Archive for October, 2012

Wright Brothers Medal

Wright Brothers Medal

HERE’S a Top Ten Topic that is popular both with medal collectors and medal issuers. Aviation has inspired Americans even before the Wright Brothers momentous event at Kitty Hawk in 1904. As Americans became interested in airplanes, aviators and aviation, their interest in medals honoring these events in the skies have followed.

As a collecting topic it has just about everything a collector could desire. Fantastic medals. Great art. Famous people. Airplane images. Medals bestowed to well-known recipients. Medals in series. Medals of just about every kind. And some really rare items!

It’s a topic to consider in medal collecting whether you’re a frequent flyer or not!

Medallic Art Company has created its share of aviation medals. But when I started cataloging all the medals made by the firm, I choose a term to include more than just airplane medals. I included Balloon flights, preceding heavier than air, under the Aviation umbrella as well. In early 1960s, when all the talk was about space and space flight, I opened that umbrella even wider. The topic category I finally choose was Aviation and Space.

By the time I left the firm in 1977 – and had cataloged 6,121 medals up to that time – the card file was about two inches thick under that topic of Aviation & Space.. With about a hundred cards per inch there were about two hundred medals cited. This included every medal even if just one airplane was included in the air of a scene on the medal.

An airplane is a common device used by artists to fill in a blank sky. If it does not include clouds or birds, it has an airplane. But if the scene was intended to depict an era before 1900 then an airplane cannot be used – that would be incongruous.

But the interest in aviation is so strong that several medal publishers have issued series of aviation medals. President Art Medals of Vandalia Ohio – in the shadow of aviation history of Dayton and the Wright Brothers hometown – issued a popular aviation series. Most of the medals in the series were designed by Milton Caniff, cartoonist of Terry and the Pirates, who was himself an aviation buff. These were struck by Medallic Art Company.

The firm also struck a series of aviation interest, although it bore the name “Medal-of-the-Month Club.” Sponsored by Felicity Buranelli, an early aviation enthusiast, she started the series but was interrupted by World War II, so her ten issues were spread over 24 years. She ended the series with a portrait medal of her brother, Vincent J. Burnelli [he spelled his name different from her’s], a prominent airplane designer who was killed in World War II.

Her series of aviation medals so enthralled numismatist Harry Waterson, he wrote a book on Felicity and her medal series. The Medal-of-T he-Month Club Created by Felicity Buranelli, published 2012. He dug deep and found much background history on Felicity, the medals, and the aviators portrayed on her medals.

Shortly after the Wright Brothers made their flight in 1904, the Chicago Coin Club issued a brief series of aviation medals. In contrast, much later the Franklin Mint issued a Flight History Medal Series and frequently had medals of aviation history appear in its other medal series.

Charles Lindbergh Medal

Charles Lindbergh Medal

So many medals were issued in honor of Charles Lindbergh that it forms a sub-topic of Aviation Medals, if not its own topic. The U.S Mint issued a Lindbergh Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser in 1928. Medallic Art issued Lindbergh Medals by Charles Hinton and Victor Holm. Lindbergh was also the subject on several relief portrait plaques.

Wright Brothers were obviously the subject of many medals. including the most impressive one for the pair’s installation of their busts at the Hall of Fame for Great American at New York University. Their portrait medal in this series was by created by Paul Fjele (MACO 1963-001-044).

Every medal museum and every aviation museum has medals in their collections and often on exhibit. Many of these are recipients’ medals bestowed to prominent achievers in the aviation field.

The list of medals that follows are those of American interest (from listings in my databank of American artists). It is not exhaustive, but I have tried to include something of every type of medallic item. That’s why you will find ingots, book ends and paperweights. I have not included medals issued from other countries, many of which – like Germany and France – were active issuers of aviation medals.

So the collector can be introduced to the broad spectrum of this topic, this list can serve as an enticement. Join in the collecting pool. Dive in and collect aviation medals.

Selected Aviation Medals

From Dick Johnson’s Databank of American Artists Copyright © 2012 By D. Wayne Johnson

1918 Airplane Pilot Badge (by Herbert Adams) Collection: ANS (IECM) 21
Archives: Inventory of Am Sculpture [>1] IAS 74930120
Collection: Institute of Heraldry IAS 74930118
Collection: Fitchburg Historical Soc IAS74930119
1918 Airplane Observers Balloon Observers Badge
Archives: Inventory of Am Sculpture [>1] IAS 74930123
Collection: Institute of Heraldry IAS 74930121
1954 Arnold (Henry H.) Aviation Medal (by Ulric Henry Ellerhusen) MAco 54-21
Society of Medalists:
1942 Society of Medalists 26th Issue.(Man’s Quest for Flight, by Benda Putnam MAco 30-1-26
Auctions: CAL 28:899, CAL 30:26, CAL 31:300-301, CAL 33:3026, CAL 35:2026; J&J 9:390, J&J 11:1046, J&J 23:48; PCA 48:1470, PCA 49:1218, PCA 55:1603,PCA 58:1840, PCA 65:1732, PCA 66:1241, PCA 67:857, PCA 69:1676, PCA72:1784, PCA 74:513,PCA 80:364[silver], PCA 80:1602
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1] 1942.119.1
Collection: Cornell Univ Johnson Art Gallery 326
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) . . . . 1942a
Exhibited: AF6 {1955} F.I.D.E.M. Stockholm (1955) 52
Hall of Fame Series:
1967 Wright (Wilbur and Orville) Medal (by Paul Fjelde) MAco 63-1-44
Auctions: J&J 13:150, J&J 20:105; PCA 52:458[set/94], PCA 65:543[set/94], PCA 80:1732
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1903-12-17c
Exhibited: AE8 {1968} NSS 75th Anniv cat, illustrated 72
Medal of the Month Club Medals:
1941 Wright Brothers Medal (modeled by JulioKilenyi) MAco 41-68, (1)
Auctions: CAL 28:182; J&J 26:461
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1903-12-17
1941 Earhart (Amelia) Medal (modeled by Brenda Putnam) [three reverse die varieties] MAco 41-37, (2)
Auctions: CAL 28:182; J&J 25:140, J&J 26:461
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1937-7
1941 Hawks (Frank) Medal (possibly modeled by Julio Kilenyi) MAco 41-19, (3)
Auctions: CAL 28:182; J&J 26:461
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1938-8-23
Collection: Newark Museum, New Jersey [>1]. 26.2491
1941 Musick (Edwin C.) Medal (modeled by Julio Kilenyi) MAco 41-20, (4)
Auctions: CAL 28:182; J&J 19:796, J&J 26:461
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1938-1-11
1951 Mitchell (William Lendrum) Medal (modeled by Carl L. Schmitz) [two reverse die varieties] MAco 51-33, (6)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1936-2-19
1951 Curtis (Glen H.) Medal (modeled by Carl L. Schmitz) MAco 51-35, (7)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1930-7-23
1957 Sputnick I First Artificial Statellite Medal (modelled by Schmitz?) (8)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1957-10-4
1957 Lahm (Frank P.) Medal (modeled by Carl L. Schmitz) [two reverse die varieties] MAco 57-90, (9)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1963-7-8
1961 First Manned Orbital Space Flight Medal. (10)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1961-4-12
1962 First United States Manned Orbital Space Flight Medal (obv port John H. Glenn Junior; modeled by Edmondo Quattrocci) MAco 62-89, (11)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1962-2-20d
1965 Burnelli (Vincent J.) Medal (obv modeled by Edmondo Quattrocchi; rev by Joseph Di Lorenzo) MAco 65-65, (12)
Auctions: CAL 28:182; J&J 16:1240
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1964-6-22
Presidential Art Aviation Hall of Fame Series:
(Struck first by Medallic Art Co, then by Art Medals Inc; some portraits were designed by Milton Caniff; models by Rolf Beck.)
1971 Rickenbecker (Edward V.) Medal MAco 71-83-1, (1)
Auctions: J&J 11:213-214
1971 Doolittle (James Harold) Medal MAco 71-83-2, (2)
Auctions: J&J 11:213
1972 Lindbergh (Charles A.) Medal MAco 71-83-3, (3)
Auctions: J&J 11:214, J&J 11:218
1972 Cochran (Jacqueline) Medal MAco 71-83-4, (4)
1972 Earhart (Amelia) Medal MAco 71-83-5, (5)
Auctions: J&J 11:214, J&J 11:217
1972 Allen (William McPherson) Medal (portrait by Milton Caniff, modeled by Beck) MAco 71-83-6, (6)
Auctions: J&J 11:214
1972 Loening (Grover) Medal (portrait by Milton Caniff, modeled by Beck) MAco 71-83-7, (7)
1972 Kenney (George Churchill) Medal MAco 71-83-8, (8)
1973 Wright (Orville) Medal MAco 71-83-9, (9)
Auctions: J&J 11:213-216
1973 Wright (Wilbur) Medal MAco 71-83-10, (10)
Auctions: J&J 11:213-215
Complete Set of 11 medals:
Auctions: PCA 67:939, PCA 81:1928
Groups of less than Seven medals:
Auctions: J&J 11:214-215, J&J 14:504; CAL 33:1413
American Heritage Medallic Treasury of Am History Series:
1971 Lindbergh Solos to Paris 1927 Medal (by William Shoyer) FM AHS-15
Flight History Series:
1977 Biplane: World’s First Regularly Scheduled Airline Medal (by James Licaretz) FM FHS
National Commemorative Society Series:
1965 Wright Brothers Medal (by Albino Manca). . . . . . . .FM NCS-15
Auctions: J&J 16:1241
Collection: American Numismatic Society 1966.24.1
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1903-12-17b
1908 Aero Club of America Wright Brothers Medal (struck at U.S. Mint; Charles Barber copied Victor Brenner’s portraits on this by reversing the brothers for his 1909 Congressional Medal) ANS (IECM) 65, Smedley 81, Hahlo 107, 109; Baxter 134
Auctions: J&J 26:446
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] 0000.999.6798
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1909-6-10
Collection: Smithsonian National Numismatic 381:300
Illustrated: The Numismatist 22:5 (May 1909) p134
Illustrated: F28b {1913} Kellog (2 October 1915) p22
Illustrated: van Alfen ANS Magazine 2:3 (Winter 2003) p68
Photo: Smithsonian Photo Archives Image J0123366
1909 Wright Brothers Plaquette (Mint Cat 343:55misattributes to Barber; obv only by Charles E. Barber, rev by Morgan) List 639, ANS (IECM) 19, 20; Baxter 211
Auctions: CAL 28:175; J&J 16:1218, J&J 19:1249, J&J 23:886
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] 0000.999.45925
Collection: Cornell Univ Johnson Art Gallery 289
Collection: Smithsonian National Numismatic 343:55
Illustrated: The Numismatist 22:8 (August 1909) p231
Illustrated: Jaeger M61 {2008} U.S. Tokens, Medals, p128
1910 Progress in Aviation Medal (designed by Carl Schrieber as partof a Medallic Series. issued by Chicago Numismatic Society, struck by Whitehead & Hoag) Malpas 186
Auctions: J&J 15:23, J&J 17:607; CAL 32:1648, CAL 35:416; PCA 66:418, PCA 72:717
Collection: American Numismatic Society 1914.271.7
1912 Aviation Medal (struck by Paris Mint (by Francois Montagny))
Auctions: PCA 66:422
Collection: Cornell University Johnson Art Gallery 280
1918 Albert and Elizabeth Aerial Crossing of English Channel Medal (by Theodore Spicer-Simpson; struck by Medallic Art Co; issued by American Numismatic Society) [first time royalty travels by airplane: Belgian king & queen to attend King George and Queen Mary’s 25th wedding anniversary] MAco 18-9, Johnson 32, Baxter 282, Storer 960, Eimer 1961
Auctions: CAL 31:356-357; J&J 15:129, J&J 20:50, J&J 27:737; PCA 46:260, PCA 50:400, PCA 54:355, PCA 55:282, PCA 60:396, PCA 63:1889, PCA 65:1827, PCA 66:445, PCA 66:1293, PCA 67:343, PCA 69:1716,PCA 72:1907, PCA 81:531[silver], PCA 81:532, PCA 82:383;SCG 146:2086[Gorham archive]
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] 0000.999.4421
Collection: Cornell Univ Johnson Art Gallery 365
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1918-7-5
Illustrated: The Numismatist 31:11 (November 1918) p 430
Illustrated: [Trees] Medallic Art in Commerce (1927) p 25
Sale pricelist: PCA 8:9 (23 October 2011) silver unc $395
Sale pricelist: PCA 8:10 (23 October 2011) bronze unc $195
1919 First Trans-Atlantic Airplane Flight Congressional Medal.(by Chester Beach)
Auctions: PCA 56:413
1926 Byrd (Richard E.) First North Pole Flight Medallion (modeled by Julio Kilenyi; struck by W&H) W&H (19)
Auctions: CAL 32:1653; J&J 12:320; NAS 72:444; PCA 43:443, PCA 50:480, PCA 57:493, PCA 63:431, PCA 73:682, PCA 81:543
Collection: American Numismatic Society 1930.163.3
Collection: National Air-Space Museum[>1] A19550089000
Collection: Newark Museum [>1] 29.2149
Illustrated: P15 {1974} Modern Medals (1974-75) p 14-15
Illustrated: van Alfen ANS Magazine 2:3 (Winter 2003) p 68
1927 Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce Charles Lindbergh Plaquette (modeled by John Gregory, struck by Robbins)
Auctions: CAL 29:453, CAL 30:214; J&J 7:174, J&J 22:839, J&J 25:154, J&J 26:471; PCA 42:1131, PCA 56:418, PCA 61:406, PCA 70:737, PCA 80:1696
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1927-5-20b
1927 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Spirit of Saint Louis Medal (also called ASME Aviation Medal) [dates/issue: 1927-29].(by Victor S. Holm) MAco 29-47
1927 Lindbergh (Charles) Transatlantic Flight Medallion (for Saint Louis banquet; modeled by Julio Kilenyi; struck by Whitehead & Hoag) W&H (16), Gabriel G3-9
Auctions: CAL 35:431; J&J 7:176, J&J 9:571, J&J 12:321, J&J 20:78; PCA 43:444, PCA 58:481-482, PCA 64:700, PCA 66:469, PCA 70:722, PCA 72:739, PCA 73:687, PCA 80:451, PCA 81:544
Collection: American Numismatic Society [>1] 1930.163.1
Collection: Newark Museum [>1] 29.2150
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1927-5-20h
Illustrated: The Numismatist 40:7 (July 1927) p 399
Illustrated: The Numismatist 40:9 (Sept 1927) p 522
Illustrated: M13 {1928} Medals Made in Newark p 15
1927 Lindbergh (Charles A.) Atlantic Flight Medal (by Armand Bargas, struck by Paris Mint)
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1927-5-20u
1927 Lindbergh (Charles A.) Cast Medallion (by Karl Frederick Skoog)
Auctions: J&J 7:175, J&J 25:151, J&J 26:470
1927 Lindbergh (Charles A.) First Sustained Flight Medal (by Adam Pietz)
Auctions: J&J 17:622; PCA 72:737, PCA 80:1517, PCA 81:1683
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1927-5-20j
1927 Lindbergh (Charles) Lone Eagle Medal (by Charles Hinton) MAco 27-7
Auctions: CAL 32:1654, CAL 35:429; J&J 8:154, J&J 13:140, J&J 15:34; PCA 48:1499, PCA 49:1293, PCA 50:1514, PCA 50:1516, PCA 55:1649, PCA 59:1920, PCA 60:1589, PCA 65:1834, PCA 66:1304, PCA 68:1667, PCA 69:391, PCA 70:723, PCA 73:685, PCA 74:689, PCA 81:546
Collection: American Numismatic Society 0000.999.45924
Collection: Cornell Univ Johnson Art Gallery 205
Illustrated: The Numismatist 41:3 (March 1928) p 150
1928 Lindbergh (Charles) Congressional Medal (by Laura Gardin Fraser, struck by U.S. Mint Philadelphia) Baxter 359, List 645, Reed 2860
Auctions: CAL 28:176; J&J 8:158-159, J&J 8:1110, J&J 10:65, J&J 16:1224, J&J 17:928, J&J 19:1263, J&J 22:841, J&J 23:37; NAS 72:445B; PCA 42:1132, PCA 43:1248, PCA 55:1652, PCA 58:1719, PCA 65:1701, P CA 69:1662, PCA 70:1292, PCA 72:1838-1839, PCA 81:1780
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1927-9-4
Illustrated: M19 {1963} Chamberlain figure 8
Illustrated: van Alfen ANS Magazine 2:3 (Winter 2003) p 69
Illustrated: Jaeger M61 {2008} U.S. Tokens, Medals p 129
1928 Ellsworth (Lincoln) Transpolar Flight Medal (obv by John R.Sinnock, rev by Adam Pietz; struck by U.S. Mint)
Illustrated: van Alfen ANS Magazine 2:3 (Winter 2003) p 68
Illustrated: Jaeger M61 {2008} U.S. Tokens, Medals p 128
1929 Curtiss-Wright Aviation Formation Plaquette (from the merger of Curtis Aeroplane & Motor Company with Wright Aeronautical Corporation, modeled by Jonathan M. Swanson) MAco 29-38
Auctions: J&J 25:133; PCA 49:1298, PCA 50:1517, PCA 55:1653
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] 1981.11.32
Illustrated: M40 The Numismatist (October 1984) p 2071
Auction: Rago Art & Auction (12 May 2012) [1/11] lot .214
1929 Wright Brothers Medal (by Adam Pietz) MAco 29-29
Auctions: PCA 42:429, PCA 68:630, PCA 80:452, PCA 81:545 J&J 19:797
1930 National Air Races 10th Anniversary Medal. (by Oscar Hansen) MAco 30-53
Auctions: J&J 17:631, J&J 23:39, J&J 25:135; PCA 62:445, PCA 70:741, PCA 71:623, PCA 74:691
Collection: American Numismatic Soc [>1] 1940.100.2166
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1930d
Illustrated: The Numismatist 43:11 (Nov 1930) p 755
Illustrated: van Alfen ANS Magazine 2:3 (Winter 2003) p 68
1930 ca Elmira Glider Capital Plaquette (modeled by John Gregory)
1933 Balbo (Italo) Seaplane Squadron Atlantic Flight From Italy To Chicago World’s Fair Medal (struck in Italy, probably at Stefano Johnson, Milan; modeled by Publio Morbiducci, sculptor) Eglit CP.127
Auctions: CAL 28:261; J&J 8:149, J&J 23:45, J&J 25:242; PCA 63:439, PCA 64:713, PCA 65:525, PCA 67:418, PCA 72:753, PCA 80:330
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1933-6
1942 Curtiss-Wright Corporation Production Award Medal (unsigned but in style of Whitehead & Hoag)
Auctions: CAL 29:455, CAL 30:216; J&J 11:190
1961 Army Aviation Association President’s Medal (by Joseph E. Renier) MAco 61-50
1961 Naval Aviation 50th Anniversary Medal.(by Paul Fjelde) MAco 61-2
Auctions: CAL 30:501; J&J 7:692, J&J 16:1236, J&J 17:785, J&J 19:802, J&J 26:748; PCA 59:792, PCA 63:897, PCA 67:607, PCA 74:1521
Collection: American Numismatic Society 1991.115.9
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1961-2-17
Illustrated: P4 {1971} TAMS Journal 11:5 (October) p 188
1964 Saint Petersburg to Tampa 50th Anniversary Medal (by Ruth Harvey Hook; in style of Metal Arts, Rochester; issued by Treasureland Medallions, Florida)
Auctions: CAL 28:183, CAL 33:1411, CAL 35:422; J&J 15:62, J&J 23:65
Collection: American Numismatic Society 1984.97.73
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1914-1-1
1967 Kelly Air Force Base 50th Anniversary Medal (by Philip Kraczkowski)
Auctions: CAL 30:217
1969 Commercial Aviation 40th Anniversary Albuquerque Medal (by Paul G. Keith) MAco 69-176
Auctions: J&J 17:647, J&J 25:158
Collection: Princeton Library Newman (NC010) 1929-7-1
1977 Charles Lindbergh’s Transatlantic Flight 50th Anniversary Medal (by George Prud’homme; struck by Paris Mint)
Auctions: J&J 13:155, J&J 23:96, J&J 25:160, J&J 27:778
1973 Curtis Jenny Biplane Ingot (by Barbara Hyde) Baxter 296, King: 908, King 929
1927 Lindbergh (Charles A.) Plaque (by Lee Crawford)
Auctions: J&J 21:114
1930 Lindbergh (Charles A.) Circular Portrait Plaque (by William f. Englemann)
Auction: PCA 81:556
1940 United Air Lines Tennyson Poem Paperweight (48)
Auctions: CAL 32:1658
1927 Spirit of Saint Louis Bookends ((by Karl Frederick Skoog) with Charles Lindbergh portrait) [pair]
Auction:Rago Art & Auction (12 May 2012) [2/3] lot .183

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MEDAL COLLECTORS in America look forward to presidential elections every four years for good reason. Irrespective whoever wins – Democrat or Republican – they know they will have another fine art medal to add to their collection.

These medals bear a portrait of the incoming president – by the best medallic artist in America at the time – often a sculptor of renown reputation. The medals are also the best that American medallic industry can produce. Private medal makers have made these medals for more than a century except for two times, when these were struck by the U.S. Mint, in the middle of World War II and when an official of the Mint was on the Inaugural Committee.

The medal becomes “official” by an unwritten imprimatur granted by the Inaugural Committee, a powerful political board that immediately springs into existence with final election results and a winner is certain. It exists for a short time, often less than six months, but performs a very important function. It oversees and manages a ceremony that dates back to the inauguration of George Washington with roots similar to the coronation of a new royalty in countries that are monarchies.

The inauguration ceremony is funded – not by government money – but entirely by ticket sales to the numerous balls. Plus the sale of merchandise the  Inaugural Committee authorizes as official. American manufacturers line up to offer their wares desirous to get the nod from the Committee. The merchandise changes for each president, Royal Dalton got the nod for a Toby Mug in the shape of Ronald Reagan’s bust. Or a cut crystal jar full of Jelly Beans. A Tiffany silver bowl, and a Boehm porcelain rose, came from some high-end manufacturers.

But more often than not are the usual items of every price range: commemorative plates emblazoned with an image of the Capitol as the Inaugural’s logo, D.C. license plates (good on your vehicle only until mid-March), first-day covers, plus jewelry items: cuff-links, tie-tacks, lapel pins, bracelet and necklace pendants and charms. Other utilitarian objects have been offered from time to time, like scarves or umbrellas. All designed for the special event with image or caption.

The medals, however, are the keystone of the royalty- generating merchandise. Medals have a heritage of being issued for every presidential inauguration back to 1889 for the centennial of George Washington’s Inauguration. All George got at the time of his Inauguration was a button with his initials on it as the only “official” inauguration memento.

Die-struck fine art medals exert a very important characteristic trait – they last forever. They will survive for ten thousand years in contrast to the empty Jelly Bean jar in quick time, or a broken plate or crystal object. American Presidential Inaugurations will be documented by medals far into the future as we have similar evidence of fresh crowning of kings on coins and medals five thousand years ago. Well at least coins since medals were first used for this purpose in the 15th century.

Decades ago, as late as the Harry Truman Inaugural Medal in 1949,  medals in bronze and silver were adequate to supply the public and gender enough royalties for the Inaugural ceremony. The same die was employed to strike the gold medal to be given to the president, destined for deposit in his Presidential Library.

With the Dwight Eisenhower Medal of 1953, medals of different sizes (each requiring a new die) were made, each size to fill a need for a segment of the market, as a smaller size for jewelry items. This proved satisfactory, the practice continued, even increased somewhat with an additional need, as a coin relief medal to accommodate a First Day Cover.

One practice did change. The bronze medal had to be a different size from the silver medal. Because of the popularity of the silver medal unscrupulous people silver-plated the bronze medal and sold this as a genuine silver. This occurred for the Kennedy 1961 medal. It affected the Nixon 1969 Inaugural Medal and all others issued after that date.

Another change occurred. Gold was permitted to be sold to American citizens December 31, 1974, after having been prohibited since March 1933. Gold Inaugural medals were struck for the first time for the Second Nixon Term. It was struck in a size smaller – and obviously different – from all other composition Inaugural medals (to prohibit goldplating subterfuge).

A typical schedule of Inaugural Medal sizes and compositions are:

  • Gold  1¼-inch
  • Silver 2½-inch antique finish
  • Silver 2½-inch proof surface
  • Bronze 2¾-inch antique finish
  • Bronze 1½-inch coin relief

From these sets were made of the following:

  • 5-Piece Inaugural Medal Set (all of the above)
  • 4-Piece Inaugural Medal Set (all but the gold)

This schedule changed somewhat over the years as planners believed other items would sell, as some form mounting of medals made into desk pieces would  be popular. But the above basic schedule has endured.

A problem, it should be noted, for all those manufacturers, is that their merchandise must be made so quickly. Designed, approved, modeled, sometimes molded, or dies made, often with extensive production runs. Accepted finished product must be completed and delivered to Washington DC in time for Inauguration Day, January 20th.

Every manufacturer wishes for the “old days,” prior to 1934, when Inauguration Day was March 15th (for 60 days more time).You can also add thousands of parade participants who often catch a severe weather on that January day and must spend the entire day outside wishing for a warmer clime. But the date is set in concrete and the quicker the new president is in office the better.
For the makers of this merchandise it means some long days in all of December and early January. Round the clock production with three shifts of employees, and a missed holiday or two around the first of the year. You can’t take shortcuts, this must be your best quality. After all its for the president of the United States.

To speed up processing in the finishing department at Medallic Art Company in the past the heat lamps were turned up higher to dry the lacquer on medals quicker. It seems every fourth year this caused a fire as the lacquer ignited. Fire departments were called with the inevitable news article the next day’s paper “Fire at Local Medal Manufacturer.”

Another problem at the manufacturer is that other work must be set aside as all manpower is exclusively dedicated to inaugural medal work. Other clients must be consoled their medal job has been delayed and might not be completed until after January 20th. Production scheduling becomes a nightmare during this period.

Medals are required in large quantities for art medals, often in the thousands. Another problem is not knowing the demand in advance – how many to strike of each kind. Finished product with proper cases or holders intact must be stocked and ready. Ideally, you would like to have on hand in Washington DC a sufficient quantity to fill every order, every purchase, on that date. Residual orders could be struck and fulfilled at a later time.

Logistics and division of labor are other problems. Where should mail orders be sent? Who should fulfill? And a distribution problem: which retail outlets need to be serviced? Woodward & Lothrop, a department store in DC has been a distributor in the past. Should other outlets, as jewelry chains, be accepted as distributors?

All of this activity must be compressed into less than a two-month period. This requires management of incredible capability.

Since this activity has increased with each succeeding inauguration I would like to offer a solution. The job of manufacturing the medals is almost too large now for one firm to produce in the time required. In the past this has been the case, one firm gets the okay from the Committee to make the medals, but must subvert all its other normal business for at least six weeks, often longer.

   My solution suggestion is to form a consortium of  medal manufacturers. There are a handful of excellent ones in this field, despite its relative small size as industries are measured.

One firm should be the prime contractor and be responsible for all Inaugural Medal activity.  Perhaps it should be responsible for making all the patterns, hubs and dies. It should sub-contract out the striking and finishing of each of the separate kinds of medals to other medal firms, supplying the dies all from the accepted “official” Presidential Medal design.

  • Perhaps one firm should produce only the gold medals.
  • Another the proof silver.
  • Another the antique silver.
  • Another the bronze with the antique patina.
  • Another the medals in coin relief.
  • Another for jewelry items.

All product would be shipped to a rented warehouse near the Washington DC area. Here final inspection and packaging would take place. Orders would be shipped, or even delivered from this location.

Fulfillment of mail orders would take place at this location. Reorders would be serviced here.

The facility would have a fixed period of activity as orders dwindle after March 1st.

Obviously, Medallic Art Company is the ideal candidate to be such prime contractor. It has the facilities as for die making at two locations, a sales force in place in the Washington DC area, plus a past record unequalled by any other firm. Its experience and heritage should place it at the top of the list to be considered.

It has the respect of the other firms in the field, and certainly the willingness to work with such other manufacturers. There is enough work to go around for all in this field for this one exceptional job.  All would benefit.

See Medallic Art Company gallery of selected inaugural medals.

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Background History and Current Policies of U.S. Mint Medal Making.

THE UNITED STATES Government has had an admirable policy towards medals since the U.S. has had its own national Mint, founded in 1792. Medals of “national interest” are authorized by Congress and struck by the U.S. Mint at one or more of its production facilities, most often at the Philadelphia Mint.

For the first century and a half medals of “private interests” were allowed to be struck at the Philadelphia Mint with very few restrictions. Work for such medals could not interfere with the routine work of the mint, nor could medals be struck of political or campaign interest. The reasons for this was obvious on both counts.

Government officials correctly observed that political campaign medals would not be appropriate for the national mint to manufacture, perhaps implying favoritism of one political candidate over another. This lead to private medals being created by a small number of enterprising engravers who established one- and two-man shops for striking such medals. These were small size medals for two reasons: these shops did not have heavy-duty presses and the cost had to be low for the candidates to give away large number of medals.

The Philadelphia Mint had the capability to strike large diameter medals. The current view was that the U.S. Mint had the only press in America to strike a medal larger than two inches. If a private firm or individual wanted a large medal, they had to apply at the Philadelphia Mint or have it struck in Europe. (This was not entirely true in that Scovill Manufacturing in Waterbury, Connecticut, had such equipment and capability but did not seek this kind of work.)

With such a policy in place the Philadelphia Mint struck such private medals as a 25th wedding anniversary in 1821 (Julian PE-13), a medal honoring an arbitrator in a dispute in Bogota 1880 (PE-17) and a college professor friend of Mint Director James Pollack 1870 (PE-25). Hardly medals of national interest, but as long as someone had money to pay for such issues, the Philadelphia Mint obliged them.

It was an event exactly 100 years following the establishment of the Philadelphia Mint that changed the situation. The World’s Fair in Chicago of 1893-94 spawned an awaking of the need for a private medal industry in America. Established firms in Chicago and Milwaukie, whose major work prior to that time was for stamps and stencils, turned to striking medals for the Fair.

Worldwide publicity for the Chicago Fair attracted immigrant engravers to America. One, a German immigrant August Frank, wisely chose to establish his medal business in Philadelphia rather than Chicago, as the center of medal activity and be in competition with existing firms there (in addition to the U.S. Mint there). He came to America in 1893 and was in business by 1894.

Large jewelry firms, notably Tiffany and Gorham, accepted orders for medals, struck what they could in their plants and contracted out what they couldn’t. A printing specialty company, Whitehead & Hoag purchased its first medal press in 1899 and established a medal department in a new building in 1903. Henri Weil struck his first medal in 1907 and Medallic Art Company was established in 1910.

A private medal manufacturing industry was in place in America. Organizations requiring medals did not have to rely on the U.S. Mint to make their medals. Yet the practice continued somewhat.

This continued until the depression of the 1930s. New medal orders dried up as business activity slowed down. Clyde Curlee Trees, who had acquired ownership of Medallic Art Company in 1927, struggled to kept his tiny plant operating. He dismissed his employees midday after doing what little work was available. Yet he saw medal jobs being struck by the Philadelphia Mint that could have been choice work for private industry.

Trees mounted a campaign beginning in 1936 for the U.S. Mint to cease accepting orders for medal jobs, those not of “national interest.”  These were the medals, he contended, that should be manufactured by private firms. He wrote letters to U.S. Treasury officials emphasizing the Mint was a competitor, an unfair competitor at that. Private industry had to pay taxes, the Mint did not. Often the Mint charged less than what a private firm had to charge.

Further efforts on Trees part achieved little results, even appeals to selected Congressmen. Not until 1948 was the Mint’s policy changed to not accept private medals struck at the Mints. By this time, however, Trees tiny firm was flooded with work, manufacturing military decorations and campaign medals for the Department of Defense following World War II.

The Philadelphia Mint had some dies made earlier for organizations with yearly award medal programs. They continued making these as if they were under contract to supply these as long as needed. The last of these medals, however, were struck in 1964, long after Tree’s death in1960.  A hollow victory.

In contrast to this policy, the most democratic policy of the U.S. Government is in respect to Congressional Medals. Congress has the right, perhaps even a duty, to bestow medals to individuals of notable achievement of their choice. The long history and heritage of issuing such Congressional Medals goes all the way back to George Washington.

What is admirable, it should be emphasized, is that once the dies are made and a gold medal is struck for the intended recipient, those same dies are used to strike bronze replicas which can be sold to anyone. This extends the honor intended for the person Congress wanted to celebrate. It documents this honor in an artistic and substantial manor.

Those Congressional medals will last – as all art medals last – for thousands of years extending the fact of that honor for many future generations to know. Medals perpetuate the knowledge of a historical event.

Informing the public these medals were available for purchase was by lists issued by the U.S. Mint. This gave rise to the term List Medals for all such medals. The first such Lists were issued, it is believed, as early as the 1860s. Constantly updated with new medals issued, lists continued to be published until 1969. By then the list was long enough to publish in  book form.

Under the direction of then Mint Director Eva Adams, a research team of Kenneth M. Failor and Eleonora Hayden compiled photographs, biographies of all persons shown on the medals, and identified the medal’s artists. The book was published  in paperback form and revised in a 1972 edition. This was welcomed by medal collectors, despite the fact both editions lacked numismatic information of when these were first struck, varieties and quantities issued.

By the twentieth century the List Medals were given issue numbers by the Mint. They obviously were divided into nine classes. A recent listing revealed these numbers:

Medal Count:

100 Series Presidents — 45
200 Series Treasury Secretary — 33
300 Series Mint Officials — 26
400 Series Army — 35
500 Series Navy — 33
600 Series Miscellaneous — 98
700 Series Mint Buildings — 45
800 Series (Open) — 0
900 Series Miscellaneous — 10

Total: 325

Since the 600 numbers nearly occupied all available numbers, newer medals were assigned numbers in the 900 series.

Some of these medals were available in two sizes. In 1992 the numbering system was modified by giving a number to each size medal. Previously a medal had one number irrespective of size.

Under Mint Director Donna Pope the existing Presidential Medal Series was remodeled beginning in 1978 from high relief art medals to a low relief medal of the same design which could be struck on coining presses. Called Mini Medals this series was created “for the children.” These did not find favor with collectors, however, and are sold at steep discounts on the secondary market. Perhaps the concept was flawed as collectors discounted reissuing art medals in a lesser form.

Beginning in 1984  the U.S. Mint began a program to reduce the number of List Medals available for sale. In the first edition of the 1969 catalog 188 medals were available for public purchase. In the following 15 years this number had risen to over 210. Mint authorities felt, regretfully, it was impractical to continue to supply, to keep a stock on hand, this many medals since some sold only a few each year.

Thus an austerity program, launched in 1984, led to the phasing out of less popular medals with no plans to replace or inventory these medals. In the end the unsold inventory of list medals were sold in grab bags! This marked, somewhat, a low point in the U.S. Mint’s respect for the significance and heritage of these national medallic treasures.

Today virtually none of the early List Medals are available from the Mint. There are two dozen or so medals available for purchase, although the number constantly varies as new medals are added, and, apparently, earlier medals are dropped.

Bullion medals.  The popularity of bullion items – coined ingots and “rounds” – struck by private mints gave rise for the Mint to issue their own bullion medals. In 1980 the U.S. Mint introduced a series of bullion medals, America Arts Gold Medals. Issued in two weights, full ounce and half ounce of coin gold, each bore the portrait of a notable American artist.

The series continued for four years, eight issues in all, but ceased for lack of demand. Large quantities were melted. Buyers of coined bullion items from the Mint, it was learned, preferred those items with a denomination, in effect bullion coins, despite the fact the denomination had little relationship to the value of the item’s precious metal content. This was, perhaps, a final blow for medal issuing by the U.S. Mint.

It would continue creating the models and striking medals ordered into law by Congress. It would continue to strike the required gold medal, and provide bronze copies for the public. But it had little desire for a further medal program. Instead it directed the bulk of its activity for creating commemorative coins and bullion coins for sale to the public.

Congress acceded to the Treasury Department’s goals. It authorized Statehood Quarters, beginning in 1999, which proved highly popular. This is followed by America the beautiful Series of Quarters, essentially our National Parks, commenced in 2010.

Some believe the rampant issuing of commemorative coins and sets by the U.S. Mint, commenced in 1982, with inherent surcharges above face value, has diluted their ability to create attractive items irrespective of size, denomination or composition.

A Commission of Fine Arts had been in place since prior to World War I for advice on improving all artistic endeavors of the government from bridges, buildings, to the smallest coin. The Commission issued its opinion on new coin designs, but infrequently the Mint rejected these opinions and issued a new design anyway.

To offset this, the Treasury Department created in 1992, the Citizens Commemorative Coin Committee. Committee members were to advise on new coin designs, as somewhat of a consumers’ consensus, as to which, among several designs would be more popular to the public.

The more commemorative items that were popular, the more the Mint desired to issue. Congress went along. What is  being issued is coins, and medals have taken a far lower priority in the activity of the current U.S. Mint.

In a future post I will suggest some actions the U.S. Mint can take to restore interest in art medals of American National Interests.

Here are citations to the two books mentioned above:

{1969}  United States Mint.  Medals of the United States Mint. Washington, Government Printing Office. Compiled by Kenneth M. Failor and Eleonora Hayden (1969). Revised 1972. 312 pages, illus.

“List medals” first offered by U.S. Mint in list form (circa 1880s), hence the term. This publication is the first listing in book form.

{1977}  Julian (R.W.)  Medals of the United States Mint, The First Century, 1792-1892.  Token and Medal Society. 424 pages. [573 items, 69 artists, index of artists, p 418-419, compiled by D. Wayne Johnson]

Monumental work on 19th century mint medals. Artists are identified for 412 items; 161 items have unknown artists.

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Knowledge Between Book Covers

JOSEPH ADDISON (1672-1719),  English author, poet, essayist, playwright, politician, wrote a book Dialogue on Medals., published in 1726. Don’t buy this book. It is not on medals. In a cruel joke on the English language medals in the 18th century does not mean the same as what “medals” means today.

Addison wrote a book on ancient coins.

In the 18th century “medals” was a term that included early coins. Yet in almost every library Addison’s book will be classed with – and shelved with – books on modern medals. This includes the numismatic libraries of the American Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society.

While the fisrt medal as we know of today was cast in 1439 (thank you Pisanello whose real name was Antonio Pisano—and isn’t it interesting Italians call each other pisanos).  Medals were first struck with a screw press in the 1520s, following the use of a screw press by Italian architect Donato Bramante who used a fruit press in 1506 to blank sheets of lead for Papal seals.

Medals – similar to coins – were not in general use until the development of the private mint, for that we must thank Matthew Boulton, who developed his Soho Mint at which he struck coins, and medals. It also earned for him a leadership position in the Industrial Revolution.  Boulton, along with James Watt, developed the steam engine and used that as the power source for his presses. He also improved every aspect, every piece of machinery, for striking. These mechanical advancements was the thrust of the Industrial Revolution.

Medals are indeed struck on the same presses and use similar technology for striking coins. Thus coinage mints, even national mints of most countries, also produce medals. While medal technology followed a similar path as the development of technology for producing jewelry, it is this connection and similarity with coins that give medals much of their desirability.

The literature on medals, medallic art, and all its related aspects, is not large. Even with less than a thousand volumes, therefore, a satisfactory library can be built on the subject. Books on Art and the Artists occupies the most shelf space, technology occupies the least amount (maybe because I never have enough of either).

The fastest growing segment in medallic literature is specialized volumes on topic collecting. Here are found the standard works of a limited topic in which a collector catalogs every possible specimen within his collecting topic (they are call thematics in England). Mandatory for other collectors of that topic, but they add to the general knowledge of the medallic field.

Classifying a library. How do you arrange books in a specialized library. I have heard interior decorators arrange books by size or by color of their bindings.  For a working library, however, it must be more utilitarian. It must be arranged in topical order with related subject books adjacent to each other.

My library has two segments: Art and Medals for one, and Technology for Producing Medals for another. Further, I catalog all my  books much like I catalog numismatic specimens. Also I assign a catalog number to each. The letters of the alphabet are adequate to group the required subjects:

A Art: General Works (Relevant to Coin & Medal Artists) 111
AE Art Exhibits
B Biography (Standard Biographical Works) 52
C Collections, Public. 9
CD Electronic Collections.
D Dictionaries of Artists. 33
E Engravers, Diesinkers, Medallists 16
Individual Coin & Medal Artists: (Works on Individual Artists)
F Artist’s Names starting: A, B 25
G Artist’s Names starting: C, D 24
H Artist’s Names starting: E, F, G, H 46
I Artist’s Names starting: I, J, K, L 25
J Artist’s Names starting: M, N, O, P, Q 30
K Artist’s Names starting: R, S, T 26
L Artist’s Names starting: U, V, W, XYZ 9
M Medals (and Medallic Works). 37
N Numismatics. 33
O Numismatic Catalogs 9
P Periodicals. 15
Q Awards, Award Medals & Recipients. 7
R Registers of Manufacturers 8
S Standard Works (Specialized Topics) 48
V Videos and Film 9
A Art, Design, Modelling, Sculpture, Style. 46
B Blanking, Composition, Metals, Metallurgy 30
C Coining, Mint Technology. 66
CH Coining, Minting–History 88
CN Coining, From Numismatic Perspective 24
D Die Making, Diesinking, Hubbing, Proof Dies 19
E Engraving, Engravers’ Accounts 24
F Electroforming, Electroplating. 8
G Enamel, Enamelling 1
H Heraldry, Talismans 7
L Lettering, Inscription, Mottoes, Chronograms 12
M Metalcasting, Metalworking. 10
N Numismatics–General. 21
NC Numismatics–Catalogs 13
NE Numismatics–Encyclopedias & Dictionaries 46
NM Numismatics–Mint Errors 21
O Medals, Medallions, Plaques, Plaquettes 55
P Portraits and Portraiture 8
S Symbols, Trademarks, Impressa, Monograms, Ornaments 7
T Toning, Patinas, Metal Finishing 14
V Videos and Films 4
X Not Elsewhere Classified 18

The number at the end for each subject is the number of published works on that subject. They may be books I own and do have in my library, or books I have researched, or in  rare instances, books I must examine sometime soon for further research. Thus this number may indicate the scope of works available on that subject. [Certainly there are more than one book on Enameling, I have only one in my library.]

Recommended books. Below is a list of 30 books, all of which are in my library and recommended in a library for the medallist. Beneath each citation are my own comments based on my use of this work.

1 {1971}  Vermeule (Cornelius C.)  Numismatic Art in America; Aesthetics of the United States Coinage.  Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  266 pages, illus.  Reprinted (2008).

The only work on the subject of art and style of American coins and medals. The author was a professional museum curator with classical training, certainly qualified to write such a book. His analysis of American numismatic items by their art movement and style was unprecedented. He even created a new term – American Federal – for the unique style of early American coins.

2   {1911}  American Numismatic Society. Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals … March, 1910.  New York: American Numismatic Society.  With introduction by Agnes Baldwin Brett. (1911) 412 pages, illus.  [2,052 numbered items].

The medallic work of 194 medallists of Europe and America who accepted an invitation to exhibit in NYC. The catalogue, with illustrations of individual items or mounted panels of each artist’s work, is an expansion of a brief list published before the exhibition.  Some bibliographies cite this work as “IECM.”

An unappreciated numismatic publication but vitally important to the development of medallic art in America. This exhibit, and a companion one for coins – a century ago – are unequalled in America, and perhaps then world! Medallic art was at its height at this time as this publication illustrates.

3 {1902-30} Forrer (Leonard)  Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, Coin, Gem and Seal-engravers, 500 B.C–A.D. 1900.  8 volumes. London: Spink & Son.

Reprinted editions (1965) London: Spink & Son; (1970) New York: Burt Franklin; revised edition (1980) London: Baldwin & Sons and A.G. van Dussen (Maastrich).  5,227 pages, illus.

The preeminent reference work for engravers, diesinkers and medallists. International and covers all time periods, from ancient to date of publication (early 20th cent). Forrer began running biographical information in Spink & Son’s monthly Numismatic Circular as early as 1892. These were gathered in bound volumes beginning in 1902, and continued through 1930. Volume 1 was revised slightly in the 1980 Baldwin/van Dussen reprint (volume 1 page references may be different in other editions). An Index of 311 pages (compiled by J.S. Martin) was added to the 1980 set.

Forrer’s style is eclectic; he included excerpts from many sources (now called “cut and paste”). These are often in the language of the original, thus styles of listings are those of the original source.  Errors are amazingly light for such large volume of data, but he does include some nonexistent artists (e.g. “Beach, J.”) and medals that are not those of the listee (e.g. Sneider, Robert contains medals he sold rather than he created). One idiosyncrasy: All artists from North and South America are all classed as American.

4  {1977}  Julian (Robert W.)  Medals of the United States Mint, The First Century, 1792-1892.  Token and Medal Society. 424 pages, illus.  [573 items] general history and coverage of this catalog (xviii to xlii) quite useful on technology at U.S. Mint.

Of extreme importance to collectors of American medals and U.S. Mint history buffs. Julian’s thorough research of Mint archives and physical examination of dies in the Philadelphia Mint’s die vault is evident. He plowed new ground for collectors where Loubat (see #9 below) uncovered the documents authorizing these medal issues. Excellent numbering system in fourteen categories. This standard catalog will remain the bible of this topic for years to come.

{2010} Maier (Nicolas)  French Medallic Art, 1870-1940. Munich: Author (2010) 415 pp, illus, in  three languages: German, English, French.

Discusses development of art medal in France, leading up to establishment,  in 1899, by art critic Roger Marx, of Socit des Amis de la Mϑdaille FranΗois (called SAMF throughout the book); illustrates 63 medals in SAMF series by xx artists until series halts in 1930. Author continues numbering system for medals of prominent French medallists (1863-1940) for  a total of 336 medals by 73 artists.

6  {2005}  Burdette (Roger W.)  Renaissance of American Coinage, 1916-1921. Great Falls, VA: Seneca Mill Press (2005-2997) 3 volumes:  Volume 1 1905-1908 (2006) 382 pages, illus. Volume 2 1909-1915 (2007) 350 pages, illus. Volume 3 1916-1921 (2005) 343 pages, illus.

Based on extensive research of the original documents, Burdette’s trilogy covers an important period in the development of American coinage, from hand engraving of dies by mint engravers, to the use of artists outside the mint. Sculptors created our coin designs by preparing oversize models in this period.  These patterns were then rendered into dies by pantographic reduction. Useful for the background information of commemorative coins in addition to circulating coin series, documenting this activity from original records found in the National Archives. The artists he discusses are the same who created medals of the same period.

7  {2008}  Moran (Michael F.)  Striking Change; The Great Artistic Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Atlanta GA: Whitman (2008) 432 pages, illus.

This is an outstanding study of St-Gaudens activities in relation to his coin and medal creations. It is based on an extensive scholarly research in a highly readable text. I helped edit so I am prejudiced in my unrestrained praise for this work.

8 {1982}  Dryfhout (John H.)  The Work of Augustus St- Gaudens. Hanover & London: University Press of New England, 356 pages, illus.

Catalogue raisonné of artist’s work including 1907 gold coins plus medallic items by the artist unquestionably considered America’s greatest coin and medal artist. This book and Moran’s (#7 above) form the complete history and illustrations of St-Gaudens numismatic productions.

(1987}  Baxter (Barbara A.)  The Beaux-Arts Medal in America. New York: American Numismatic Society. For Exhibition Sept 26, 1987 to April 16, 1988. 92 pages, illus. [112 artists listed, 368 medallic items]

An overview of American art medals in the period of American beau-arts based on specimens in the collections of the American Numismatic Society.

 10  {1965}  Clain-Stefanelli (Elivra Eliza)  Numismatics – An Ancient Science; A Survey of its History. (Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, Paper 52). Washington: Smithsonian Institution. 102 pages, illus.

This work places numismatics in vivid perspective, covering – not only as its title states, a survey of its history as an applied science – but also the use of numismatics to other scholarly disciplines. Always useful to read, and re-read.

11  {1963}  Chamberlain (Georgia Stamm)  American Medals and Medallists. Annandale, Virginia: Turnpike Press Inc; 146 pages, 55 plates.

Author died at early age, in a loving act her husband, Robert S. Chamberlain, gathered all her articles on medals and reprinted in a bound volume as permanent memorial in her memory. Useful to find this information in one place.

12 {1999}  Falk (Peter Hastings)  Who Was Who in American Art.  Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press. 3 vols, 3,724 pages.  [65,000 artists]

First compiled from the original 34 volumes of American Art Annual: Who’s Who in Art. This databank included biographies of American artists, 1800-1947 and published (1985) in 1 volume. After which cutoff date was extended to 1974 with extensive search of art, exhibition and 1700 reference works, this databank had grown to more than 65,000 biographies by 1999 and published in 3 volumes. Respected as the most comprehensive and reliable single source for data on American artists of all techniques and media.

Over 1,025 coin and medal artists listed. The present author furnished over 100 biographies of coin and medal artists for this work. This is a blatant example of voting for a work in which one was involved. Thank you.

Minting Technology

13 {1988}  Cooper (Denis R.)  The Art and Craft of Coinmaking; A History of Minting Technology. London: Spink & Son. 264 pages, illus (color). Glossary [166 terms] pages 249-253.

The best in the English language. The author was chief engineer at the Royal Mint and brought to the subject his lifelong personal experience and knowledge. Since retiring he has devoted his efforts to consulting on coin technology.

14 {1997}  Wiles (James)  The Modern Minting Process … & U.S. Minting Errors and Varieties, An ANA Correspondence Course. Colorado Springs, CO: American Numismatic Association School of Numismatics. 202 pages, illus (36 pp in color).

Walter Breen once said it is necessary to understand how coins are made to understand how they are mismade. This work in the format of a correspondence course is most useful in this study.

15 {1970}  Breen (Walter Henry)  The Minting Process, How Coins are Made and Mismade.  Beverly Hills, Calif.: American Institute of Professional Numismatists.  163 pages, illus.

In format of 24-lesson course curriculum; excellent, but this paperback not widely available. Every collector, and certainly every numismatist, should become intimately familiar with every step of the minting process, especially mint error collectors. This work was an attempt to pass this knowledge of coining technology on to the reader.

 16 {1965}  Breen (Walter Henry)  Dies and Coinage. Hewitt’s Information Series. Chicago: Hewitt Brothers. 34 pages, illus.

Likewise the knowledge of how dies are made and used in coining is basic technology information every numismatist should know, also every writer, curator, cataloger, appraiser, advanced collector in the filed should have a complete understanding of the subject in this brief pamphlet.

17  {1952}  Marburg (Theodore F.)  Management Problems and Procedures of a Manufacturing Enterprise, 1802-1952; A Case Study of the Origin of the Scovill Manufacturing Company.  Ph.D. Thesis: Clark University.

Explains procedures used at Scovill, for example:
• Annealing, 213
• Burnishing, 80-83
• Chasing, 105-106
• Diesinking, 55-67
• Edgemaking, 75-77
• Finishing, 80-108
• Gilding
• Milling edge, 177

The same metalworking procedures and problems at the U.S. Mint were reflected by the solutions of this major private metalworking firm. Scovill produced tokens as early as 1829 continuing into the 20th century, supplied bronze blanks to the U.S. Mint for the last half of the 19th century and struck coins for foreign governments as early as 1876. Scovill became America’s “secret mint” often supplying the U.S. Mint with the technology they developed. This doctoral thesis chronicles the development of company, the technology of the full spectrum of metalworking and minting, and overcoming the hardships of legal problems imposed on a private mint by misguided government officials.

Specialized Topics

18   {1894}  Betts (Charles Wyllys)  American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals. New York: Scott Stamp & Coin Co. (1894). Reprinted (1970) Glendale, NY: Benchmark Publishing; (1972) Boston: Quarterman Publishing. 332 pages, illus.  [623 items]

Manuscript was edited after death of author (1845-87) by William T.R. Marvin and Lyman Haynes Low. The preface, written by the author’s brother, Frederic H. Betts, states an often repeated quotation: “It is safer to quote a medal than a historian.” Book’s content served as subject for entire COAC conference by the American Numismatic Society, May 14-15,  2004.

Author’s scope for “America” included entire Western Hemisphere; much like that of Leonard Forrer in his Biographical Dictionary of Artists (who Betts may have influenced). The number of medals directly attributed to the United States “America” was 92 of the 623 medals listed (14.8%).  Even so this book’s contribution to American numismatics was monumental.

19  {1878}  Loubat (Joseph Florimond)  The Medallic History of the United States of America, 1776-1876. New York: privately published. 2 vols: text 478 pages, 96 plates.  Reprinted (1967): New Milford, Conn.  Norman Fladerman.

Exhaustive treatment by author who tracked down medals, their documents, and sometimes even their dies. Where Julian (#4 above) covered the same early U.S. Mint medals – Julian added later issues all with a theme for a collector perspective – Loubat concentrated on the documents authorizing their issue for a historical perspective. Sumptuous book with fantastic plates in the original edition.

20 {1985}  Rulau (Russell) and Fuld (George)  Medallic Portraits of Washington. Iola WI: Krause Publications. At head of title: Centennial Edition. 1985, 308 pages, illus.  Second edition: Iola WI: Krause Publications, 1999, 318 pages, illus.

An illustrated, priced revision of W.S. Baker’s 1885 catalog – #26 below – of the coins, medals and tokens of the Father of His Country. The authors retained the somewhat stilted format of Barker’s forced arrangement by “chapters.” Instead, a purely chronological sequence would have been much preferred (and would have eliminated such errors as the placement of the same medal in two “chapters”which occurred twice by the present authors!).

21  {1963}  Hibler (Harold E.) and Kappen (Charles V.)  So Called Dollars; An Illustrated Standard Catalog with Valuations. New York: Coin and Currency Institute.  156 pages, illus. [993 listed].

I liked this book so much I bought 1,000 copies. Actually my partner and I bought the remainders from Coin & Currency. We also published a revised price list. For 25 years it has been the bible of the field before a revision could be published.

22  {1923}  Storer (Malcolm)  Numismatics of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Historical Society, n.p., 319 pages, 38 plates.  [2317 items listed]

All numismatic items even remotely connected to the state are included (example: a Minnesota Royal Arch medal, 685, is included because its national headquarters were located in Boston). Storer’s cataloging style reversed left and right (opposite of numismatic custom) the item’s left and right, not the viewer’s. He called panels incorrect term “labels.”

23 {1885}  Baker (William Spohn)  Medallic Portraits of Washington with Historical and critical Notes and a Descriptive Catalogue of the Coins, Medals, Tokens, and Cards. Philadelphia: Author (1885) 252 pages.

Baker expanded on what Snowden had published previously and organized the numismatic items into chapters. This set the tone of collecting Washington medals, at a high point in the 19th century, which began to decline in the early 20th century. Rulau and Fuld based their revision and update (#15 above) on this epochal work.

24 {1924}  King (Robert Pennick)  Lincoln in Numismatics, A Descriptive List of the Medals, Plaques, Tokens and Coins Issued in Honor of the Great Emancipator.  The Numismatist (1924) 37:55-171; (1927) 40:193-204; (1933) 46:481-497. Reprinted (1966) by Token and Medal Society, 145 pages, illus.

A Comprehensive Index To King’s Lincoln In Numismatics, by Edgar Heyl, was published by TAMS, (1967) 18 pages. A new edition with illustrations is in preparation by TAMS (2008) with the hope this gets published soon.

25  {1959}  DeWitt (J. Doyle)  A Century of Campaign Buttons, 1789-1889.  Hartford, Conn: Travelers Press (1959) 420 pages, illus. A revision was issued 1981: Sullivan (Edmund B.) American Political Badges and Medalets, 1789-1892. Lawrence, Mass: Quarterman Publications (1981) 646 pages, illus. The revision retained the same numbers in the original edition and added newly found varieties. Page numbers, obviously, differ.

DeWitt did not always adhere strictly to campaign items, including those struck after an election (e.g. inaugural medals). His other idiosyncrasies: jugate spelled “jugata” throughout. Sometimes calls an item greater than 25mm a “medalet.” Uses word “copies” for pieces or specimens.

26 {1930}  Storer (Horatio Robinson)  Medicina in Nummis; a Descriptive List of the Coins, Medals, Jetons Relating to Medicine, Surgery and the Allied Science: Boston: privately published.  1146 pages.  [8343 numbered items listed, but with liberal use of letter suffixes drive the total well over 9000].

Edited and copyrighted by Malcolm Storer, son of the compiler, and himself a compiler of Massachusetts Medals (see #22 above). Horatio Storer is notorious for miscataloging and unfortunately his errors were repeated elsewhere (e.g. Forrer Biographical Dictionary of Medalists). Storer’s idiosyncrasies include use of “undescribed” for unlisted (or uninscribed) and would sometimes omit a reverse description but include other characteristics on the line following “Rev.”

27  {1964}  Freeman (Sara Elizabeth)   Medals Relating to Medicine and Allied Science in the Numismatic Collection of The Johns Hopkins University, a Catalogue.  Baltimore: Evergreen House Foundation. 430 pages, 32 plates.  [922 items, 396 medalists]

A lone curator who compiled a scholarly treatment of an important collection. Author delights in correcting Storer’s incorrect descriptions on same items. For decades Freeman was the only source of the list of the meanings of Paris Mint symbols on the edges of medals.

28 {1989}  Rulau (Russel)  Discovering America, The Coin Collecting Connection. Iola: Krause  Publications (1989) 327 pages, illus.

A rare treatment of a topic with numismatic examples and evidence, often not available elsewhere. I would welcome similar studies using coins, medals and tokens as evidence.

29  {2002}  Muscante (Neil)  The Medallic Work of John Adams Bolen, Die Sinker &c, Springfield, Mass. Springfield, MA: Author (2002) 365 pages, illus 8 color plates.

Author catalogs the life work of this 19th century engraver-copier, the 42 items and 15 mules by this engraver. Also after his dies were dispersed: the author discusses the 18 reissues by George Mason and Frank Smith Edwards, the 17 by John W. Kline, and the 16 by William Elliot Woodward. Other American diesinkers of all time deserve a similar extensive biographical treatment.

30  {2007}  Adams (John) and Bentley (Anna E.)  Comitia Americana and Related      Medals; Underappreciated Monuments to Our Heritage.  Crestline CA: George Kolbe (2007) 285 pages, illus.

A fresh and scholarly treatment of America’s first medals, authorized by Congress and struck at the Paris Mint. Just published.

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