Medal commemorates Nixon’s visit to China 40 years ago

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August 29, 2013 – A Chinese company, an American Mint, leading Chinese medalists, and one of America’s outstanding coin designers have combined their talents to produce a remarkable medal commemorating the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s historic visit to China.
Only 400 serial numbered bronze medals have been produced by the MedalCraft Mint (in Green Bay, Wisconsin) for the Art Medal Communication Center (in Shanghai). Each hefty 3-inch medal consists of two halves, weighing over 10 oz. each (total weight over 1 1/4 pounds).

Peace Medal Nixon half / 3-inches / 10 oz. / Design: Joel Iskowitz / Mintage: 400. Courtesy of Mel Wacks.

The Nixon half features a large high relief profile of President Nixon in a thoughtful repose, with a smaller portrayal of Nixon talking to a young girl together with Prime Minister Zhou En Lai. The Great Wall and flying doves are in the background, and below is the inscription “40 Years/1972-2012” in English and Chinese. It was designed and sculpted by Joel Iskowitz, whose designs have appeared on over two dozen American coins, including the 2009 Lincoln Cent (Professional Life in Illinois) and the District of Columbia Quarter (Duke Ellington). Iskowitz writes in the accompanying brochure “In order to illuminate this momentous event of an extraordinary time, I tried to depict the American President as a reflective and thoughtful man of statecraft, aware of the transformative nature of this historic moment.”

Peace Medal Mao half / 3-inches / 10 oz. / Design: Luo Yonghui / Mintage: 400. Courtesy of Mel Wacks.

The Mao half features an extremely high relief portrait of Chairman Mao Ze Dong, with a smaller portrayal of Mao shaking hands with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; below are flying doves and the inscription “40/1972-2012” in English and Chinese. It was designed Luo Yonghui, who has worked for The Shanghai Mint since 1975, as well as the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation.
In the accompanying brochure, Luo writes that “the Dove of Peace connects two parts of the medal as witness to normalization between China and the United States for 40 years, and as prospect of the future.”

Courtesy of Mel Wacks.

The reverse of the Nixon side and the reverse of the Mao side feature complementary yin-yang designs containing an American flying eagle and a Chinese dragon. The eagle is in relief and the dragon is incused on the Nixon half, and the eagle is incused and the dragon is in relief on the Mao half – so that the two halves fit together snugly to make a single impressive art medal.
The yin-yang sides were designed and sculpted by a team including Long Hu and his wife Lan Xiaomie, along with Lin Feng and Xu Gang. Long Hu is an architect, and has designed over 50 medals; he is a collector as well – owning almost 1,000 art medals. Lan Xiaomie is a city planner, and has contributed to the designs of a number of medals. Lin Feng, who was originally a ceramist, has sculpted over 100 art medals. Xu Gang has loved astronomy since he was a child; his past medallic designs have included the Oriental dragon, the Western Tiger, the 50th anniversary of manned spaceflight, and other bronze medallions about astronomy and aerospace.
Long Hu writes in the accompanying brochure: “The Chinese dragon dances with the American eagle, with each nation’s flag in the background, indicating the normalization of relations between the two great countries. China and the United States have the opportunity to break through some of the difficulties encountered now, to move toward a brighter future.”

The edge of each medal is inscribed “THE MEDALCRAFT MINT BRONZE MADE IN THE USAAMC-21 and the serial number/400.” Each double-medal comes in a custom lacquered box with a color brochure and individually numbered certificate of authenticity. This historic international project was coordinated by Mel Wacks in the United States and Sandy Chai in China.

For ordering the Nixon-Mao double medals please visit Modern Coin Wholesale.

This is the website of MedalCraft Mint.

If you want to listen at what Nixon said about his trip to China in 1972, here are some audio files from the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

Only recently, President Nixon’s trip to China has been retraced by his grandson. Have a look at this NBC News video.