First director of the United States Mint, David Rittenhouse, will
be honored on the official medal for the American Numismatic
Association World’s Fair of Money, held Aug. 7 to 11, at the
Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia.
The medal was designed by Jamie Franki, an art professor and
former master designer in the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program.
The piece celebrates Rittenhouse’s contributions to science and
American coinage history. Largely self-educated, Rittenhouse is known
for his skills in astronomy and surveying, and for constructing a
variety of instruments to help him in his work.
“Philadelphia has a rich heritage, not only as the cradle of the
American Revolution, but also as the foundation of our nation’s
coinage,” Franki said. “I endeavored to tie aspects of these two ideas
together in a unique way.”
The obverse of the medal features a portrait of Rittenhouse while
the reverse is reminiscent of the rare 1792 half disme, one of the
first issues of the newly established Mint (with the Mint not yet
operational, the 1792 half disme was actually struck in the basement
of a sawmaker’s shop in Philadelphia). Rittenhouse personally
delivered examples of the new coinage to Thomas Jefferson, and many
were given to dignitaries as examples of minting excellence and
The stars, gears and markings along the obverse rim of the medal
are derived from Rittenhouse’s orrery machines, devices he
painstakingly constructed to create accurate maps of the solar system.
Curved along the edge is a facsimile of the inventor’s signature.
The reverse of the medal depicts an eagle motif.
“Since Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, I placed an
olive branch in the eagle’s beak as a sign of peace; 13 olives on the
branch represent the original colonies,” Franki said. “The typeface I
used is called ‘Benjamin Franklin’ after the great Philadelphian who
coincidentally created legends for the half disme and subsequently for
the Fugio cent.”
The reverse also carries a single star, as does the reverse of the
Franki indicated that he is thrilled to have had the opportunity
to design the official convention medal for the upcoming World’s Fair
of Money, according to an ANA press release.
“It is my hope that bringing together our Mint’s first director
and one of his first coins on a commemorative ANA medal serves as a
reminder of Philadelphia’s importance as a center of numismatics,
culture and patriotism,” Franki said.
Franki will conduct a Money Talks presentation titled “David
Rittenhouse and the 1792 Half Disme” at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug.
11, in Room 104B of the convention center. Franki’s Money Talk will be
followed by a meet-and-greet at 2:00 p.m. in the ANA Area, where he
will be signing the holders for the medal.
One-hundred bronze, 70-millimeter-diameter, serial-numbered medals
will be struck, along with 150 two-medal sets (containing
38-millimeter bronze and silver medals), and 125 38-millimeter badges
with ribbon drape.
Bronze medals will cost $60, two-medal sets are priced at $100 and
badges will cost $25. Those not purchasing the medals at the
convention must add $6.95 per shipment for postage and handling. To
order the medals, telephone 800-367-9723, Ext. 112.
For more information about the World’s Fair of Money, visit www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
For further information about the American Numismatic Association,
call 719-632-2646 or go to www.money.org. ■