Reginald George James Berry OBE was a New Zealand artist, noted for creating a large number of postage stamp and coin designs. He was born in London in 1906, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1925. He went on to become a commercial artist at a Wellington advertising agency, and in 1932 became a freelance artist. His work included book covers and illustrations, but is most famous for more than a thousand stamp, coin and medal designs.
Berry's first successful stamp design was for New Zealand's 1933 health stamp. For the next 20 years he designed a vast majority of the stamps issued by New Zealand. Increasing numbers of stamp issues meant that more artists were subsequently employed, but Berry continued designing stamps into the 1970s. Berry also designed stamps for Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, and Bermuda.
After a lengthy process, Berry was the artist for the final designs selected for New Zealand's decimal coins, introduced in 1967 in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins have been withdrawn from circulation, and the 20-cent redesigned. Berry's 10-cent and 50-cent designs remain in use today, although current coins are smaller than the originals.
Berry died on 6 November 1979 in Auckland.
He is one of the few artists who designed an effigy for Queen Elizabeth II used on official coinage. James Berry's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was used on some New Zealand coins between 1979 and 1982.
For New Zealand, he also designed the reverse of:
- one cent coins issued 1967 to 1988
- two cent coins issued 1967 to 1988
- five cent coins issued 1967 to 2006
- ten cent coins issued 1967 to present
- twenty cent coins (kiwi design) issued 1967 to 1989
- fifty cent coins issued 1967 to present