Dave Bowers published a nice Stack's Bowers blog article this week on Mint Engraver T. James Ferrell. That's Dave's portrait below, not that of Ferrell.
Born in Clayton, New Jersey in 1939, T. James Ferrell graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he pursued studies in painting, sculpture, and graphics. Upon leaving art school in 1963, he worked as an artist on the staff of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for six years. In the decade after his graduation he served as monitor of the Professional Artists' Graphic Workshop at the Academy. He studied art at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania for two years.
Ferrell is a recipient of the Cresson European Traveling Scholarship, the Charles Toppan Prize for oil painting, and for four consecutive years the Lux prize and the Woodrow prize in printmaking. Many institutions and galleries have exhibited his work.
In 1969 he became interested in the new Franklin Mint and joined the staff of medallic artists there, working under Gilroy Roberts, who had earlier served as chief engraver of the U.S. Mint. After a very productive five years designing coins (for foreign countries including Panama, the Philippines, and Egypt) and medals, he became part of management but still worked with artistic concepts in the sculpting and design of hundreds of medals. During his 20-year tenure with the Franklin Mint, he developed an expertise and technical knowledge in the production of coins and medals.
In August 1989 he joined the Engraving Department of the United States Mint in Philadelphia where he sculpted more than 30 coins. One of his early projects was the creation of the Congressional gold medal honoring Jesse Owens, followed in late 1990 by the design of the reverse of the 1991-dated Mount Rushmore commemorative half dollar, and in 1991 by the reverse of the Korean War commemorative silver dollar.
He modeled five Washington quarters in the State Series and over 30 commemorative coins from 1990 to 2004. Some commemoratives include the 1992 Columbus Quincentennial commemorative half dollar obverse, the 1993 Jefferson 250th Anniversary commemorative silver dollar, the 1997 Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial gold half eagle obverse, the 2002 United States West Point Bicentennial commemorative silver dollar obverse, and the 2003 Wright Brothers commemorative silver dollar obverse.
While there was no chief engraver during this time at the United States Mint, T. James Ferrell's light shined as brightly as that of a chief engraver. In 2002 the American Numismatic Association honored Ferrell with its Medallic Sculpture Award.
To read the complete article, see:
Mint Engraver T. James Ferrell
Ferrell passed away in 2020. Here's an excerpt from his online obituary and a link to Dick Johnson's database entry.
Thomas James Ferrell Prominent artist and sculptor/engraver Jim Ferrell, 80, died peacefully in his sleep on May 27, 2020. Jim's artistic talent emerged early in life when he won the Hallmark Honors Prize while still a high school student in Clayton NJ. His outstanding athletic performances as both baseball pitcher and football quarterback for the NJ All State Teams won him a scholarship to Duke University which he turned down in favor of one to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine arts where he concentrated his studies in painting and printmaking. During his time at the Academy he won the coveted Cresson European Traveling Scholarship and numerous other prizes. He also studied at the Barnes Foundation.
After graduating he became a designer/sculptor at the Franklin Mint where he created world currencies including the Balboa gold and platinum coins of Panama, the Philippines and Egypt in addition to countless medals, collectible coins and objects. Chief sculptor for the United States Mint was so impressed with his work that he asked Jim to join the Philadelphia Mint. Jim was well known for his expertise in both design and sculpture and at the United States Mint he created more than 30 coins still in circulation in addition to special memorials and commemorative medals. He also created and sculpted the Congressional Gold Medals honoring Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Ruth and Billy Graham, Pope John Paul ll and Jesse Owens.
To read the complete articles, see:
Thomas James Ferrell 1939 - 2020
FERRELL, T. James
Wayne Homren, Editor
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