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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 10, March 7, 2010, Article 8

MORE ON COIN DESIGNS WITH MULTIPLE SETS OF DESIGNER INITIALS

Regarding coin designs with multiple designer initials on them, Q. David Bowers forwarded the following section from his 1991 book of U.S. Commemorative Coins. Thanks, Dave! -Editor

In connection with the Los Angeles Olympic Games (see historical and legislative commentary under 1983 Olympic silver dollars), gold coins bearing a legal face value of $10 were issued at four mints using the same alloy and specifications as employed for United States $10 issues circa 1838-1933, the first commemorative gold coins to be struck since the 1926 Sesquicentennial $2.50 gold pieces.

The obverse design was modeled at the Philadelphia Mint by staff engraver John Mercanti after a sketch by James M. (Jim) Peed of the Bureau of the Mint's Washington office. Depicted were male and female runners ("Dick and Jane," according to the facetious remarks of some observers including Rep. Frank Annunzio) holding a torch.

Both JM and JP initials appear at the lower left, an unusual double signature, which resulted from a conversation which Mint Director Donna Pope had with the present writer. At the time I was president of the American Numismatic Association (for the 1983-1985 term), and Mrs. Pope maintained an excellent relationship and continuing dialogue not only with the ANA but with numismatic publications and the entire collecting fraternity.

She inquired whether it was accepted practice to include the initials of the designer as well as the engraver, and I cited several examples from history, after which she decided to employ it on the 1984 Olympic gold coins.1 Mrs. Pope feared criticism if she were to defy convention by using a double set of initials, for certain individuals in the government stood ready to find fault with just about anything the Mint tried to do.

The reverse of the 1984 $10 gold coin by John Mercanti illustrated a heraldic eagle adapted from the Great Seal of the United States, a motif similar to that used on numerous regular issue coins from the 1790s onward (most recently on the Kennedy half dollar from 1964 to date).

To read the complete article, see: MORE ON COIN AND MEDAL DESIGNS WITH TWO SETS OF DESIGNER INITIALS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n09a15.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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