Not many people understand the connection between Edgar Allan Poe and the City of
Baltimore, home to the 2008 World’s Fair of Money®. But anyone purchasing a 117th
Anniversary ANA Convention medal will own a striking collectible and gain a greater
understanding of Poe’s connection to the city where he lived, wrote, died and was buried.
Artist Jamie Franki conducted countless hours of research on Poe, searching for images
preserved in portraits, daguerreotypes and drawings – as well as numismatic items that may
have celebrated the author and his genius. But for all of his efforts, he found just one lowrelief,
traditional side-view medal of Poe – used as a literary award by the New York Public
Library in the late 19th century.

“This is quite possibly the second medal ever struck with Poe’s image,” Franki said. “This
should give the medal an unusual appeal and make it quite collectible – especially for
anyone who is a fan of Poe or American literature.”

Franki’s design features a three-quarter view of Poe in high relief. The portrait on the obverse
is inspired by an oil painting by Baltimore artist Oscar Halling and “informed by every image I
could find,” said Franki. The word, “Nevermore,” immortalized in The Raven, circles the edge
above Poe’s head and a small incused silhouette of a raven is perched on his signature,
which was taken from an archival scan.

The reverse tells the tale of the annual “Poe Toast,” where for each of the past 59 years on
Poe’s birthday, a black-clad figure visits the gravesite and raises a cognac toast. The toaster
then leaves a half-bottle of cognac and three roses on the grave.

“Poe is an absolutely fascinating person to draw,” said Franki, a coin collector who teaches
art at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. “He was poor, sickly, a substance abuser
and an odd character. His face is asymmetrical; his mouth is at a different angle than his
eyes, and he has a misshapen, sunken nature to his features. I wanted his expression to
reflect his wit and intelligence as well as the somewhat tortured life that he lived. I looked at
so many paintings, drawings and daguerreotypes that I’m confident I produced a pretty
fair likeness of the man.”

Franki acknowledged that artists often pick safer themes for medals, such as landmarks and
architectural features. “But as I researched Baltimore, Poe became my first choice. I felt that
an important consideration in designing a medal is the educational aspect. People already
know about Francis Scott Key and Fort McHenry, but not necessarily about Poe. This medal
can expand people’s perception of Baltimore.”

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Poe also has a numismatic connection. His original grave in Westminster Hall and Burying
Ground is marked by a simple headstone with an engraved raven. But in 1875, a Baltimore
school teacher started a “Pennies for Poe” campaign to raise money for a more
appropriate monument, resulting in the large marble monument where, to this day, visitors
traditionally leave a penny.

Franki said he hopes that the medal will cause people to explore more about the
relationship Poe had with Baltimore and inspire them to read his literature and learn more
about him.
“As a numismatist and collector of commemoratives, I am thrilled at the selection of Edgar
Allan Poe as the subject of the ANA Baltimore medal,” said Executive Director Larry
Shepherd. “This medal is unique and certainly Poe, like many literary figures, was undercommemorated
in numismatics. This is a fitting tribute to our host city.”

Franki, who has designed a number of medals for a variety of organizations, worked as a
Master Designer in the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program from 2004-2006. His designs were
chosen for two coins in the Westward Journey Nickel Series: the 2005 American Bison nickel
reverse, and the 2006 Jefferson 1800 nickel obverse. In addition he designed the new
coaching award for the United States Olympic Committee, which was unveiled in February.
Only 125 ANA convention bronze medals will be struck along with 150 two-medal sets
(bronze and silver) and 125 convention medal badges. Badges sell for $22.00; bronze
medals for $50 and two-medal sets for $65. Pre-orders are being accepted for June delivery
by calling 1-800-467-5725 or visiting

The American Numismatic Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating
and encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its
32,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast
array of programs including its education and outreach programs, museum, library,
publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit

CONTACT: Jay Beeton
Telephone: 719-482-9864