Memorial Shrines Series
Copyright © 2004
By D. Wayne Johnson, Editor
COLLECTOR’S GUIDES AND CHECKLISTS SECTION
THE GROUP proposing this medal series, the New York City National Shrines Advisory Board -- for four national shrines in lower Manhattan -- obtained legislation for these medals to be struck at the U.S. Mint. However, these medals were needed in such quick time that their striking was divided between the Philadelphia Mint and Medallic Art Company. The medals were all dated 1965.
Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint, Frank Gasparro(1909-2001) created an obverse design of the Statue of Liberty and his model served as common design for all four medals. He also created the first two reverse models in the series, Federal Hall and the Museum of Immigration.
He assigned the remaining two reverses to other engravers on the engraving staff at the U.S. Mint: Richard Fowler modeled Castle Clinton and Edgar Zell Steever modeled Ellis Island.
The Philadelphia Mint made dies from these models for all four medals in the series and struck coin relief 1 5/16-inch (33mm) medals in silver for public sale. The Mint also struck four medal sets in gold; these were mounted in presentation cases and bestowed to: (1) President Lyndon Johnson, now in his presidential library in Austin Texas, (2) the President of France, (3) the Smithsonian Institution, now in the National Numismatic Collection, and (4) U.S. Mint Director Donna Pope (this set is now in a private collection in North Carolina).
The models were then sent to Medallic Art Company which made dies and struck 2 ˝- inch (64mm) medals in high-relief bronze.