Men at the Mint: John Mercanti

Posted by Derek Sawchenko on

John Mercanti is nothing less than a superstar in the coin world. Mercanti was born April 27, 1943, in Philadelphia and that is where his legend begins. Mercanti studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia College of Art and Fleisher Art Memorial School, where he gained experience in both sculpting and engraving. Shortly after graduating, Mercanti began his six-year service with the Pennsylvania National Guard. From there, Mercanti advanced into his career at the United States Mint. It was in 1974 at the age of 31 that Mercanti was hired by the mint. His initial job was as an assistant sculptor and engraver and he worked under Frank Gasparro. Mercanti’s first major coin was a $10 commemorative gold coin for the 1984 Olympics. Mercanti is famously known for his work on the Silver Eagle as well as the Platinum Eagle. He was responsible for designing and engraving over 100 coins in his career at the U.S. Mint. It was not until May of 2006 that Mercanti was appointed to the title of Supervisor of Design and Master tooling Development Specialist, and then later in 2009 that he was appointed to Chief Engraver. This is quite the accomplishment as this position, appointed by the president,  had been previously abolished after Elizabeth Jones had retired 15 years earlier. Before his retirement from the mint in 2010, Mercanti had designed and engraved more coin designs than any other engraver in United States Mint history.

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