​​Remembering Engraver Adolf Weinman

Adolph Weinman left a memorable legacy in the halls of
numismatics. Today he is best remembered for his 1916 Mercury or Winged Liberty
Head dime and the Liberty Walking half dollar that debuted the same year. The
last was described as Liberty striding in Mint literature.

An early entry in his art is the inaugural medal he
created for the 1905 second term of President Theodore Roosevelt, one of two
versions created by two different sculptors for this event. Although little has
been found about his activities in coin-collecting circles, his interest in
numismatics is marked by his having been named as a member of the American
Numismatic Society on January 17, 1910. At the time he lived in New York City,
which was also the home of the society.

The American Journal of Numismatics, printed
this in 1916:

“Adolph Alexander Weinman, designer of the new half-dollar
and dime, has kindly furnished the following information as to his course of
study and the work he has so far accomplished:

‘After a five years apprenticeship with Kaldenberg in
carving in wood and ivory, during which period I studied drawing in Cooper
Union, I entered the studio of Philip Martiny, and under him and at the Art
Students’ League I continued my studies for several years. Later I worked as
assistant under Olin Warner, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Charles H. Niehaus and
Daniel C. French.

‘The St. Louis Exposition [1904] offered the first
opportunity for individual work in a commission for a large group ‘The Destiny
of the Red Man.’ Shortly thereafter I won in competition the commission for the
monument to General Alexander Macomb, for Detroit, and following it, the
Maryland Union Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument for Baltimore.

‘Among my most important other works are the Lincoln statue
at Hodgenville, Ky., the Lincoln statue at Frankfort, Ky., decorative sculpture
and statue of Alexander Cassatt, PA Railroad Terminal, N.Y. Sculpture in façade
and surmounting tower of Municipal building, N.Y. Panels in façade of library
of J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq. Monument to Lieut. Col. William F. Vilas, National
Military Park, Vicksburg, Miss. Pediment sculpture in façade, Madison Square
Presbyterian Church, N.Y. Pediment sculpture in façade of Senate wing of
Wisconsin State Capitol, at Madison. Sphinxes flanking entrance to Scottish
Rite Temple, Washington, D.C., and fountains of ‘The Rising Sun’ and ‘The
Setting Sun,’ Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco. Designed
the Gold Medal of Honor, American Institute of Architects, the National
Institute of Arts and Letters, Medal of Awards, Louisiana Purchase Exposition
and the United States Medal for Life Saving on Railroads. Received Silver
Medal, Louisiana Purchase Exposition; Silver Medal, Brussels International
Exposition, 1910; Gold Medal of Honor of Honor for Sculpture, Architectural
League of New York, 1913. Member International Jury of Awards, Panama-Pacific
International Exposition, 1915. Hold office of First Vice-President,
Architectural League; Second Vice-President, National Sculpture Society; Chairman
of School Committee, National Academy of Design; member of National Institute
of Arts and Letters.’”

There is much more that could be said about this
distinguished engraver, and I encourage you to investigate further if this
brief overview has caught your interest.

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