Obverse: Profile of President Dwight D. Eisenhower / “Dwight David Eisenhower” / “MCMLIII” / Sculptor’s Mark “W Hancock”
Reverse: Wreath of wheat around the circumference of the medal. Stylized eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, facing the latter / “Inaugurated President of the United States of America January 20, 1953”
Edgemark: “Medallic Art Co. N.Y. Bronze”
Designer: Walker Hancock
Medallist: Medallic Art Company
Mintage: 2 (Gold) / 782 (Silver) / 25,685 (Bronze)
- From 1929 to 1949, the U.S. Mint produced the official presidential medal. Eisenhower’s 1953 medal marks the first occasion that the presidential medal was struck by the Medallic Art Company. Since then, the official inaugural medal has been manufactured by private mints.
- The 1953 medal marks the first time that a silver version was widely circulated to the public. Previously, silver medals were produced in batches of fewer than ten (with the exception of McKinley’s in 1901, with a minting of 55).
- Walker Hancock was chosen by the Inaugural Committee based on his previous work designing military medals.
- According to Hancock, Eisenhower requested that the medal represent “the West of the United States, as he came from the West, the Armed Forces and the Unity of Nations.” Eisenhower further asked that the design be kept simple to avoid “laudatory reference to himself.” Keeping with these preferences, Hancock included a wreath of wheat (representing the West) and an eagle clutching arrows (representing the Armed Forces) and olives branches (representing the Unity of Nations).
- This medal marks the first occasion that an inaugural committee authorized the striking of the medal in multiple commemorative sizes, a practice that continues today.