(Philadelphia)—The board of directors of Historic RittenhouseTown, located in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, will award the 2017 David Rittenhouse Award to John Mercanti at its annual gala in May. “The David Rittenhouse Award honors those who demonstrate excellence as it represents one of the many contributions that Rittenhouse made to American History,” said Barbara Rittenhouse, board president. “David Rittenhouse was an amazing man. In his lifetime, he was an astronomer, inventor, mathematician, surveyor, and the successor to Benjamin Franklin as president of the American Philosophical Society. We reserve this prestigious award for those who’ve contributed their talents at the highest level to our nation.”
John Mercanti produced more coin and medal designs than any other employee in the history of the U.S. Mint. He designed the American Eagle platinum obverse and silver reverse; the 50 State Quarters reverses for South Dakota (2006), West Virginia (2005), Iowa (2004), Arkansas (2003), Louisiana (2002), North Carolina (2001), and Pennsylvania (1999), and the following commemoratives:
- 1984 Olympics gold $10 obverse and reverse
- 1986 U.S. Statue of Liberty silver $1 obverse
- 1989 U.S. Congress Bicentennial gold $5 obverse and reverse
- 1990 Eisenhower Centennial silver $1 obverse
- 1991 Mount Rushmore Golden Anniversary gold $5 reverse
- 1991 Korean War Memorial silver $1 obverse
- 1991 USO 50th Anniversary silver $1 reverse
- 1992 Christopher Columbus Quincentenary silver $1 obverse
- 1994 Vietnam War Memorial silver $1 obverse
- 1994 Bicentennial of the U.S. Capitol silver $1 reverse
- 1995 Centennial Olympics silver $1, Cycling obverse, Track & Field obverse
- 1995 Civil War Battlefield silver $1 reverse
- 1996 Smithsonian 150th Anniversary silver $1 reverse
- 1998 Black Revolutionary War Patriots silver $1 obverse
- 2000 Library of Congress bimetallic $10 obverse and silver $1 reverse
- 2000 Leif Ericson silver $1 obverse
- 2001 U.S. Capitol Visitor Center silver $1 reverse
- 2002 Olympic Winter Games silver $1 obverse
- 2002 West Point Bicentennial silver $1 obverse
- 2003 First Flight Centennial 50c obverse
- 2004 Thomas Alva Edison silver $1 reverse
- 2005 Chief Justice John Marshall $1 silver obverse
- 2007 Jamestown 400th anniversary $5 gold obverse
Born in Philadelphia, Mercanti received his artistic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia College of Arts, and the Fleisher Art Memorial School.
Previous recipients of the David Rittenhouse Award have included Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer and planetarium director of the Franklin Institute; Keith Thompson, executive officer of the American Philosophical Society; and Owen Gingrich, professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
The award will be part of a year-long celebration of the 225th anniversary of David Rittenhouse’s being named the first director of the U.S. Mint. (This anniversary, naturally, parallels the Mint’s own 225th anniversary; Historic RittenhouseTown, however, is a separate entity.) It will be presented to Mr. Mercanti on May 17, 2017, for his decades of service and outstanding work as the 12th chief engraver/sculptor of the United States Mint.
Historic RittenhouseTown, a National Historic Landmark District, is an authentic 18th-century, early industrial village and site of British North America’s first paper mill. Six Rittenhouse structures survive, including David Rittenhouse’s birthplace, the 1707 Rittenhouse Homestead. ❑
This post is based on a Historic RittenhouseTown press release.