No Ordinary Joe: Joseph Menna, Medallic Sculptor

December 10, 2014

Joe MennaJoe Menna joined the roster of United States Mint artists as a medallic sculptor in 2005 following 18 years of professional experience and classical art training. Joe was the first full-time digitally-skilled artist hired by the Mint and his skills in traditional and digital sculpture have helped make the United States Mint a world leader in digital coin design and production. The 2013 Mount Rushmore National Memorial Quarter (shown below) that Joe designed recently won a Coin of the Year Award, an awards program sponsored by Krause Publications, in the category of Best Circulating Coin.

In addition to his work at the United States Mint, Joe maintains an active freelance career and is recognized as one of the world’s leading practitioners of digital sculpture.

Here’s how Joe describes his eight years at the Mint: “I was lucky to be the first digital artist at the Mint and so have had the opportunity to introduce a lot of new techniques and technology to how we make coins. It has been an honor and a privilege, and I only see us continuing to grow in that direction as we move forward in our mission.”

We asked Joe about his own favorite coin and medal designs and what he does when he isn’t working.

Question: Which of your coin or medal designs is your favorite?
Joe: My all-time favorite design and sculpt is the obverse of the Flight 93 Heroes of 9/11 Congressional Gold Medal (shown below).

Question: What has been your favorite coin series?
Joe: My favorite coin series has been the Presidential $1 Coin program. I did the George Washington obverse (shown below), the first one in the series, and have done a few more since then.

Question: What are your interests outside your job at the Mint?
Joe: My main interest outside the Mint is my family. My wife is also an artist and we have three amazing kids. They are my heart and soul.

Joe’s Recent Coin Sculpting and Design Credits:

  • 2014 Presidential $1 Coin – Franklin D. Roosevelt obverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2014 Florence Harding First Spouse Gold Coin obverse and reverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2014 U.S. Marshals 225th Anniversary Commemorative Silver Coin reverse (sculpt)
  • 2014 Native American $1 Coin reverse (sculpt)
  • 2014 American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin reverse (sculpt)
  • 2014 Everglades National Park Quarter reverse (sculpt)
  • 2013 Presidential $1 Coin – Theodore Roosevelt obverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2013 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program – Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine reverse (design and sculpt, shown above)
  • 2013 America the Beautiful Quarters Program – Mount Rushmore National Memorial reverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar reverse (sculpt)
  • 2013 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin gold reverse (sculpt)
  • 2013 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coin silver obverse and reverse (sculpt)
  • 2012 First Spouse Gold Coin – Frances Cleveland (term 2) reverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin gold obverse and reverse (sculpt)
  • 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Program – Acadia National Park reverse (sculpt)
  • 2011 Native American $1 Coin reverse (sculpt)
  • 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program – Vicksburg reverse (sculpt)
  • 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin gold obverse (design and sculpt)
  • 2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coin gold reverse (sculpt)
  • 2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coin clad reverse (sculpt)
  • 2011 First Spouse Gold Coin – Lucy Hayes reverse (sculpt)
  • 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Program – Hot Springs National Park reverse (sculpt)
  • 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Program – Yosemite National Park reverse (design)
  • 2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Silver Dollar reverse (sculpt)
  • 2010 and beyond Lincoln One-Cent Coin reverse (sculpt)
  • 2010 First Spouse Gold Coin – Abigail Fillmore reverse (sculpt)
  • 2010 First Spouse Gold Coin – James Buchanan’s Liberty reverse (sculpt)

Recent Medal Design and Sculpting Credits:

  • Flight 93 Heroes of 9-11 Congressional Gold Medal obverse (design and sculpt)
  • Simon Peres Congressional Gold Medal reverse (design and sculpt)
  • 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims reverse (sculpt)
  • Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Gold Medal
  • Cherokee Nation reverse (design and sculpt)
  • Kiowa Tribe obverse (design and sculpt)
  • Seminole Nation reverse (design and sculpt)
  • Tlingit Tribe observe (sculpt)
  • Tonto Apache obverse (sculpt)
  • White Mountain Apache obverse and reverse (sculpt)
  • September 11 National Medal reverse (sculpt)
  • Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal reverse (design and sculpt)

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