Meet the Maker – John M. Mercanti

One of the most prolific coin designers in the history of the United States Mint, John M. Mercanti started as an apprentice sculptor-engraver at the organisation in 1974 and then served as Chief Engraver from 2006 to 2010. Since his retirement, the position has remained unfilled.

In a career spanning 37 years, John M. Mercanti has designed and engraved more coin designs than any other engraver in the history of the US Mint. He is arguably the most accomplished of the great engravers to have worked there, with only George T. Morgan, William Barber and Frank Gasparro having had longer careers than him at the mint. Working through a period of revolutionary change and technological advancement, John M. Mercanti also pioneered designing coins using advanced digital computers and artistic editing software at the US Mint.

Meet the maker

Remarkable pieces he has designed and sculpted include the reverse of the hugely popular American Eagle silver bullion coin, as well as significant commemorative coins and medals. Additionally, he also worked on the 50 State Quarters Program produced between 1999 and 2009 that included quarters featuring unique reverse designs representing each US state. His work on the programme included the 2001 North Carolina Quarter paying tribute to aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright along with the 2006 South Dakota Quarter depicting the famous monument Mount Rushmore.

Meet the maker

Known for his attention to detail, historical accuracy and artistic excellence, John M. Mercanti’s work is highly sought after by collectors and investors. For this coin, he has combined more than 50 years of numismatic experience with his unique creative talent to create a symbolic reverse design that commemorates the enduring relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Meet the maker

His design brings together two iconic national symbols, the British lion and the American eagle. In heraldry, a lion represents strength, courage and nobility. Conveying these qualities, lions featured on the Coats of Arms of many powerful families in medieval Europe, including on the shields and standards of British kings and queens. Similarly, the bald eagle has been a national symbol of the US since the eighteenth century. An icon of freedom and strength, its qualities match those of the country it represents – independence, determination and a strong will to survive.


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