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Gilroy Roberts


Born in Philadelphia. Attended Corcoran Art School in Washington, D.C. 1939 to 1943. Married to Lillian Sharpless Pancoast November 25, 1927. They had one son. Roberts passed the Civil Service examination for Assistant Sculptor-Engraver and began work June 3, 1936. On January 6, 1938, he began to work as an engraver for the BEP. He was responsible for engraving the plates for a number of stamps. He returned to work for the mint May 1, 1944, and became chief engraver after the death of Sinnock in 1948. Served as Chief Engraver July 22, 1948, to October 8, 1964. He resigned because of ill health in 1964 and became the first Chief Engraver who did not die in office.

Roberts designed coinage for nine foreign countries including the British Virgin Islands, Columbia, Cuba, Denmark, El Salvadore, Haiti, Liberia, Syria and Uruguay.

Roberts designed the obverse of the Kennedy half dollar. His initials appeared on the truncation of the bust. Rumor spread that his stylized initials were a hammer and sickle.

Roberts designed several medals:

Harry S. Truman reverse 1945 & 1949 (USM 132)

Dwight David Eisenhower obverse (USM 133)  first term

Dwight David Eisenhower obverse (USM 134) second term

John F. Kennedy obverse (USM 135)

Lyndon B. Johnson obverse (USM 136)

George M. Humphrey obverse (USM 217)

Douglas Dillon obverse (USM 219)

William H. Brett (USM 317)

Eva Admas (USM 319)

Irving Berlin (1954)

Dr. Jonas Salk (1955) (USM 652)

Winston Churchill obverse (1955)

Louis Dembitz Brandeis reverse (1956)

Admiral Hyman Rickover rev (1958) (USM553)

Ulysses S. Grant (1956)

Robert E. Lee (1956)

Assay Commission 1947 reverse Assay Commission obverses: 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1962 and 1963.

He designed medals on commission for the Medallic Art Company. In 1965 he became chairman of the board of the newly formed General Numismatic Corporation. They offered stock in the corporation to the public. The corporation created the Franklin Mint. Roberts continued to design medals for the Franklin Mint. He served as chairman of the board for the Franklin Mint 1964 to 1972. In 1967 he received the ANA Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture. In 1991 he received the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award.

profile: NSM May 1949 (photo)

bio: CCUS; Fielding; Hessler; P-F; WWA 78; WWAmArt 91 obit: NN 1/11/92; NUM 105 Mar 92 page 411

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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