Skip to main content

Pulitzer on new Hall of Fame medal

Pulitzer Vert

A portrait of Joseph Pulitzer based on a painting by John Singer Sargent was created by Eugene Daub for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal.

For 100 years, journalism’s Pulitzer Prize winners have been presented medals with the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Now, at last, medals have been commissioned by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame that feature the portrait of the benefactor who made these awards possible – Joseph Pulitzer.

The Pulitzer medal was designed by renowned sculptor Eugene Daub. The high relief portrait was adopted from a painting by John Singer Sargent, and Pulitzer’s still timely quote is featured on the reverse: “Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.” Medals have been minted by Medallic Art Company, who also produced the original Pulitzer Prize medals in 1917.

The 2-inch diameter Pulitzer art medals are limited to no more than 150 bronze, 75 pure silver (2.5 ounces) and 35 gold-plated pure silver (2.5 ounces) medals, offered for contributions of $50, $200 and $250, respectively, to the non-profit Jewish-American Hall of Fame. Half of the cost may be considered as a tax-deductible contribution.

To order, call 818-225-1348, or send payment to JAHF, c/o Mel Wacks, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364. Mention that you read about it in Numismatic News and you can take a 20 percent discount. Each medal is numbered on the edge, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Joseph Pulitzer arrived in Boston from Hungary in 1864 at the age of 17, his passage having been paid by Massachusetts military recruiters who were seeking soldiers for the American Civil War. Pulitzer was a part of Sheridan’s troopers, in the First New York Lincoln Cavalry in Company L., where he served for eight months. On March 6, 1867, Pulitzer became an American citizen.

Pulitzer was no stranger to anti-Semitism. In his early career as a reporter, he was nicknamed “Joey the Jew.” And when he was the successful publisher of the New York World, Charles Dana, the editor of the rival New York Sun, attacked Pulitzer in print, using derogatory terms like “Judas Pulitzer.” In 1879, Joseph Pulitzer bought both the St. Louis Dispatch and the St. Louis Post, merging the two papers as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With his own paper, Pulitzer developed his role as a champion of the common man, featuring exposés and a hard-hitting populist approach.

The Pulitzer Prizes were established in 1917 by money bequeathed by Pulitzer to Columbia University to recognize artistic and journalistic achievements in the United States. The prizes are given annually to award achievements in American journalism and photography, as well as literature and history, poetry, music and drama. The Columbia School of Journalism opened in 1912, thanks to Pulitzer’s philanthropic bequest.

The Joseph Pulitzer medal is the 48th issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, which is the longest continuing series of art medals currently being issued in the United States. For further information visit

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.

• With nearly 24,000 listings and over 14,000 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.