Any help you can provide on the origin or history of this medal
would be appreciated.
Mr. Bassett’s piece is a 1992 bronze medal struck by the U.S. Mint
in honor of the Mint’s 200th anniversary.
The medal was issued in two different diameters — a 3-inch version
and a 1.5-inch version. The Mint no longer sells the medals, but
examples may be found on Internet auction websites such as eBay.
According to an April 20, 1992, Coin World news story:
“Donald Miller, a police officer at the Philadelphia Mint, provided
the winning obverse design and Lauren Vaughan, secretary to the Office
of Public Information at Mint headquarters in Washington. D.C.,
contributed the winning reverse design. Miller’s and Vaughan’s designs
were selected from those submitted in a design competition among Mint employees.”
Frank Gasparro, retired as chief engraver of the U.S. Mint, though
still active, sculptured the original artwork for the obverse, based
on his design for the reverse of the 1965 Assay Commission medal. Mint
sculptor-engraver Thomas Rogers sculptured the reverse.
The obverse of the medal is based on a 1914 oil painting by John
Ward Dunsmore titled Inspecting the First Coins. On the
medal’s reverse, Martha Washington sits before a tray of silver coins
held by Mint Chief Engraver Henry Voigt. She is joined by President
George Washington, Washington’s private secretary Tobias Lear,
Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and Treasury Secretary Alexander
Hamilton and his wife. Mint Director David Rittenhouse offers a coin
from the tray for Martha’s inspection. Mint Engraver Adam Eckfeldt is
shown at right, operating a coin press.
The reverse of the medal features a collage of obverse and reverse
designs of 15 different U.S. coins.
At the bottom of the reverse is the 1792 Silver Center cent
pattern, followed by, in a clockwise spiral path, the Lincoln cent,
Wheat reverse; Jefferson 5-cent coin obverse; Indian Head 5-cent coin
reverse; Winged Liberty Head dime obverse; Roosevelt dime reverse;
Capped Bust quarter dollar reverse; Washington quarter dollar obverse;
Kennedy half dollar obverse; Walking Liberty half dollar obverse;
1776-1976 Eisenhower dollar reverse; 1986 Statue of Liberty-Ellis
Island Centennial silver dollar obverse; Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle
silver dollar reverse; the 1992 Olympic gold $5 half eagle obverse;
and the Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle obverse.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
800-673-8311, Ext. 274.