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 Elizabeth Jones  (1935 - )

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/New Jersey / Italy      Known for: medalist-commemorative, portrait

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Revlon Dedication Sculpture
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
 Elizabeth Jones (1935 – ) served as the 11th Chief Sculptor and Engraver of the United States Mint, having been appointed after the retirement of Frank Gasparro in 1981. The first woman ever to hold this post, Jones was a pioneer in the field. Many women’s rights groups have praised Jones as an iconic figure, celebrated for her accomplishments.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, Jones studied painting at New York’s Art Student’s League. She then travelled abroad to Italy to expand her artistic horizons. “In Rome,” Jones has said, “you’re constantly surrounded by sculpture, and after being there for a year or so, I found myself being drawn in that direction as an artist.”

Jones attended the Scuola dell’ Arte dolla Medaglia (School of Medallic Art), which was located inside the Italian Mint. There, she studied relief sculpture, forming a solid foundation for her future career. Upon graduating, Jones set up her own studio in Rome. Word of her technical expertise and natural talent spread quickly, and she received commissions from some of the world’s most prestigious medallic firms—the Franklin Mint, the Medallic Art Company, and the Judaic Heritage Society.

By the time she returned to the U.S., Jones had already established herself as one of the world’s leading medallists. As Gasparro was set to retire in 1981, colleagues urged Jones to apply for the Chief Sculptor and Engraver position at the U.S. Mint. Her talent and distinctive style set Jones apart from the competition, and in 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Jones to this prestigious post.

During her tenure at the Mint, Jones played a vital role in the Commemorative Coin Program. One of her most notable achievements is her equestrian design for the 1982 George Washington Commemorative Half-Dollar. This was the first U.S. commemorative coin in nearly 30 years, and is attributed as the coin that launched the nation’s modern commemorative program. Jones went on to design four other coins: the 1983 Los Angeles Olympics Silver Dollar, the 1986 Statue of Liberty Half Eagle ($5 gold piece), the 1988 Olympic Half Eagle ($5 gold obverse), and the 2001 Capitol Visitors $5 Gold Piece. Three of these coins won the International Coin of the Year Award.

Jones enjoyed abundant success, and throughout her career received several important awards, including being named “Sculptor of the Year” by the American Numismatic Association, receiving the “Louis Bennett Award” by the National Sculpture Society, and having been made an Honorary Life Member of the American Numismatic Association.

After her resignation in 1991, the post of Chief Engraver remained vacant and was eventually abolished until 15 years later, when John Mercanti was appointed, and once again the Mint had an official leader. Jones’s legacy still inspires and influences engravers not only at the U.S. Mint, but all over the world. Her beautiful images have become part of American history, celebrating the nation and the power of numismatics.

"Elizabeth Jones: The First Female U.S. Mint Chief Engraver", Art and Song,

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Elizabeth Jones was a medalist, who spent much of her career in Italy but from 1981 to 1990 was the chief sculptor and engraver for the United States Mint, and the first woman ever selected for that honor. In this capacity, she was dedicated to quality designs of American coins, and her first design was a half dollar honor George Washington's 250th birthday.

In 1957, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, and then studied at the Art Students League for two years. This education was followed by training at the Mint in Rome, Italy, 1962 to 1964. Exhibition venues included Tiffany and Co. in New York and numerous medallic art exhibitions in the United States and in Italy, Spain, France, and Greece.

Among her medallic portrait subjects were Pablo Picasso and Albert Schweitzer for the Franklin Mint. In 1972, the American Numismatic Association voted her the Sculptor of the Year.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Donald Martin Reynolds, "Masters of American Sculpture"

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