin D. Roosevelt Inaugural Medal for the president's second inauguration in 1937. The medal is distinguished by its sunken or incuse design elements. His numismatic creations have not been many but he is also known for his 1948 Babe Ruth medal. Examples of his art are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute and other public institutions.
Bush-Brown, Henry Kirke (1857-1935)
Crain, Darrell Clayton (1879-1969)
Corsault, Jesse Wallace ( - )
Davidson, Jo (1883-1952)
de Weldon, Felix Weihs (1907- ) Felix de Weldon's contribution to official inaugural medals is his design for the 1965 Johnson medal. De Weldon already had an international reputation "as the artist to presidents and kings" by the time he executed the Johnson medal. Born in Austria, he first achieved public recognition as a sculptor there in 1924, when at the age of seventeen, when he won a national sculptor contest. He studied and honed his craft throughout Europe before settling in London where he became the official court artist. Felix de Weldon sculpted members of the Royal Family and many other prominent people in the British society, including Kings George V, George VI and Edward VIII. He was knighted in both England and Italy earning the titled Sir Felix. His first visit to the United States came after traveling to Canada to sculpt Prime Minister Mackenzie. He as so impressed he decided to emigrate. He joined the
United States Marines during World War II during which time in 1945 he began work on his most recognizable work when he transformed the Pulitzer prize winning photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima into the bronze statue in Arlington National Cemetery. The statue took nine years and was completed in 1954. There are over 30 examples of his work in and around Washington, D.C. and although none are numismatic in nature he did sculpt busts from live sittings of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy.
Eliscu, Frank (1912-1996) contributed the reverse for the 1974 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Inaugural medal and both the obverse and reverse designs for the 1974 Nelson A. Rockefeller Vice-Presidential Inaugural medal. He was born July 13,1912 in Washington Heights, New York City to parents of moderate means who encouraged his interest in art. He graduate from high school in 1929 just as the country was slipping into the depression. He took what work he could find even working in a chocolate factory where he could use his sculptor's skills making Easter bunnies. He said of this period "Whatever the job, it was always something where I could use some form of sculpting." It was during this time he got his first paid commission as a professional artist which resulted in an icon that any sports fan would recognize the Heisman Trophy! Of numismatic interest he created the 70th Issue of the Society of Medalists in which he cleverly used green
patina to depict seawater in his seascape design. He also created a two-part medal called Inspiration.
Everhart II, Don (1949- ) Everhart's contribution to official inaugural medals is his design of the 1997 Clinton inaugural medal struck by the Medallic Art Company. He also contributed contending designs for the 2001 inaugural medals. Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1949, his art education ended when he graduated from Kutztown State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After college he began his art career as an illustrator. But, in 1974 he joined the Franklin Mint as Sculptor-in-Residence where he remained until 1980. In that year he established his own studio. Additional medal designs of note include the 1982 Society of Medalists issue "The Dance of the Dolphins" and the Brookgreen Gardens issue "Hermit Crab" in 1991. He also designed the extremely popular 1993 Society of Medalists issue "Dinosaurs; The Fossil Record" which lead to the 1994 Society of Medalists issue "Dinosaurs!" a six medal set of
Prehistoric Fossil Art Medals. Everhardt also served as president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association for the term 1992-1994.
Fraughton, Edward J. (1939- ) Edward J Fraughton executed the designs for the 1981 Reagan official inaugural medal. The Park City, Utah born artist graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1962. He is best known for his western style art having won the National Academy of Western Art's Gold Medal in 1973, 1975, 1977, 1987 and 1993. He also won the silver in 1992. He has exhibited extensively and is a member of the National Sculpture Society. He has completed about a dozen public monuments including the "Spirit of Wyoming," located at the State Capitol, Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also president of Fraughton Foundry, Inc. located in South Jordan, Utah.
Hancock, Walker Kirtland (1901-1998) A note artist who maintained a studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts he created both the 1953 and 1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower Official Inaugural medals. His life's work covers a wide range from the small art medal to a mountain. He was selected by the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Advisory Committee from an international competition held in 1960 as chief carver for the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Georgia. He arrived in 1963, made minor modifications to Augustus Lukeman's designs, commenced carving in 1964 and was finished by 1972. Smaller works, in size but not necessarily importance, are his statues of Douglas MacArthur at the U.S. Military Academy and John Paul Jones in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park. He also created two military decorations, the Air Medal and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.
Harris, Julian Hoke (1906- ) Atlanta artist Julian Hoke Harris executed the design for Georgia born James Earl Carter's official inaugural medal struck by the Franklin Mint. Harris, like Carter, was a graduate of Georgia Tech. Harris earned his degree from Georgia Tech in 1928 in architecture and went on to embrace a career in education, art and sculpture. He returned to Georgia Tech in 1936, where he taught and worked for nearly four decades. During this tenure, Harris created a number of works for the campus, including 10 corbeled heads in the Brittain Dining Hall and bronze gates in the Naval ROTC Armory.
Jennewein, Carl Paul (1890-1978)
Kaufman, Mico (1924- ) Mico Kaufman has had a major impact on official presidential inaugural medals in the last quarter of the twentieth century. He executed the designs for the 1973 Ford Vice-Presidential medal, the obverse of the 1974 Ford Presidential medal, the 1985 Reagan medal and the 1989 Bush medal. He also had contending designs for the 93, 97 and 2001 medals. Born in Romania in 1924 his art career was just beginning to show promise when World War II interrupted. Kaufman was to spend over three long years in Nazi concentration camps before the war ended. After the war he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome for three years before immigrating to Massachusetts with his wife Katia. After many starts, stops and detours along the way Kaufman's career took off as a sculptor - engraver during the numismatic medal boom of the 1960s and early 70s. His numismatic works are numerous having received commissions for
large series including one for over 190 medals for the U.S. Bicentennial. In 1978, the American Numismatic Association recognized Mico as its sculptor of the year. Kaufman's resume also includes monuments, many of which reside in the Tewksbury, Massachusetts area that resulted from encouragement and financial support of local Rotarians. The subjects include the French composer Claude Debussy, a Wamesit American Indian, humanitarian Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
Kilenyi, Julio (1885-1959)
Kraczkowski, Phillip (1916- )
Manship, Paul (1885-1966)
Menconi, Ralph Joseph (1915-1972) Ralph J. Menconi, the sculptor's sculptor, the "sculptor of presidents," executed the design for the 1969 Nixon official inaugural medal. However, it was not this work that earned him the nickname "sculptor of presidents" but the 36 medal series of the presidents he did for Presidential Art Medals. In his career he did nearly 300 medal commissions for Presidential Art Medals, Inc., of Englewood, Ohio including the American Presidents series mentioned above, a 50 medal series of Statehood medals, a 56 medal set on the signers of the Declaration of Independence, 7 Apollo lunar landing medals, and 16 of the projected 25 medals of the Great Religions of the World, a theme of particular interest to him. He was commissioned to design special memorial medals for the Kennedy assassination and a special presentation medal for President Johnson. His work is noted for its realism in extreme high relief. The shear number of models and
medals he created is quite an amazing record that when one considers the velocity at which he produced these medals becomes almost mind-boggling.
Roberts, Gilroy (1905-1992) Roberts' contribution to official inaugural medals was his winning design for the 1973 Nixon inaugural medal. His design won over four other designs submitted in competition for this prestigious commission. Born on March 11, 1905 in Philadelphia, Roberts was destined to have a major impact on American numismatics. Long before designing the 1973 Nixon medal his fame was assured. Beginning in 1936 at the age of 31 he began his government service designing postage stamps and engraving portraits for US revenue stamps at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In 1944, he transferred to the U.S. Mint where he became top assistant to Chief Sculptor -Engraver John R. Sinnock. Upon Sinnock's death in 1947, President Harry Truman chose Roberts to be the new chief and he was named to that position on July 22, 1948. Among his many accomplishments he designed many U.S. Mint Presidential series medals and the Kennedy
half-dollar. On October 8,1964 at the age of 59 he became the first chief-engraver to leave office by means of retirement rather than death. All eight of his predecessors had died in office. Although retired from the government Roberts was no through. He teamed up with Joseph M. Segel, a Philadelphia advertising executive to transform a small company called General Numismatics Corporation into the Franklin Mint, which became the largest private mint in the world. He retired from the Franklin Mint in 1980 but continued to pursue artistic interests until his death January 26, 1992.
Saint-Gaudens, Augutus (1848-1907)
Sinnock, John Ray (1888-1947)
Vickers, Charles L. (1937- ) Well-known sculptor, he created the obverse design for the 2001 George W. Bush Official Inaugural Medal. The Texas-born Vickers moved to the New York area where he undertook an extensive art education. He studied at the Art Students League, Frank Reily School of Art, Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts. In 1976, he relocated to Pennsylvania to join the staff of the Franklin Mint where he rose to the position of Senior Sculptor. In 1986, he resigned this position and opened his own studio. Other numismatic work of note is a four-medal set available at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. He also designed a 1997 Clinton-Gore medal for Hoffman & Hoffman that lost out to Don Everhart's design struck by Medallic Art Co in competition for the official second-term presidential inaugural medal.
Weinman, Adolph Alexander (1870-1925) Adolph Weinman is well known today to numismatists thanks to his designs for the Winged Liberty Head or "Mercury" dime and the Walking Liberty half-dollar whose obverse is still in use on today's one-ounce silver eagles. It was eleven years before his famous coin designs when he was a student of and assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens that he was involved with an official inaugural medal. Not satisfied with the Davison produced inaugural medal in 1905, Theodore Roosevelt had a second medal designed by Saint-Gaudens. The design was done by Saint-Gaudens but it was actually Weinman who prepared the models for the medal. Adolph Weinman produced numerous other medals in his career. Among them where the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Medalists / Mint Histories
Davison (Also: Jos. K. Davison's Sons)
R. Harris & Company
Hoffman & Hoffman, Carmel, California - Established in 1980 by Michael Hoffman as director of marketing and Charles Hoffman as director of operations, Hoffman & Hoffman struck the 1993 William Jefferson Clinton Official Inaugural Medal. The company has several different types of high-speed coining presses and has complete die making capacity for its own medallic art line. The company prepared sample medals for both the 1997 Clinton and 2001 Bush Inaugural medals that were ultimately rejected by the Inaugural Medal Committee. The company also produces tokens, art medals, and casino chips. They supplied the Boston transit authority with 3 million tokens as well as the bridge and tunnel authority in Delaware with 5 million pieces.
Medalcraft Mint, Green Bay, Wisconsin - The Medalcraft Mint struck the 2001 George W. Bush Official Inaugural medal. This venerable 51 year old firm had only recently expanded into the area of fine commemorative art medals. Their successful competition for the Official Inaugural Medal against more established firms marked their coming of age in this new field and firmly established them as one of the leading private mints in the country.
Medallic Art Company
Tiffany & Co.
United States Mint, Philadelphia
Whitehead & Hoag
Official Inaugural Medals
Copyright David W. Boitnott 2001