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About this Commemorative

 

Sgt. Henry Johnson Silver Commemorative OBVERSE.
Artwork Pencil, Photoshop, InDesign. By Chris Costello.
© Ferris Coin Co. 2018

 Sgt. Henry Johnson Silver Commemorative REVERSE. Artwork Pencil, Photoshop, InDesign. By  Chris Costello . © Ferris Coin Co. 2018

Sgt. Henry Johnson Silver Commemorative REVERSE.
Artwork Pencil, Photoshop, InDesign. By Chris Costello.
© Ferris Coin Co. 2018

 
 

Commemorative silver Coin-shaped medallion in Recognition of the 100th Anniversary of Sgt. Henry Johnson’s Act of Valor in World War I

In March 2018, Ferris Coin Co. announced a nation-wide competition to design a silver round commemorative medal honoring African American World War I hero, Sgt. Henry Johnson to be struck on the 100th anniversary of his May 15, 1917 act of valor in the Forest of Argonne, France. The contest attracted submissions from across the U.S., including work by several artists whose designs appear on many coins produced by the U.S. Mint.

Entries were evaluated by an expert jury composed of esteemed professional artists and a representative of the 369th Veteran's Association. No identifying information was included in the submission materials presented to the jury. Though the jury was free to select any combination of obverse and reverse designs by any artists, the panel selected a single artist's designs fro both sides. They felt that artist Chris Costello best captured the spirit of Sgt. Henry Johnson's self-less sacrifice for his country and for his fellow soldiers, and that his message best reflected the spirit of the annual Henry Johnson Day and Henry Johnson Award for Distinguished Community Service, awarded by the City of Albany, N.Y. in partnership with the 369th Veteran's Association Inc. Albany District. Ferris Coin Co. is donating 10 silver medals to the 369th for the annual award.

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About The Artist

 Jahkeen Hoke, winner of the second annual Henry Johnson Award for Distinguished Community Service, received a silver commemorative Sgt. Henry Johnson medal along with a certificate and a monetary reward. See:  https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Photos-Albany-marks-2nd-Annual-Henry-Johnson-Day-12970393.php#photo-15673001

Jahkeen Hoke, winner of the second annual Henry Johnson Award for Distinguished Community Service, received a silver commemorative Sgt. Henry Johnson medal along with a certificate and a monetary reward. See: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Photos-Albany-marks-2nd-Annual-Henry-Johnson-Day-12970393.php#photo-15673001

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Chris Costello is a professional graphic designer, illustrator, typographer and Artistic Infusion Program Artist for The United States Mint. He has created illustrations and custom lettering for clients including Random House, Simon and Schuster, Oxford University Press and HarperCollins. His work consistently receives awards for design excellence and has been published in Graphic Design USA awards annuals.

Mr. Costello has created several original font designs and his popular font, Papyrus, is included with Apple and Microsoft operating systems.  As a fine artist, he enjoys drawing and painting historic architecture, landscapes, portraits as well as sculpting in clay and plaster.

Since 2010, Chris has submitted drawings to over 45 United States Mint design programs and was awarded the honor of having his original artwork appear on 23 U.S. coins and medals including one Congressional Gold Medal.

 

 

 
 

Important Dates

Applications Open: March 15, 2018

Application Deadline: April 17, 2018

Winner Notified: april 2018

Winner Announced: May 2018

Contest Rules & Guidelines

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Sgt. Henry Johnson

 Sgt. Henry Johnson circa 1919, wearing his Croix de Guerre. (Photo Courtesy of Johnson family  source: army.mil  )

Sgt. Henry Johnson circa 1919, wearing his Croix de Guerre.
(Photo Courtesy of Johnson family source: army.mil )

On June 5, 1917, Albany resident Henry Johnson enlisted in the first African American unit in the U.S. Army to engage in combat in World War I. In May 1918 Johnson heroically fought off a German raid in hand-to-hand combat, saving the life of a fellow soldier. For his bravery, Johnson received France’s highest award for valor, becoming the first American to receive this distinction. Sgt. Johnson returned to Albany in 1919. Despite having been wounded 21 times, he received no honors from his home country. He died, destitute, in 1929, in his mid-30s. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sgt. Henry Johnson was finally recognized by the United States government for his service to his country when he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002. In 2015 he was awarded the National Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest military honor – by President Barack Obama.

This commemorative coin-shaped medallion offers an opportunity for our nation to recognize the 100th anniversary of Sgt. Henry Johnson’s act of valor, and to honor the spirit of service to community.

 Sgt. Henry Johnson of the 369th Infantry Regiment was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery during an outnumbered battle with German soldiers, Feb. 12, 1919. (Photo: Public Domain   source: army.mil  )

Sgt. Henry Johnson of the 369th Infantry Regiment was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery during an outnumbered battle with German soldiers, Feb. 12, 1919. (Photo: Public Domain  source: army.mil )

Sgt. Henry Johnson statue bust. Arbor Hill neighborhood, Albany, NY. (Photo by Drake Nix Media)

Note: Johnson's regiment — the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, also known as the “Harlem Hellfighters”— wore the French Adrian helmet, not the Brodie helmet (or doughboy helmet).

 
 

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