Ferris Coin Co. Hosting a Coin Design Contest to Honor Local War Hero (Albany.com)

by Joe Legault
Originally appeared on Albany.com

Calling all artists! Ferris Coin Co., the Albany, NY area’s oldest coin shop, is holding a contest to design a silver coin-shaped medallion honoring African American World War I hero Sgt. Henry Johnson. The artists who create the winning designs for the obverse and reverse sides of the medallion will each receive a $1,000 prize.

Who Was Sgt. Henry Johnson?

Sgt. Henry Johnson was an Albany resident who enlisted in the first African American Unit in the U.S. Army on June 5, 1917. For his bravery in World War I, he received France’s highest award for valor, but in his home country, he received no honors or pension. He passed away, destitute, in 1929, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Johnson was recognized for his service to his country many years later. The U.S. government posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart in 1996, the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002, and the National Medal of Honor in 2015.

Participate in the Design Contest

To honor this war hero, Ferris Coin Co. has begun a design contest for a silver coin-shaped medallion (1.5 in, 39 mm) that will celebrate Sgt. Henry Johnson.

The obverse, or front, side should feature an accurate likeness of Johnson based on historical photographs. The image must also include the inscriptions: “Sgt. Henry Johnson,” “Enlisted 05 JUN 1917,” and “Albany, NY.”

The reverse side is open to interpretation but should reflect the concepts of duty, honor, sacrifice, or civic responsibility.

The submission deadline for the entries is April 17, and contestants must be 18 or older to qualify. Entries will be evaluated by an expert jury of esteemed professional artists and a representative of the 369th Veteran’s Association.

Later this summer, 500 of these silver coin-shaped medallions will be made available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the 369th Veteran’s Association Inc., Albany District, a 501(c)3.

Drake NixFerris Coin