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GILROY ROBERTS, SCULPTOR OF KENNEDY HALF-DOLLAR, DIES AT 86

 GILROY ROBERTS, SCULPTOR OF KENNEDY HALF-DOLLAR, DIES AT 86
 FRANKLIN CENTER, Pa., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Gilroy Roberts, former U.S. Mint chief engraver and preeminent artist and sculptor, died Sunday, Jan. 26, of complications brought on by recurring pneumonia, at Haverford Nursing Home.
 He was 86 years old.
 Roberts, who was born in Philadelphia on March 5, 1905, was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to head the U.S. Mint's engraving division in 1948. His best known work is the obverse of the John F. Kennedy half-dollar.
 Roberts began his sculpting at an early age, studying under Paul Remy at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. In 1936, Roberts took and passed a competitive Civil Service examination for the position of assistant sculptor-engraver at the U.S. Mint. He was hired June 3, 1936, as Chief Sculptor-Engraver John Sinnock's understudy and continued in that job until Jan. 6, 1938, when he became an engraver in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.
 While serving at the BEP, Roberts did the portraits on a number of official revenue stamps and postage stamps, including the 3 cent Ralph Waldo Emerson stamp and the 1 cent Stephen Collins Foster stamp and the 1 cent Eli Whitney stamp in the Famous American series.
 Roberts again served as Sinnock's assistant at the U.S. Mint from May 1944 until his appointment as chief engraver on July 22, 1948. During his tenure at the U.S. Mint, Roberts designed many coins and medals, including a number of Congressional medals and issues in the Presidential series.
 It was as a medalist that Roberts showed how the art of portraiture on a low-relief, production run model could be perfected. His presidential medal of John F. Kennedy on the U.S. Mint list was personally selected by Mrs. Kennedy following the president's assassination. Roberts' medal was used as a basis for the portrait on the new Kennedy half-dollar, authorized by a Congressional act on Dec. 30, 1963. Working at breakneck speed in early 1964, Roberts used the medallic design and converted it into the well-known, highly revered likeness. Frank Gasparro, who would succeed Roberts as chief engraver, designed the coin's reverse.
 Roberts resigned his position as chief engraver at the age of 59 on Oct. 8, 1964, making him the first chief engraver in the history of the U.S. Mint who did not die in office.
 Upon his resignation, Roberts accepted a position as chairman of the board of General Numismatics Corporation, the forerunner of The Franklin Mint. He served as chairman emeritus for The Franklin Mint until May 1980 and continued to lend his artistic talents and skills to the Mint on a consultant basis until his death.
 On July 7, 1991, the Gilroy Roberts Workshop exhibit at the American Numismatic Association Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., was opened. Roberts had made a permanent loan to the museum of his entire workshop, several hundred plasters and dozens of personal works of art. In addition, Roberts set up a fund to underwrite all costs associated with the exhibit.
 Roberts is survived by his son, John, and sister, Beatrice Herold. Private burial services for family members will be held this week. The family requested no donations or flowers.
 GILROY ROBERTS: WORKS OF NOTE
 COIN DESIGNS
 John F. Kennedy half-dollar, obverse (1963)
 Denmark, 5 kroner (1944)
 El Salvador, 50 and 25 centavos, obverse (1953)
 Cuba, 1 peso, obverse (1953)
 Cuba, 50, 25, 5, 1 centavo coins (1953)
 Haiti, 10 and 5 centime coins, obverse (1958)
 Liberia, $1, 50, 25, 10, 5, 1 cent, obverse (1959)
 MEDAL DESIGNS
 Presidential Series: Harry S. Truman (reverse); portraits of Dwight D. Eisenhower, first and second terms; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson.
 Secretary of the Treasury Series: Portrait of G.M. Humphrey, portrait of Douglas Dillon.
 Director of the Mint Series: Portrait of William H. Brett, portrait of Eva Adams.
 Congressional Medals: Irving Berlin (1954); Dr. Jonas Salk (1955); Sir Winston Churchill, obverse (1955); a medal of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee honoring the surviving veterans of the Civil War (1956); Adm. Hyman George Rickover, reverse (1958).
 PORTRAITS
 Bobby Jones for the American Golf Association; Ben Hogan, Life Golf Tournament portrait; Albert Einstein, Yeshiva University, New York City; Henry Bigelow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Gen. David Sarnoff, Radio Corporation of America medal.
 THE FRANKLIN MINT
 Commemorative Medals: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial; Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew Inauguration (1973); Bicentennial medals (portraits of 30 great Americans, 1976); John F. Kennedy Inaugural 25th Anniversary (1986); Martin Luther King; Malcolm X; Mahalia Jackson; Geoffrey Chaucer; Cardinal Spellman; St. Peter; First Step on the Moon; Sarah Bernhardt.
 Three-dimensional Sculpture: Great American Eagle; four bird groups in pewter; large sundial (on display outside of The Franklin Mint Museum).
 /delval/
 -0- 1/29/92
 /Editors: At the request of Roberts' family, The Franklin Mint has drafted the above obituary. If you have any questions regarding this item or have need of a black-and-white photograph, contact Jack Wilkie or Robin Lynch./
 /CONTACT: Jack Wilkie or Robin Lynch of The Franklin Mint, 215-459-7217/ CO: The Franklin Mint ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA-MK -- PH023 -- 4830 01/29/92 14:49 EST
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