This is the seventh in a series of articles dedicated to congressional gold medals struck by the U.S. Mint:
It isn’t often that the U.S. Mint strikes a modern congressional
gold medal without also producing bronze duplicates for sale to the public.
However, that was the case for the Frank
Sinatra medal, authorized in 1997 and presented posthumously to
Sinatra’s family in 1998.
The Sinatra gold medal legislation recognized Sinatra’s “outstanding
and enduring contributions through his entertainment career and
The medal’s obverse, designed and sculptured by then U.S. Mint
Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti, depicts Sinatra in his 40s in a
familiar pose, wearing a porkpie hat and with his coat slung over his shoulder.
The reverse, by then U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Thomas D. Rogers
Sr., shows two full-length renditions of the entertainer, one in
his 20s, the other in his 60s, along with several lines of lyrics from
his trademark songs.
The U.S. Mint released images of only sketches of the proposed
designs before modifications. Reportedly, no images were taken of the
actual gold medal before its presentation to the Sinatra family.
The Mint delivered the medal to President Clinton on June 4, 1998.
The medal was presented to Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy, the following
day at the Washington, D.C., offices of Rep. Joseph Serrano, D-N.Y.
Originally, reports suggested that production of bronze duplicates
of the Sinatra medal was being blocked by the Sinatra family because
of copyright issues with the designs. Later, the Mint disclosed that,
while some legal and other undisclosed concerns had to be resolved,
the Sinatra family was not blocking bronze medal production.
The Sinatra designs were modeled, dies were cut, and bronze trial
had been made in preparation for full production, but that never
materialized. Whether to produce the bronze duplicates was a
government decision, according to Mint officials. Neither Mint nor
Treasury Department officials ever disclosed why bronze duplicates of
the Sinatra gold medal were never struck.
Currently available bronze duplicates of 3-inch gold medals are
available in 1.5-inch and 3-inch sizes from the U.S. Mint’s website at
Most of the bills authorizing the gold medals give the Mint authority
to strike the collector versions of the medals.
A complete cumulative listing of the medals authorized as well as
the recipients can be found at http://history.house.gov/Institution/Gold-Medal/Gold-Medal-Recipients/.
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