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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 12, March 19, 2000, Article 8


Dick Johnson (who writes under the name D. Wayne Johnson) is nearing completion of a work on all the artists, engravers, diesinkers, sculptors and medalists in America. Johnson was the founding editor of Coin World and later the director of research at Medallic Art Co (where he created the firm's archives and cataloged more than 5,000 of the firm's medallic productions).

The work contains data on more than 2,800 American artists in a databank that is the equivalent of 1,200 pages. Each artist's entry contains brief biographical data, a listing of every documented coin and medal the artist created, numismatic citations, appearances in auction sales, museum collections which contain the item, and references to the artist and the items in numismatic and biographical literature.

The author has found a publisher of high quality art reference books, Sound View Press, of Madison, Connecticut, which has set tentative plans for publishing this work later this year.

"I examined Forrer's Dictionary of Medalists and tried to overcome Forrer's shortcomings,"

Johnson writes.

"I list the items in tabular form and group similar items together, all coins together, all medals in series together, etc. In all there are 25 categories."

"What was surprising, however, was the need to separate out restrikes and reissues, since the art of one item would be used later in another form. An example is Adolph A. Weinman's Liberty Walking design on the 1916 half dollar appearing later on bullion coins. This always occurred after the death of the artist, requiring extensive research on artist's vital data, his date of death being most important."

"I also learned one very important fact -- eighty percent of 19th century American diestruck pieces are unsigned and their creators are unknown. Thus I welcome anyone's contribution of information on the work of any American diesinker engraver that documents unsigned items. I am making every effort to make this book as comprehensive, complete and accurate as possible."

Wayne Homren, Editor

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