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Phebe Hemphill

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Phebe Hemphill
Born (1960-04-25) April 25, 1960 (age 64)
Alma materPennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Known forSculpture

Phebe Hemphill (born April 25, 1960) is an American sculptor who works for the United States Mint. She has been called "one of the preeminent coin artists, sculptors, and engravers of our time."[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Hemphill was born April 25, 1960, in West Chester, Pennsylvania[2] to Dallett Hemphill and Ann Cornwell Hemphill.[3] A number of Phebe Hemphill's family members, including her father and grandfather, were interested in coin and medal collecting.[1] She was directly inspired by her grandfather, Gibbons Gray Cornwell Jr., who did bas-relief sculpture, who in turn was influenced by her great-great aunt, Martha Jackson Cornwell, who worked with Augustus Saint-Gaudens.[4][2]

Hemphill attended Agnes Irwin School for girls in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1978.[5] Hemphill trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, graduating in 1987. She also studied with Evangelos Frudakis.[6] Hemphill includes Jules-Clément Chaplain, Jean-Baptiste Daniel-Dupuis, Oscar Roty, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Adolph A. Weinman among her artistic influences.[1]


In 1987, Hemphill joined the Franklin Mint in the sculpture department. She remained there until 2002, working on porcelain and medallic art. From 2002 until 2005 she worked as a staff sculptor at McFarlane Toys, in Bloomingdale, New Jersey.[2]

In 2006, she joined the United States Mint in Philadelphia.[7][2] She has sculpted many coins and medals for the U.S. Mint, including the 2013 Presidential $1 Coin obverse for William McKinley;[8] the 2011 September 11 National Medal World Trade center obverse;[9][10][11] the Monuments men bronze medal;[12] and coin series of Five-Star Generals,[13] First Spouses[14] and Code talkers.[15][2] United States Mint state quarters including Gettysburg, the Grand Canyon, Mount Hood, and Yosemite are also Hemphill's work.[6]

Hemphill lives in Philadelphia. She frequently visits sites which will be featured in her work, including Shenandoah National Park and the September 11 attack locations.[16][5] She uses both digital and traditional methods in her work, working with 3-D imaging software as well as creating coin designs on clay blanks the size of dinner plates.[17][6]

"The best reason to do traditional work now is the ability to see depth perception ... Since we're working in such shallow relief, it's a very important and viable way to do it."[6]


Hemphill's work has been shown by the National Sculpture Society, the American Medallic Sculpture Association, the F.A.N. Gallery in Philadelphia,[15][6] and West Chester University.[18]


  • 2014, Winner of Congressional Medal Design Contest for the September 11 attacks[5]
  • 2000, Alex J. Ettel Grant, National Sculpture Society[6]
  • 2001, Renaissance Sculpture Award, the Franklin Mint[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Coin Designer's Profile: Phebe Hemphill". CoinWeek. August 26, 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Dick. "HEMPHILL, Phebe (1960– ) sculptor". Medal Artists Database. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  3. ^ Price, Bill (November 5, 1998). "Dallett Hemphill, 74; W. Chester Lawyer". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  4. ^ Leonard, John William (1914). Woman's Who's who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914–1915. American commonwealth Company. p. 207. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Phebe Hemphill '78, Winner of Congressional Medal Design Contest". Agnes Irwin School. September 24, 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Loviglio, JoAnn (December 2015). "PAFA Alum's Creations Right in Your Pocket". PAFA Perspectives. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Medallic sculptors join U.S. Mint staff". Numismatic News. July 21, 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  8. ^ Unser, Mike (December 18, 2012). "2013 Presidential $1 Coin Designs Revealed". Coin News. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  9. ^ Tucker, Dennis (November 10, 2015). "Controversial U.S. Mint Silver Medal Remembers the Victims, Emergency Responders, and Survivors of 9/11". Coin Update. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  10. ^ Gilkes, Paul (September 10, 2014). "U.S. Mint to offer bronze versions of three Fallen Heroes of 9/11 congressional gold medals". Coin World. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  11. ^ Mucha, Peter (June 16, 2011). "9/11 medals from U.S. Mint go on sale Monday". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  12. ^ ""Monuments Men" Bronze Medals". Mint News Blog. October 23, 2015. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  13. ^ Gilkes, Paul (October 30, 2012). "Mint unveils designs for 5-Star Generals coins". Coin World. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  14. ^ Gilkes, Paul (July 9, 2014). "2014 First Spouse gold $10 coins honor efforts of first ladies Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt". Coin World. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Phebe Hemphill". The United States Mint. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  16. ^ Kay, Rhonda (March 31, 2014). "2014 Shenandoah Quarter Bags and Rolls on Sale". CoinNews. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  17. ^ Unser, Mike (September 6, 2013). "US Mint Artists at Philadelphia Sculpt Digitally and in Clay". Coin News. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  18. ^ Quillman, Catherine (March 5, 2000). "Four Local Artists Show Their Work At West Chester University Gallery". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 February 2016.