Charles Barber came to the United States from England with his family when he was twelve years old. When his father became chief engraver at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1869, he took on Charles as an apprentice. Upon the death of his father ten years later, Barber became the Mint's sixth chief engraver and served in the post until his death in 1917. Over the course of his career, Barber designed around thirty medals, including presidential inaugural medals and American Indian peace medals, as well as a large number of coins produced by the Mint. His designs were influenced by English styles and classical antiquity, and his portraiture frequently earned him praise from his contemporaries and collectors.