E-Sylum regular Dick Johnson has a new role - he's been appointed corporate historian of Medallic Art Company. This press release was issued this week.
Medallic Art Company Appoints Former Employee
as Corporate Historian
Century-Old Company Known for Creating Some of the
Most Noted Medals in America
Medallic Art Company of Dayton, Nevada, has appointed former employee D. Wayne Johnson as corporate historian and senior consultant. The appointment was made by Ross Hansen, company president.
Dick Johnson was director of research with Medallic Art Company from January 1966 until December 1976. In that position he conducted sales research for the great outpouring of medals issued for the 1976 American Bicentennial. He created an archive and cataloged all the firm’s previous medallic issues back to 1906. He also edited The Art Medallist, a company newsletter for collectors and the public. He served as assistant to the president at the time, William T. Louth, for whom he wrote speeches, particularly for the numismatic field.
Since its founding in lower Manhattan at the beginning of the 20th century, Medallic Art Company has replicated the medallic work of the most famous sculptors of America. It had a part in producing a Benjamin Franklin medal for Augustus Saint-Gaudens before the great artist’s death in 1907. That medal was issued by Tiffany & Co., which began a long-term relationship with the firm.
In 1906, the founders of the company imported the first Janvier pantographic reducing machine to America. Because of its superior qualities, this machine was employed to make reductions of models and cut dies and hubs, even for the U.S. Mint – making prototypes of coin models for circulating and commemorative coins – until the Philadelphia Mint acquired a Janvier pantograph of its own.
The two company founders, Henri and Felix Weil, who had served as sculptors’ assistants for more than two decades prior, continued to serve artist friends in their medallic needs. They struck the first medals for the Circle of Friends of the Medallion, and in the decades to follow struck the entire series of medals of more than 125 American artists for the prestigious Society of Medalists.
The firm is also known for creating some of the most noted medals in America: the Pulitzer Prize medal, the Peabody Award medal, and the Caldecott and Lippincott Medals. It has also created inaugural medals for eleven Presidents of the United States.
Ross Hansen, president of Northwest Territorial Mint, LLC, purchased Medallic Art Company on July 10, 2009, and moved all coin and medal production to the Dayton, Nevada facility. The combined operation also has a production and sales facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and sales offices in Federal Way, Washington, Springfield, Virginia, and in the Pentagon, where orders for military medals and challenge coins are received. Northwest Territorial Mint also markets precious metal bullion to investors.
In its 100-year history, Medallic Art Company has been located in four cities at separate times. From its origin in New York City it moved to Danbury, Connecticut, in 1972, and to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1991. In 1997 it relocated to Dayton, Nevada, in the heart of the historic Comstock silver mining area. It currently occupies a massive, 2-story, 118,000-square-foot building.
Dick Johnson, who writes under the name D. Wayne Johnson, is a life-long numismatist. A coin collector since February 1939, he was the founding editor of Coin World in 1960, now in its 50th year. Following his employment with Medallic Art, he formed an art medal dealership in 1977 with medal enthusiast Chris Jensen, and the pair conducted 27 auction sales under the banner of Johnson & Jensen.
Mr. Johnson will retain his position as curator of numismatic art at the Belskie Museum of Closter, New Jersey, to which he was appointed in 2005. This museum is named after Abram Belskie, a sculptor of medallic art and a series of medical medals, all of which Johnson has cataloged.
In November 2008, Mr. Johnson joined with Mark Schlepphorst to form Signature Art Medals to market high quality medallic art. The firm’s first production was a Lincoln/Brenner plaquette honoring the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the centennial of the Lincoln cent. It was struck by Medallic Art Company.
Mr. Johnson is the author of over 200 articles and more than 800 brief items in The E-Sylum, a newsletter in the numismatic field. His more serious work at present is a directory of American coin and medal artists, now numbering more than 3,150 such artists, and an encyclopedia of coin and medal technology with 1,842 major entries.
In serving as corporate historian for Medallic Art Company, one of Johnson’s early priorities in his new position will be to write a history of the company and a catalog of all the firm’s previous medallic issues. Among his most recent work is “Objects of Desire” on medallic objects. It was published in The Numismatist, September 2007.
For more information about Medallic Art Company, visit
For more information about Northwest Territorial Mint, visit
Wayne Homren, Editor
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