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Jewish-American medal marks dual milestones

The non-profit Jewish-American Hall of Fame has issued a new medal to commemorate both the 40th anniversary of the group and the 70th birthday of founder and director Mel Wacks.

Limited editions of 120 bronze, 70 pure silver and 18 gold-plated silver medals were produced.

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame is currently the longest series of art medals issued in the U.S. The group says that in addition to being prized by collectors around the world, the pieces can be found in the collections of the British Museum, the American Numismatic Society, Sweden’s National Museum of Monetary History, the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, the American Jewish Historical Society and the Magnes Museum of Berkeley, Calif. The Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques will soon be on permanent exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.

Sales of medals have made possible the award-winning educational Web site, www.amuseum.org, that is visited by more than a million students and others from around the world every year, according to the group.

Wacks founded The Jewish-American Hall of Fame at the Magnes Museum in 1969 to honor the unique contributions made by Jewish Americans to the American way of life.

Wacks has designed the reverses of the medals honoring Houdini, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Elie Wiesel, as well as this 70th anniversary medal. He is an expert in ancient Judaean coins and is the author of The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics. He has been a member of the American Numismatic Association for 50 years and was awarded the Presidential Award at this year’s Los Angeles convention. Wacks has been on the board of the American Israel Numismatic Association for most of the last 40 years and has been serving as president since 2002.

The lifelike portrait of Wacks that appears on this latest medal was sculpted by Eugene Daub, who has sculptures in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the British Museum. He has achieved the highest honors for his medallic art – the ANA’s Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture and the ANS’ Saltus Award.

The high-relief medal measures more than 2 inches in diameter and weighs 3 ounces. It is available on a first come, first served basis. The bronze version is $35, and the pure silver version is $100. The gold-plated medal is sold out.

To order, send payment to Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 5189 Jeffdale Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364, or call (818) 225-1348.

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