By 1905 dissatisfaction with
bland, lifeless coinage designs prepared exclusively by engravers at
the U. S. Mint in Philadelphia, prompted President Theodore
Roosevelt to commission new coin designs from some of America’s best
artists and medalists. Beginning with sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’
work in 1907, the redesign project outlived Roosevelt, Taft and
Wilson administrations, and World War I to produce new circulating
coins of the highest artistic standards.
Renaissance of American Coinage
1916–1921 describes the
origin, design and initial striking of these small medallic ambassadors.
The story chronicles initial consultation with the Commission of Fine
Arts, bureaucratic confusion, interference by vending machine companies
and newspapers, to last minute alterations, and final production. In
telling this fascinating story, author Burdette reveals long-untouched
correspondence, drawings and models by sculptors Hermon MacNeil, Adolph
Weinman, Albin Polasek and Anthony de Francisci.
Authoritative text, extensive
illustrations and thorough referencing make Renaissance of American
Coinage 1916–1921 the only comprehensive source for this important,
but often overlooked aspect of American art and numismatics. This book
will be of special interest to historians of the early 20th century,
coin collectors and fine art sculptors. It is intended to become a
standard reference for libraries and historical research facilities.
American Coinage 1916–1921
is the first of three books exploring the coinage redesign of 1907-1921.
Companion volumes are expected to be released in late 2005 and 2006.
Burdette is a numismatist and member of the American Numismatic
Association since 1971. He has researched and written numerous articles
for coin collector publications. The results of his research are
incorporated into many of the standard reference books on numismatics
including the Guide Book of United States Coins and United
State Pattern Coins, Experimental and Trial Pieces, 8th
edition. His research is based on original source materials from
multiple public and private archives.