Charles Andes

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Charles L. Andes or Chuck Andes (1930 – August 17, 2006) was an American businessman who later in his career made contributions to civic service, most notably as chairman of the Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia. He received the William Penn Award, Philadelphia’s highest honor for business leaders contributing to civic service. Andes was born and raised in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania where his father was a prominent home builder. He attended Swarthmore College and earned a bachelors degree from Syracuse University.


In 1952, he joined Adtech Industries, a direct marketing distributor of specialty advertising products, then became national sales manager of that company in 1956 and its president in 1961.

Andes joined his friend Joseph Segel at The Franklin Mint (a mint producing coinage) in 1967, becoming its first executive vice-president. In 1970, he was named president of its US division, and Franklin Mint stock began to be actively traded on the New York Stock Exchange. When Segel retired in 1973, Andes became CEO and chairman of Franklin Mint Corporation, which by then had expanded internationally and was also producing coin-of-the-realm for several foreign countries.

Under Andes’ direction, sales at The Franklin Mint grew steadily, due largely to a program of product diversification from coins and medals to porcelain, crystal, die-cast collectibles and leather-bound books, while still maintaining its status as the world’s largest private mint.

In 1981, Franklin Mint Corporation was acquired by Warner Communications (the predecessor of Time Warner Corporation). Andes continued as CEO of Franklin Mint Corporation until 1986.

In 1986, The Franklin Institute, America’s oldest science museum, was experiencing attendance and financial problems. Andes, who had previously served on its board, agreed to become its full-time CEO and chairman on a pro bono basis, and he promptly launched the $70 million "Futures Center" expansion program for the institute. Largely through his efforts the necessary funding was raised and the Futures Center was completed in the spring of 1990. Attendance increased from 500,000 to over a million annually, and the Futures Center received outstanding reviews from around the world. Andes also initiated the Bower Awards at The Franklin Institute, which are considered by many to be America’s most prestigious awards for achievements in science.

From 1992 to 1994, Andes served as Ranking Republican Member of The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), the state agency that was charged with financial oversight of the City of Philadelphia and with selling $2 billion of bonds to finance operations in support of Mayor Ed Rendell’s program to bail out the City.[1]

In 1994, after he retired as chairman emeritus of the Franklin Institute, Andes was asked to serve as CEO and Chairman of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, an acclaimed art museum and America’s oldest and most distinguished art school. Andes served for two years in that position.

In 1994, Andes also became the first president of the Eastern Technology Council, an association developed to assist technology companies to develop business opportunities and raise capital. Andes grew the Council from 150 companies to over 1,000 in three years. From 1993 to 1996, Andes participated in venture capital activities with Safeguard Scientifics, founding several companies and serving as a member of the Executive Committee of Technology Leaders Venture Capital Funds I and II

After 1997, Andes assisted many aspiring entrepreneurs and became an investor in seven new enterprises, serving as chairman of two them, Network Direct and Eagle Email.

During his career Andes served on a number of corporate boards, including Fidelity Bank and National Media Corporation, and non-profit boards including the Academy of Music, American Music Theater Festival, National Constitution Center, National Epilepsy Foundation, United Nations Association of the USA, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Union League, WHYY-TV/WHYY-FM and the Wistar Institute.


Andes is remembered by his family and friends for his keen sense of humor. In talking about the success he realized at the Franklin Mint and the Franklin Institute, he said:

There was a sense of mission and excitement at the Mint, and it was the same thing here at the Institute. We were banded together by a common purpose—and by the sheer terror of it all.

He died on August 17, 2006 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Dorothea ("Dottebob"), four daughters, Elizabeth Bell, Susan Frost, Karen Andes and Page Morocco, and five grandchildren.


Over the years, Andes received recognition and awards from many organizations including Man of the Year from Advertising Specialty Guild of America, Annual Entrepreneurs Award from the Area Council for Economic Education, CEO of the year from Financial World Magazine, Exemplar Award from the NAACP, Civic Achievement Award from the American Jewish Committee, Annual Achievers Award from Wheels, Inc., Citations of Merit from The City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Good Scout Award from Boy Scouts of America, Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst and Young and Merrill Lynch, Ten Most Influential Philadelphians Award from Philadelphia Magazine, and the William Penn Award from the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.


  1. ^ Biography, Charles L. Andes, p2