First director of U.S. Mint featured on medal for American Numismatic Association’s 121st Anniversary Convention
First director of the United States Mint David Rittenhouse is honored on the official medal for the American Numismatic Association's 121st Anniversary Convention, Aug. 7-11, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia.
Designed by Jamie Franki, an art professor and former master designer in the U.S. Mint's Artistic Infusion Program, the piece celebrates Rittenhouse's contributions to science and American coinage history. Largely self-educated, Rittenhouse is known for his skills in astronomy and surveying and for constructing a variety of instruments to help him in his work.
"Philadelphia has a rich heritage, not only as the cradle of the American Revolution, but also as the foundation of our nation's coinage," Franki said. "I endeavored to tie aspects of these two ideas together in a unique way."
The obverse features a portrait of Rittenhouse while the reverse is reminiscent of the rare 1792 half disme, one of the first issues of the newly established Mint (interestingly, with the Mint not yet operational, the 1792 half disme was actually struck in the basement of a saw-makers shop). Rittenhouse personally delivered specimens of the new coinage to Thomas Jefferson, and many were given to dignitaries as examples of minting excellence and American ideals.
The stars, gears and markings along the obverse rim are derived from Rittenhouse's orrery machines, devices he painstakingly constructed to create accurate maps of the solar system. Curved along the edge is a facsimile of the inventor's signature.
The reverse carries a single star, as does the reverse of the half disme.
"Since Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, I placed an olive branch in the eagle's beak as a sign of peace; 13 olives on the branch represent the original colonies," Franki said. "The typeface I used is called 'Benjamin Franklin' after the great Philadelphian who coincidentally created legends for the half disme and subsequently for the Fugio cent."
Franki is thrilled to have had the opportunity to design the official convention medal for the upcoming World's Fair of MoneySM.
"It is my hope that bringing together our Mint's first director and one of his first coins on a commemorative ANA medal serves as a reminder of Philadelphia's importance as a center of numismatics, culture and patriotism," Franki said.
Franki will conduct a Money Talks presentation titled "David Rittenhouse and the 1792 Half Disme" at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 in Room 104B. Franki's Money Talk will be followed by a meet-and-greet at 2 p.m. in the ANA Area, where he will be signing the holders for the medal.
Only 100 bronze, 70mm, serially numbered medals will be struck, along with 150 two-medal sets (38mm, bronze and silver), and 125 38mm badges with ribbon drape. Bronze medals are $60, two-medal sets are $100 and badges are $25. Add $6.95 per shipment for postage and handling. To order, phone 800-367-9723, ext. 112.
High-resolution images of the medal is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The World's Fair of Money is the nation's premier money show. The event features more than 1,000 numismatic dealers with the best inventory anywhere; the ANA Museum Showcase, exhibiting some of the world's most valuable and beautiful coins and paper money; a Mint Promenade with mints from around the world; the Collector Exhibits area; a major auction by Stack's Bowers Galleries; educational presentations and seminars; and special events including the ANA's annual awards banquet.
Show hours are 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7-10 and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Aug. 11. Admission is $6 for adults, and free for ANA members and children 12 and under. Save $2 on admission by downloading a coupon at www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its 28,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or go to www.money.org.