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Notes on Paper: Joachim Benzing by Gene Hessler


Wrote this back in June, finally posting.
Previous Joachim Benzing LJs

The Great Seal of the United States
PDF: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs


Notes on Paper by Gene Hessler
The Numismatist - Volume 114, Issues 1-6 - Page 413



When coin collectors make reference to the Lincoln Memorial motif on United States money, they generally have in mind the cent reverse that was introduced in 1959. The design, bearing engraver Frank Gasparro's initials, gives this issue its name: the Lincoln/Memorial cent. However, such is not the case for another artist's rendering of the Lincoln Memorial that appeared on United States currency issued more than three decades before Gasparro's appeared and has lasted another four decades afterward.



A vignette of the Lincoln Memorial, engraved by Joachim Benzing, graced all U.S. small-size $5 notes from their introduction in 1928 until they were redesigned with Series 1999. (The new $5 notes also bear a rendering of the Lincoln Memorial.)

Born in Ellicott City, Maryland, on November 19, 1880, Joachim Clarence Benzing was named after his father. He was married to the former Emily Cusworth; their son, Norman Lloyd Benzing, was born in Washington, D.C., in 1908. At 14 years of age, Benzing studied clay modeling with George T. Morgan, medalist and later chief engraver of the United States Mint (1917-25). Benzing learned engraving under James Blakie, and in 1895 he apprenticed at E.A. Wright Company in Philadelphia. Immediately after his graduation from Drexel Institute in 1900, Benzing began his career in engraving at American Bank Note Company.

Five years later, Benzing found himself working at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He was appointed chief of the Engraving Division there in 1933 and retired in August 1943. He died in Florida on January 15, 1970.




Benzing engraved the
portrait of Thomas Jefferson used on all U.S. small-size $2 notes, also introduced in 1928. He created the female head that was chosen for the back of the Series 541 $5 Military Payment Certificates. He also engraved motifs for two Philippine postage issues, rendering a post office for a 4-cent stamp and a rice-planting scene for a 20-cent stamp.