The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 37, September 13, 2015, Article 6


Mark Schlepphorst and Dick Johnson forwarded this press release for his new book of biographies of American Medallists. Thanks, and congratulations! -Editor

Medallic Artists Directory Published

American Medallists Artists of coins and medals are increasingly being recognized in the fields of art, numismatics and art history. Now, for the first time ever, there is a comprehensive listing of these artists: Who’s Who Among American Medallists, by D. Wayne Johnson. author of Monograms of American Coin and Medal Artists.

The directory is a compendium of brief biographies of 4,137 artists. Both live artists, and those of the past, are included for their work in creating the rare form of relief sculpture, often miniature works of art, in the field of numismatics.

Artists – whether engravers, diesinkers, medallists or sculptors – all too often labor in obscurity. Every effort has been made by the compiler to lift that curtain to provide useful biographical data on these unsung heroes for use by authors, catalogers, curators, art historians, others.

Typically biographical entries in this innovative book include dates of birth and death to place the artist in the correct era in which he worked. A death date also indicates, obviously, when the artist stopped work – any piece issued after this is a restrike or reissue.

Other data includes artists’ education, art training, awards, art style and memberships in numismatic and art organizations. This is supplemented with facts about the pieces created by the artist.

While most entries are a paragraph or more in length, some notable artists are covered extensively. The biographical entry for Victor D. Brenner, creator of the 1909 Lincoln cent plus hundreds of medals, occupies eight and a half pages in length.

Brenner’s entry includes a Chronology of the artist’s life and work. There are eight such chronologies in the book, all of which the author has written about previously. These include the Lovett family of engravers, mid-19th century medal engraver for the U.S. Mint, Salathiel Ellis and the Weil Brothers, founders of Medallic Art Company, of which the author is currently corporate historian.

D. Wayne Johnson All artists of American coins are identified in the book. However for medals, and most all tokens, few were signed – the surest form of documentation. Twenty per cent of the numismatic items issued in the 19th century are signed and included in the book. Eighty percent of those issued in the 20th century are identified and listed.

The 388-page book serves as a companion to, a new online resource featuring biographies – and their numismatic works! – of coin and medal artists. It is planned to have all items illustrated in color. Over 6.000 items are currently illustrated.

An introductory section contains a discussion of Art Styles; the author names seven of these employed by artists across the 350 years from the first coin listed, the Pine Tree Shilling, bearing the date of 1652. The book also contains an extensive 69-page bibliography to aid further research identifying sources and for use as a companion to the website.

The hardcover book is published at $65 postpaid in the U.S. It is available from Signature Art Medals, P.O. Box 920, Groton, Mass 01450. The publisher accepts PayPal, personal checks and credit cards at:

Size: 8½ by 11 inches.
ISBN number: 2370000243398.03
Dewey number: 709.22

Dick Johnson 85th birthday cake Family and friends of Dick Johnson celebrated the publication of his book on his 85th birthday with an all-day affair. Hit of the day was a cake with an image of the book cover in icing on the cake. Sculptor friends plus friends from the local coin club attended in addition to family and staff members. Dick had two tables set up of medallic exhibits including medals by the sculptors who attended. Conversations were, of course, on medals and books.

Happy Birthday, Dick! His book is a wonderful compilation of biographic information for medal collectors and researchers. Decades in the making, the cover price is a small amount to pay for ready access to the information. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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