October 23, 2012 |
IT WAS 1967. The fabulous '60s were in full swing. Alternative art, long hair, hippies, the Beatles, Vietnam, the burning of draft cards and bras. And Brian Zahn was in an apartment in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood looking at the wild and borderline-obscene drawings of a cartoonist named R. Crumb. Zahn, a visionary artist himself, was passionate about an underground newspaper he wanted to start in his native Philadelphia. He would call it Yarrowstalks, after the sticks used in working the I Ching , the ancient Chinese divination text.
August 15, 2003 |
When the nation celebrates the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009, a new cent may be one of the key parts of the observance. Nothing could be simpler than creating a new cent, right? Not so fast. The present cent has been in production since 1959, the 150th anniversary, and Victor D. Brenner's portrait has been on the cent since 1909, the year the Indian Head cent was replaced. Brenner's stern profile portrait has been so admired that any change in that design will require more than congressional approval.
June 17, 1990 |
In honor of its founder and his vision, the Fleisher Art Memorial will present the first Samuel S. Fleisher Founder's Award to faculty member Frank Gasparro Thursday at the Curtis Center at Independence Square West in Philadelphia. Gasparro, an internationally acknowledged sculptor and medalist, has ties with the Fleisher Memorial both as a student in the 1930s and as an instructor since 1955. Gasparro's father, Bernard, a musician and artist, understood the inconstancy of employment in the art world and warned his son that he would "starve as an artist," Gasparro said.
October 29, 1989 |
"Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds" at the Historical Society of Philadelphia, 1300 Locust St., is of particular interest to collectors of commemoratives, medals and specialized currency. The show celebrates the Marquis de Lafayette's triumphant farewell tour of America in 1824, a procession that took 13 months and produced an outpouring of adulation. Some of that adulation took material forms. Not only were triumphal arches built; industrious Americans also busily produced medals, buttons, ribbons and other memorabilia that have since become collectibles.
November 5, 1989 |
The opening of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, which was damaged in the recent earthquake, produced enormous fanfare in 1936. To mark the event, the U.S. Mint struck a commemorative 50-cent piece designed by San Francisco artist Jacques Schnier. The design made the coin appealing. The obverse showed a California grizzly bear beside the motto that comes to mind when meeting a grizzly: "In God We Trust. " The reverse depicts the bridge seen from the San Francisco side. The popularity of the commemorative led the mint to strike 71,424 coins, and their value has appreciated steadily.
March 29, 1992 |
A security officer at the Philadelphia Mint and a secretary at the mint's Washington public information offices have won the competition to design the medal celebrating the mint's 200th anniversary. Security officer Don Miller's design for the medal's obverse echoes the 1914 painting Inspecting the First Coins. That painting showed an imaginary event with George Washington, his wife and government officials looking at the first coins. Miller, who joined the mint staff in 1989, is retired from the Philadelphia police force.
January 25, 1987 |
The bicentennial of the signing of the Constitution should prove to be a bonanza for collectors. Not only will the U.S. Mint produce a commemorative dollar this year, but the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution has authorized a medal to mark the event. The medal, being issued jointly by the commission and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, has been designed by Italian-born sculptor Marcel Jovine, now a New Jersey resident. The medal is the tenth in the series begun in 1978 by the society to commemorate significant anniversaries in the nation's march toward independence.
August 3, 1986 |
The American Numismatic Association (ANA) gathers this week in Milwaukee for its 95th annual convention. The sessions, opening Wednesday and closing next Sunday, promise to explore significant issues, including those stirred by the new active role in coinage being played by the U.S. Treasury Department. Dealers say 1985 was one of the most active coin investment years in recent history, but a year in which collectors had to compete with major financial institutions for top-grade coins.
December 29, 1988 |
Writer Kiki Olson thumped her chest and said something that sounded like, "Thoooomm. " Engraver Frank Gasparro groped for words and finally declared it was a chill down his spine. Actress Sylvia Kauders declared that it made her think about her family. Meet three members of the secret society of judges for the Mummers Parade. And that's what they're thinking about when they mark their score sheets to pass judgment on 15,000 lavishly costumed Mummers who will propel themselves north along Broad Street Sunday.
January 14, 1988 |
Louis Kahn, a poor kid from Northern Liberties, would travel to South Philadelphia for free art lessons at the Graphic Sketch Club every week from 1916 to 1920. In the 1930s, 13-year-old Filomena Dellaripa would walk all the way from her home at 19th and Mifflin to the Sketch Club at 8th and Catharine. For Frank Gasparro, the club was just around the corner. Louis Kahn, who died in 1974, became a world-famous architect. Dellaripa has taught at a half-dozen renowned art schools.