Artist Name

birth6/17/1915 in Union City, NJPortrait of Menconi on medal in his honor
death11/18/1972 in Pleasantville, NJ
parentsRaffaelo E. Menconi and Josephine Zampieri
educationNational Academy of Design
Yale University (BFA)
awards Ellen P. Speyer Award for Original Sculpture
Sculptor of the Year 1970 (ANA)
Freedom Foundation Award
Michelangelo Award
Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement
Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Ralph J. Menconi was born to Raffaelo E. Menconi and Josephine Menconi (born Zampieri) in 1915. With his father a monumental sculptor, the young Ralph Menconi was set on his path to sculpture early. After growing up in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and attending the nearby Scarborough School, Menconi began formally studying art at the National Academy of Design, followed by Yale. He received a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Yale University in 1939.

At age 22, as an apprentice to his father, Menconi created a bronze statue of a young goat, "Mocha," which is in the collection of the Anna Hyatt Huntington Museum in Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina. His other three-dimensional works include a statue of Christ at the Cathedral of Nassau, Bahamas, and large busts and fountains on the campuses of Pace University in NYC and Pleasantville, NY, and DePaul University in Indiana. Beginning in 1951, Menconi and his wife Marjorie Ewen and their children Ralph II and Susan lived in Pleasantville, NY, where Menconi was very active in civic affairs, serving on the village's Board of Trustees and as Police Commissioner. He attached a studio to his early-American house in Pleasantville as a second workspace to supplement his primary studio in Manhattan. His work also includes extensive Biblical sculpture for the reredos of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville.

By the 1960s, Ralph Menconi had achieved a national reputation as a master of high relief portraits. He was much in demand as a designer of medals and plaques, and his work can be found all across the United States. His wood-carved reliefs of William Green and Samuel Gompers are in the main lobby of AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, and his portraits of the seven original Mercury astronauts are displayed near launch pad 4 at Cape Kennedy. His work on the door of St. Joseph's Church in East Camden, NJ depicts the life of the saint. The state of Alaska selected him to create their statehood medal in 1959, and President-elect Richard Nixon chose Menconi to design his inaugural medal, which was featured on the cover of Time magazine on January 24, 1969. He also designed memorial medals for John F. Kennedy in 1964, and Winston Churchill in 1965. Among his more than 900 works, Menconi created medals for the National Book Award, New York University Law School, Kenyon College, Hamilton College, the Capitol Historical Society in Washington, and the New York Historical Society. Ralph was also selected to design the first official medal of the American Bicentennial Commission.

He became known in the art world as the "Sculptor of Presidents" because of an important series of medals he produced commemorating all the Presidents of the United States. Presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon sat personally for him, and President Johnson also commissioned a portrait medal for his own use. Menconi's other well-known medallic series depicted every signer of the Declaration of Independence, and every state in the US, using heroes chosen by the states' historical societies. He also created a very popular series of medals portraying America's Apollo mission in space. At the time of his death of heart disease at age 57, Menconi was nearing completion of a series of medals celebrating the Great Religions of the World.

The American Numismatic Society lists 118 medal designs.

It is fitting that internet searches yield no images of Ralph Menconi himself, only of his works. He is represented by his likeness on a medal issued in his honor.

You can click medals to switch between obverse and reverse sides and drag to see different variants (if there are any).

Hotel Association of New York City - 75th Anniversary1953
RJM-HANYC
Bronze with tan patina

The obverse depicts 1950s street scene with car and generic hotel facade and people. Above, 75 / YEARS; below, 1953; around, CONTRIBUTING TO NEW YORK CITY'S GROWTH AS TOURIST CONVENTION AND TRADE CENTER

The reverse shows a 19th century street scene with old-style hotel facade and horse-drawn coach in front. Above, 75TH ANNIVERSARY; below, 1878; around bottom, HOTEL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK CITY

Established in 1878, the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. is one of the oldest professional trade associations in the nation. As of 2015, its membership included more than 270 of the finest hotels in New York City, representing more than 75,000 rooms and approximately 50,000 employees.

The medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Pangborn Corporation - Fiftieth Anniversary1954
JER-PB50
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse was designed by Joseph E. Renier and bears conjoined busts of founding brothers, facing right. Around, · COMMEMORATING A HALF CENTURY PARTNERSHIP WITH INDUSTRY · / THOMAS W. PANGBORN - JOHN C. PANGBORN; signed at left over shoulder, (JER monogram)

The reverse was designed by Ralph J. Menconi and bears aireal view of the Pangborn facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. Above, FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY / 1904 - 1954; around bottom, PANGBORN CORPORATION · HAGERSTOWN · MARYLAND; under plant, BLAST CLEANING AND / DUST CONTROL / EQUIPMENT

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

The Pangborn Corporation was founded in 1904 when Thomas W. Pangborn developed the process known as sandblasting, which combines compressed air and sand to clean metal by particle impact. He and his brother John co-founded the Pangborn Corporation in 1904 and it has survived to this day, now known as the Pangborn Group.

References: MACo 1954-042

Lock Joint Pipe Company - Fifty Years1955
Bronze

The obverse bears crane holding pipeline segment over already finished pipeline; workers pushing on hanging segment. Above, LOCK JOINT PIPE COMPANY; on left and right, 1905 - 1955; below, FIFTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE.

The reverse bears logo, L / J over pipe; above REINFORCED CONCRETE PIPE; to left and right, WATER / SEWER; below, SUBAQUEOUS.

The edge is marked at 6:00, MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. BRONZE.

During its almost 80 year history, the Lock Joint Pipe Company was a manufacturer of concrete pipes for underground water pipelines. At one point, it was the largest supplier of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe in the United States. The company dissolved in 1984.

The medal measures 75mm in diameter.

References: MACo 1954-007

Michigan State College Centennial1955
MSC-100
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse bears image of Beaumont Tower and old campus. Flanking tower, 1855 / 1955; around, MICHIGAN - STATE - COLLEGE - CENTENNIAL / OF AGRICULTURE AND APPLIED SCIENCE; at lower left, signed RJM.

The medal's reverse bears two grain stalks over Lincoln quote: "It is for us living... to be dedicated here to the unfinished works...."; signature of Abraham Lincoln.

The Beaumont Tower is a structure on the campus of Michigan State University, designed by the architectural firm of Donaldson and Meier and completed in 1928. The 104-foot-tall (32 m) tower marks the site of College Hall, the first building constructed on the campus, as well as, the first building in America erected for instruction in scientific agriculture. Due to poor construction College Hall collapsed in 1918. An 1882 alumni of MSU, John W. Beaumont proposed the construction of the monument to conserve the Campus Circle and serve as a monument to teaching.

The tower, designed in the Collegiate Gothic architectural style, features The Sower, an Art Deco bas-relief by sculptor Lee Lawrie, with the inscription "Whatsoever a Man Soweth" (from Galatians 6:7). This serves as a tribute both to MSU's origins as an agricultural college and to the seminal nature of knowledge.

This medal measures 51mm (2in) in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

I have only ever seen this medal once on eBay and bought it for less than $40.

Wendnagel - 100th Anniversary1956
WN-100
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse shows company's products: a wooden water tank and steel-framed hall, crane with Wendnagel label in front. Above, WOOD TANKS - STRUCTURAL STEEL; to left and right, 1856 - 1956.

The reverse has two rings surrounding center. In center, 100 / YEARS; inner ring contains three "W" letters equally distributed; outer ring, WENDNAGEL - A CENTURY OF SERVICE TO INDUSTRY.

Wendnagel & Co. was originally established in Chicago, Illinois as Louis Wendnagel & Co. in 1856. In 1891, the sons Eugene and William took over and renamed the company to account for the change in leadership. The company specialized on the manufacturing of structural steel and wooden tanks.

The medal measures 73mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Howard S. Cullman Medal1957
HSC
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse bears bust of Howard Cullman. At lower left, HOWARD S. / CULLMAN / (seal of Port Authority of New York ); below truncation, signed R. J. Menconi

The medal's reverse bears legend HOWARD S. CULLMAN / * DISTINGUISHED * / SERVICE * MEDAL; below, laurel branch.

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. NY / BRONZE

Howard Stix Cullman (1891-1972) was born into a wealthy family but became even more wealthy in the tobacco industry. In 1929 he and his brother founded Tobacco and Allied Stocks, Inc. to invest in the tobacco industry. By 1941 they had bought control of Benson & Hedges which they later merged with Philip Morris. He was not the only moneymaker in the family though. His wife, Marguerite, had a talent for picking winning Broadway plays. Once he realized his wife's talent the couple started investing in plays and developed an uncanny track record. During the 1940's and 1950's the couple's success rate was so high that their mere participation in a show guaranteed full funding.

Howard Cullman served as chairman of New York's Port Authority and the organization's major award is named after him.

This circular medal measures 101.4mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1957-040

A good trading range for this medal is probably between $70 and $130.

Pittsburgh Bicentennial1958
RJM-PI
Golden bronze with brown patina

The medal's obverse bears an aerial view of the "modern city of Pittsburgh." Above, PITTSBURGH / BICENTENNIAL / 1758 - 1958

The reverse depicts the plan for Fort Pitt and shows the convergence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers. Also seen are the official seals of the City of Pittsburgh, the County of Allegheny, and the Pittsburgh Bicentennial. Above, THE POINT / and / FORT PITT - 1758; signed below map, RJM / ©58

This handsome medal's obverse shows the city of Pittsbrgh with Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers convergeing in front. The site of Fort Pitt and the city's central business district (The Golden Triangle) and modern skyline are in the background while the reverse goes as far back in the city's history as possible: to the plans for historic Fort Pitt.

The medal measures 73mm (2 15/16in) in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Atlanta Hilton Opening Medal1960
RJM-AHO
Bronze

The obverse bears bust of Conrad Hilton with his signature below truncation.

The reverse bears Hilton crest above two flags, surrounded by stylized laurel. Around top, TO COMMEMORATE THE OPENING; on flags, HILTON / INN; at bottom, ATLANTA · GEORGIA / JUNE · 1960

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

Conrad Hilton (1887-1979) was born in San Antonio to a Norwegian father and a mother of German descent. He originally intended to become a banker but when a planned bank purchase fell through he bought a hotel instead. From these humble beginnings in Cisco, Texas in 1919, he grew the company to the first international hotel chain and eventually owned 242 hotels worldwide.

This is one of five medals the Hilton Hotel chain commissioned from Menconi to commemorate hotel openings. The medals share the same obverse but have different designs for the reverse.

The round medal measures 69.9mm and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1960-080

This medal typically trades on eBay under $40.

U.S. Army Nurse Corps Honor Medal1961
RJM-ANCH
Bronze

The obverse bears bust of female nurse facing left. Around, UNITED STATES ARMY NURSE CORPS / · ADVANCED MILITARY NURSING ·

The reverse bears winged staff insignia of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps with letter N in center. Above, HONOR

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

The U.S. Army Nurse Corps (ANC) was established in 1901 as a permanent corps within the U.S. Army Medical Department. Because of the efforts of Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee and advocates for a professional nursing element within the U.S. Army, legislation was included into Section 19 of the Army Reorganization Act and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in 1901.

The round medal measures 63.5mm and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1961-119

I have only ever seen this medal once, when I purchased it, and cannot provide any guidance on price.

Thomas J. Watson Memorial Merit Scholarship Medal1961
IBM-2
Bronze with sea-green patina, silver-plated bronze

The obverse bears the well-known reverse of the Athenian tetradrachm with owl, olive branch and ΑΘΕ. Around patinated background, - THOMAS J. WATSON - MEMORIAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP

The reverse bears year in center field, 19 / 63; around, - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

The medal was commissioned by IBM as a physical token accompanying the more significant scholarship grant. As of 2014, the Thomas J. Watson Memorial Merit Scholarship awarded $2,000 per year to high achieving children of IBM employees. The grant is renewable for 4 years. Summer internship opportunities are also available to recipients.

The medal was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1961-013

I have only ever seen this medal once, when I purchased it, and cannot provide any guidance on price.

Sir Winston Churchill Medal1965
SWC.1
Bronze
SWC.2
Silver

The medal's obverse bears front facing bust of Churchill in very high relief. Around, SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL; over shoulder, 1874 / 1965; signed under truncation, RALPH J MENCONI / © 1965

The reverse bears view of the British House of Parliament with Tower above seals of U.S. and England.

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE

The medal measures 70.1mm in diameter and was struck in bronze and silver by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

References: Engstrom 31, MACo 1965-154

Thomas Jefferson 1966
by Ralph J. Menconi
SOM-74.1
Golden bronze with clear brown patina
SOM-74.2
Deep graphite brown patina

This medal was chosen as the 74th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1966.

The obverse bears bust of Thomas Jefferson left. Around, beginning of second sentence of the Declaration of Independence in three concentric lines, WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT - THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL / THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS / THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE - LIBERTY - AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS; nder truncation of bust, signed RALPH J MENCONI © 1967

The reverse bears standing Liberty, Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Ayflower at sea, Boston Tea Party with British revenue stamp and coffins of Boston Massacre victims marked CJA, PC, SM, JC, one not visible. Around, THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The medal is of irregular subrounded shape and measures 73mm in diameter. It was produced by the Medallic Art Company of New York which struck a reported 939 pieces in bronze.

SOM-74.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with clear brown patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS ISSUE #74 - 1966, RALPH MENCONI, SC.(C)
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.
SOM-74.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Deep graphite brown patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS ISSUE #74 - 1966, RALPH MENCONI, SC.(C)
MACO-NY-BRONZE
SOM-74 Romance Brochure
Queen Mary - Final Cruise1967
QM
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse shows the Queen Mary during ocean crossing on raised center field. In panel below, QUEEN MARY; in exergue, "THE STATELIEST SHIP / IN BEING"; signed under panel at right, RALPH J MENCONI

The reverse bears ship's coat of arms over globe with superimposed U.S. and British flags. Inscribed under crown, RMS; to left, MAIDEN / VOYAGE / MAY 27 1936; to right, ARRIVED / LONG BEACH / DECEMBER 9 1967; across center, 1001 ROUND TRIPS ON THE ATLANTIC; to left and right of globe, WAR - SERVICE / MARCH / 1940 - SEPTEMBER / 1946 / TRANSPORTED 810,730 / MILITARY / PERSONNEL

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE

The Queen Mary was one of the most luxurious ships of its time. Launched in 1936, she was quickly repurposed as a troop transport in World War II, capable of transporting as many as 16,000 troops at 30 knots, albeit in much less luxurious conditions than before the war. After the war she was restored to her old glory and continued to provide transatlantic service for another two decades. Her final voyage came with the voyage to Long Beach, California, where she now resides as a floating hotel, attraction and event venue.

This little gem of a medal is very reminiscent of the old French ocean liner medals that commemorated maiden voyages or were handed to passengers upon completion of an ocean crossing. It is beautifully executed and has the clear lines and details so typical of Menconi's work.

The medal measures 57mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Richard M. Nixon Inauguration Medal1969
RJM-RMN
Bronze

The medal's obverse bears bust of President Nixon, facing half right. Around, RICHARD ★ MILHOUS ★ NIXON; signed under truncation, RALPH · J · MENCONI · © 1969

The medal's reverse bears Presidential seal in center field. Under eagle's tail feathers, To RN - JN; around, 37TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / ★ INAUGURATED / JANUARY 20TH 1969 ★

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. NY BRONZE

This circular circular medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck in bronze and silver by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Many thanks to CJ Swinko for the excellent photos.

Cadillac Textiles 50th Anniversary1971
CTI-50
Bronze with olive patina

The medal's obverse bears bust of David Schwartz, founder of Cadillac Textiles, Inc. Around, CADILLAC TEXTILES INC.; below truncation, DAVID SCHWARTZ / 1881 - FOUNDER - 1944

The medal's reverse bears a bolt of cloth over textile manufacturing equipment on a woven cloth-textured background. Around, IN CELEBRATION OF OUR; across center, 1921 - 1971 / 50 / YEARS / OF SERVICE TO / THE TEXTILE / INDUSTRY

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. NY BRONZE

David Schwartz started his business career in Paterson, New Jersey in the early 1900s as a textile weaver. At that time Paterson was America's leading silk city. Cadillac relocated from Paterson to Pawtucket, Rhode Island in the late 1920s and switched to synthetic fabrics in the 1930s.

This irregularly circular medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

I have only ever seen this medal once on eBay and bought it for less than $40.

  • Mocha

    Mocha (1937)

    An early work by Ralph Menconi, completed at age 22 when he was working as an apprentice with his father. The work is on display at the Anna Hyatt Huntington museum and shown here under the Museum's copyright.

Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

Research Archives and Websites

Hastings Historical Society
Hastings Historical Society article about his dad and him/