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The 1961 JFK Presidential Medal – The Basis for the Kennedy Half Dollar Design.

BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,471 ✭✭✭✭✭

I attended my local club’s show last weekend and was able to find something of interest, the 2015 Kennedy Chronicles Set. Although the “low mintage” reverse Proof dollar is supposed to be the star of this set, the only piece that really matters to me is the Kennedy presidential medal in silver because this piece was the basis for the design of the Kennedy Half Dollar.


Today, getting a new coin design up and running fairly fast and easy process. The images are created on a computer and the hardware is cut by lasers. Back in late 1963 and early 1964, creating a new coin design and getting out in circulation was much more difficult. The artist had to come up with a design, fashion it in plaster, create a galvano, reduce it so size on a Janvier machine, create the hubs and dies, and then strike the coins.

All of this usually took several months at a minimum. I have read that the reduction time on the Janvier machine took three to four weeks. Gilroy Roberts and Frank Gasparro had about a month and a half to complete everything. Therefore it is not surprising that they used some of their previous work to complete the job.

Their model was the 1961 presidential medal that Gilroy Roberts designed for the Kennedy presidency. I had known about this previously, but the similarities between the two pieces was driven home by this silver piece. Before this I had only had and seen 1961 medal in bronze. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the obverses.

The reverse, which was based upon the Presidential Seal, was also taken from the tiny rendition of that which appears on the reverse of the medal.

Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?

Comments

  • JazzmanJABJazzmanJAB Posts: 1,026 ✭✭✭✭

    You can tell how they aged Kennedy for the coin design. More lines near eyes & mouth.
    Looks like they "firmed" him up a bit also.
    Better detail overall on coin.

  • KellenCoinKellenCoin Posts: 1,193 ✭✭✭✭

    It is appears he is looking slightly down on the coin, as opposed to up on the medal.

    YN Member of the ANA, ANS, NBS, EAC, C4, MCA, PNNA, CSNS, ILNA, TEC, and more!
    Always buying numismatic literature and sample slabs.

  • CoinosaurusCoinosaurus Posts: 9,614 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We did an online exhibit on the process of creating the Kennedy half -- based on archival documents available on Newman Portal (and prior to that from RWB) -- omeka.wustl.edu/omeka/exhibits/show/nnp-selections/kennedy-halfdollar.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 11, 2017 6:40AM

    PS: The reverse was not adapted from the presidential medal. It was freshly sculpted using an engraving as a model and simplified for quick reductions.

    Prefer the original bronze and the Kennedy family gold.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Inaugural medal is really nice.... definitely not the 'accented hair' variety ;) . I like the finish also... Cheers, RickO

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,471 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here are the JFK inaugural medals they are something different from the presidential medal.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?

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