Archive for the ‘Medal Literature’ Category

Medallic Art Company Book

Medallic Art Company Book

WHILE interviewing former employees of Medallic Art Company for the authorized history of the company, they kept mentioning that a book on the firm already exists.  How could that be? I hadn’t written it yet.

“Go on eBay,” they said, “you’ll see.” I didn’t find it on eBay but I did on my favorite book source Abebooks. Sure enough, I found it listed half a dozen times by different vendors.

The title was “Medallic Art Company.” The authors were three people I never heard of before – Miller, Vandome and McBrewster. How could these people write a book on the firm I thought? Was this something from news articles, clipped and pasted to form a book, I thought?

The description was terse:  “Alphascript Pub 01/01.2013. Paperback. New Book. Shipped from US. This item is printed on demand,” and it listed a bookseller’s inventory  number.

The price was $46.64. With shipping the price was over $50. I ordered it and it arrived this week.

Disappointment. The ‘book’ is small format, 6 x 9 inches with 80 pages. The contents listed eleven articles, two references, and a page marked “License” with two lines so small it was impossible to read.

The article on Medallic Art Company was two pargraphs! One line on recent events: “In July 2009 Medallic Art Company was purchased by Northwest Territorial Mint.”

The remainder of that page listed nine sources, one of my articles on Circle of the Friends of the Medallion, two articles by authors I know, and the rest was from the internet, most from MACO website.

The two paragraphs – 142 words! – came from Wikipedia. All the text, in fact, came from Wikipedia!

Here are some of the sections:

  • Sculpture – 26 pages (49-74).  Not one word on MACO.
  • Danbury Connecticut – 11 pages (9-20).  Not one word on MACO.
  • Medal – 7 pages (34-43).  Not one word on MACO.
  • Mint (coin) – 4 pages (44-47).  Not one word on MACO.
  • Award – 1 page (2).  Not one word on MACO.

The rest of the articles are on medals made by Medallic Art – Pulitzer, Peabody, Circle of Friends, Society of Medallists.

The article on medallic art (small m, small a) – the subject – contains long lists of medallic artists by country. Two lines on page 35 state: “Mints Specializing in Art Medals / Medallic Art Company,” the only one listed.  Hooray! One correct statement of fact!

Of facts, the publisher’s page was most revealing in its statements. “All parts of the book are extracted from Wikipedia … The editors of this book are no[t] authors. … Nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by people with the expertise required to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information.

“Some information in this book may be misleading or wrong.” It sure is.

The book’s publisher is Alphascript Publishing, a trademark of VDM Publishing House, with an address in the Mauritius.

The cover has a color illustration of a bowl of nuts, a container of oranges and a rolled up table cover. Hardly medallic.

At 50 bucks, it costs 62.5 cents a page or about 35.6 cents a word for those 142 words in the only two paragraphs on the company, costly for something that can be obtained off the internet for free.

The book was shipped, not with a paid invoice, but a “Dispatch Note” giving the order number and the title. If you have a query about the book, an email address in the UK is provided. (I’ll bet that is where Miller, Vandome and McBrewster reside.)

The remainder of the form concerns returning the item. I’ll bet they get a lot of returns.

The firm has printing operations in the U.S., England and Germany. But one line was curious. “This book is not produced in the Mauritius.”

This wasn’t my first encounter with this outfit. Here is an article I wrote last year for the April 24th issue of E-Sylum, a weekly internet newsletter for numismatic book lovers:

The strange, lengthy book title hit me right between the eyes. It read “Medal: Sculpture, Molding (process), Casting (metalworking), Machine Press, Stamping (metalworking), Insignia, Portrait, Medallic Art, Devotional Medal, Exonumia, Militaria, Pendant, Commemorative Plaque [Book].” Whew!

Was that a list of chapters or a book title? Published in 2010 by Alphascript Publishing, the internet entry listed it as having 180 pages and appended its ISBN number.

A little pricey at $70, but if all that was in one book, it would be worth it. I was interested. I printed the one-page data sheet off the internet. But before I hit the “add to shopping list” button I got the call to dinner.

After dinner my son, visiting from Cleveland, joined me in the office. He picked up that page and handed it to me. “You know, of course, this is all copied from Wikipedia?” “What!” I exclaimed. “Is that legal?”

This German publisher gathers a group of related items from Wikipedia, designs a colorful cover, prints and binds it all together in one pamphlet. And, yes, it’s legal. In this case, a 180-page pamphlet sells for $70. That’s about 39 cents a page that you could print yourself for free from Wikipedia.

Bit of a scam?

“How can I find out more about this outfit?” I asked my son. “Check out VDM Publishing on Wikipedia,” he said, as he brought it up on the screen.

This is a legitimate self-publishing firm in Germany. They publish under the title Alphascript, Betascript and Fastbook Publishing, all English names, and Doyen Verlag in German among 14 other imprints. They specialize in publishing anything any author sends to them. They do NO editing, no fact checking, no peer review, no proofreading, no additional illustrations — whatever the author sends is what they print and bind. They do add a color cover, but the covers all look alike with only one illustration per cover.

The firm specializes in print-on-demand and publish, so they claim, over 10,000 new titles a year. In 2007 they had 70 employees.

A major part of their in-print list are academic dissertations and research reports. They invite these from every university and print those in English, German, Russian, Spanish and French only. The firm offers one copy free to each author who accepts their proposal to print their work.

For what they copy from Wikipedia, as long as they state these are, indeed, from Wikipedia they are home free. It is legitimate. They can charge whatever they wish by selling free information. Whether to purchase is the buyer’s decision.

The VDM mastermind is Wolfgang Philipp Muller, who founded Verlag Dr Muller — that’s the VDM initials — in Dusseldorf in 2002. He moved to Saarbrucken in August 2007. The book titles are listed on Amazon (in America and UK), Lightning Source, and Books on Demand in Germany.

The Wikipedia VDM entry has a section critical of VDM’s publishing practice. But it also includes a convincing VDM retort for reprinting Wikipedia articles:

Wikipedia is a valuable, quality resource, that the company has no problem asking authors for content, that buyers are informed of where information comes from, that books are a convenient form to collect articles about interesting subjects, and that its customers are satisfied with VDM’s products.

Both the firm and those three editors who are not authors have been busy recently. The new data from the current VDM entry in Wikipedia reveal they now have 78 imprints, not the 14 mentioned before.

Miller, Vandome and McBrewster have conjured up 180,707 titles! All by copying articles in Wikipedia.

Sorry, one of those titles is Medallic Art Company. Not worth the paper it is printed on.

Don’t buy this book. Get the data from Wikipedia yourself.


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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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