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Ad Vivum

Ad Vivum.  Latin, to that which is alive; when appearing on medallic items, it literally means modeled from life. John Ray Sinnock (1888-1947), chief engraver U.S. Mint,

was the first to use this term on American medals, on two medals of 1929, a Thomas Edison Plaquette (MAco 1929-057) and J. Ramsay MacDonald Medal (1929-081), both struck by Medallic Art Company. He had two U.S. presidents sit for him, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, and Harry S. Truman in 1945. These portraits were used for the U.S. Mint’s President Medal Series (and Truman’s portrait appeared on a 1948 Annual Assay Medal).

He also had four Treasury Secretaries pose for him – William H. Woodin, 1932, Henry Morganthau Jr, 1935, Fred M. Vinson 1946, and John W. Snyder 1946. Nellie Tayloe Ross also sat for him for her 1933 Mint Director Medal. Later, Carl Paul Jennewein used the phrase on the Truman Inaugural Medal, 1949.  The term appears as part of the signature.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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