Medal in America

Stahl, Alan M., 1947-
Coinage of the Americas Conference
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




Ten years after the first conference and volume on The Medal in America , we return with new studies on the topic. The two sets of papers have much in common, a result of the way in which the medal is viewed in this country. In general terms, the medal in America is approached as three distinct subjects, each exemplified in this year's conference. The medals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century are treated as subjects for historical and numismatic inquiry, while those of a century later are objects of art historical analysis. American medals since the First World War are scarcely considered worthy of scholarly study at all.

The paper in this volume by John Adams is a preview of his forthcoming book on a series of Indian Peace Medals which are among the most intriguing in the series, those in the name of George III . The heraldic group is problematic enough, with the portrait of a young king paired with shields from both early and late in his reign, but the "Lion and Wolf" medal has long been a complete mystery in terms of date, iconography and purpose. Adams has combined extensive documentary and numismatic research to his solution to these questions. Chris Neuzil's paper on Moritz Fürst is an example of the most basic and valuable tool in medallic study, a fully documented corpus of the work of an artist set into a biographical narrative. It is of special importance in covering the work of an artist of major importance in the early development of the American medal, and one whose work has been little known until now. The paper of Paul Rich and Guillermo De Los Reyes on Masonic medals is more of a plea for inclusion and introductory overview than a detailed study. Medals, decorations and tokens of fraternal organizations have long been relegated to the edges of medallic inquiry, even though they had an enormous presence in the culture of the times.

Five of the papers in this volume deal with what has become the core area of study for the art of the American medal, the period from the Columbian Exposition to the First World War. Thayer Tolles tells the tumultuous story of the most important medal by the most influential of American medalists, the Columbian Exposition Award medal of Augustus Saint-Gaudens . Three authors treat the works of individual artists with comprehensive surveys of their work. Barbara A. Baxter writes on the classical nature of the work of one of the leading members of the first generation of American Beaux-Arts medalists, A. A. Weinman . Scott Miller examines and catalogues the medals of Emil Fuchs , important in the turn-of-the-century sculpture of England as well as America . Bob Mueller treats the use of mythological iconography in the medals of Paul Manship , an artist whose work can be seen as the culmination of the Beaux-Arts movement in America and the basis of the Art Deco style which dominated figurative sculpture here for much of the twentieth century. In her essay on Charles De Kay and the Circle of Friends of the Medallion, Susan Luftschein deals with issues of patronage and reception, situating the art medal in the aesthetic development of the age.

The contributions of the conference and this volume to the American medal of the late twentieth century are only potential. The Sunday workshops of Virginia Janssen and Ron Landis were of great interest to historians of the medal in illustrating the processes of many of the phenomena to be studied on the objects themselves, but may have even more importance for their effect on the artists present, who could see traditional techniques employed in the hands of modern practitioners.

What would we like to see in a third volume of The Medal in America , perhaps in 2007? There are eight decades of American medals between the War of 1812 and the Columbian celebration of 1892 which remain virtually unexplored and uncatalogued; leading medalists such as C. C. Wright and George H. Lovett remain little more than names to modern scholars. From the perspective of the next century, we should be able to look back at the twentieth century and find much of interest in the American medals of its last eight decades. And, of course, there will already be a few years of the twenty-first century American medal to subject to examination and study.

Alan M. Stahl
Conference Chairman

The Peace Medals of George III

John W. Adams

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

The reign of George III lasted for 60 years, from 1760 to 1820. This period spans the War of the Conquest, Pontiac's Revolt , the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Our interest in George III centers on the Indian Peace Medals issued in his name. These medals tell a story at two levels. At the numismatic level, the story has been told by such distinguished hobbyists as Robert McLachlan (1882), C. Willys Betts (1894), Victor Morin (1916) and Melville Jamieson (1936). Much of what has been written by these authors is in error. We attempt to correct the earlier errors, proceeding further to define die varieties, methods of manufacture and quantities issued.

More important than the story at the numismatic level is the story at the historical level. The peace medals of George III tell an eloquent, if cynical, story of relations between the white man and Native Americans. This story spans many of the critical turning points in the development of a continent. The paper that follows attempts to summarize key findings that will be treated at greater length in a book in press for 1999 ( Adams 1999).

The Early Medals

George the Second died on October 24, 1760, and his 22 year old grandson was proclaimed the following day. The coronation of George III took place on September 22, 1761, followed almost immediately by his marriage to Charlotte of Mecklenberg . Newly crowned and newly wed, the young King was also basking in the glow of his grandfather's victories. In the prior year, Wolfe had defeated Montcalm before Montreal, driving the French from Canada after a long, bitterly contested war.

Indians played a prominent role in the so-called "War of the Conquest." The Six Nations of the Iroquois League had fought on the side of the British. The Seven Nations of Canada had fought on the side of the French, as had the tribes in the Great Lakes region—the Ottawas, Chippewas, Hurons and Pottawatomies . On the western border of Pennsylvania , the Delawares and Shawnees had begun the war as allies of the colonials but then switched sides to the French before switching back as momentum swung to the British.

Originally, each colony had conducted its own Indian affairs. In large part because of the troubles in Pennsylvania , George II decided to centralize the responsibility for relations with the Indians. The new Superintendent of Indian Affairs bypassed the colonial governments, reporting directly to the Commander in Chief for North America . From 1755 until his death in 1774, Sir William Johnson held the position of Superintendent in the Northern District. In 1760, at the beginning of the reign of George III , the Commander in Chief was Major General Jeffrey Amherst . He was succeeded in 1763 by General Thomas Gage of Bunker Hill fame.

A large landowner in upstate New York , William Johnson began his career as a trader, assuming the ways of the Indians and learning their language. Adopted by the Mohawks , the easternmost of the Iroquois nations , Johnson enjoyed a special relationship with the natives. It was he who saw the inroads being made by the French , prompting him to recommend a centralized approach to Indian relations ( Johnson 1754). With his appointment to the Superintendency, Sir William soon became the most notable figure in colonial America . He led combined British-colonial-Indian forces to important victories over the French at Lake George and Niagara . With his Indians, he accompanied Wolfe to the climactic battle for Montreal in 1759.

Johnson started for Montreal with over 500 Indians but, between whimsical desertions and regular disagreements with the British military establishment, ended up with less than half that number. However, his supreme accomplishment was persuading the French Indians to remain neutral. Pierre Pouchet wrote in his memoirs " Johnson alone was able to quiet them and make them forget their ancient political system in this war" ( Pouchet 1866, 1:30). Indeed, Johnson was the only figure in colonial America respected by the Indians, the colonists and the British alike.

For his part, Amherst had a low regard for Indians. Nonetheless, it was he who recommended the so-called " Montreal medal" to Johnson and then saw to its execution ( Johnson 1921, 10:461). Johnson viewed the medals as a reward for service whereas Amherst considered them an identification badge by which "good" Indians could be distinguished in the future.

In their paper in The Medal in America , Fuld and Tayman did a commendable job of describing both the Montreal medals and the Happy While United medals of 1764 and 1766 ( Fuld and Tayman 1988). We will elaborate on these issues in our forthcoming book. Suffice for now to observe that there is an ironic connection between the two. Having eliminated the French, Amherst decided to suspend the sale of guns, powder and other supplies to the Indians and bar their entrance into British forts (save, presumably, for those natives wearing Montreal medals). The hard line taken by Amherst led to growing unrest, culminating in the conspiracy of 1763. Indeed, the Pontiac Conspiracy is often called " Amherst's War" by modern historians.


1. Medal for the wedding of George III and Charlotte , ANS 1925.173.5 .

By long tradition, the George and Charlotte medal has been attributed to 1761 ( fig. 1 ). Robert McLachlan writes " George III was married September 8, 1761. On this occasion, the Indians, ever profuse in their expressions of loyalty, forwarded to the 'Great Father' an address of congratulation, which the King gratefully acknowledged by causing these medals to be struck and distributed among the faithful red men" ( McLachlan 1882, 11). This statement is romantic balderdash. There were very few "faithful" Indians to be found— Amherst had seen to that.

The undated George III peace medals of standard design—"standard" meaning portrait on obverse, arms on reverse—come in three sizes: 76mm, 60mm and 38mm ( figs. 2 and 3 ). The George and Charlotte medal shares its reverse with the standard medal of 38mm diameter. The latter is extremely rare; indeed only two specimens are now known. Thus, it seems logical to hypothesize that the obverse die for this medal broke early its life and that the obverse of a previously unused marriage medal was employed in its place.

The "Lion and Wolf" medal has been similarly misplaced ( fig. 4 ). C. Willys Betts deserves the blame for this mistake, because it was he, reasoning from a specimen found in the grave of Pontiac's son, who then pioneered the theory that the skulking wolf represented Pontiac with the rest of the scene depicting the bliss to be had by those adhering to the British side ( Betts 1894, 238). This flight of fancy was swallowed whole by subsequent writers including McLachlan (1899, 16), Morin (1916, 35) and Jamieson (1936, 13).


2. George III Indian Peace Medal, reverse arms pre-1801, ANS 1923.52.7 .


3. George III Indian Peace Medal, reverse arms post-1801, ANS 0000.999.32881 .

In attributing the son's medal to the father, Betts ignored the matrilineal customs of Pontiac's tribe, the Ottawas. More obviously, he failed to explain why the great chief would have been pleased to receive a medal on the reverse of which he was caricatured, much less a medal of the medium-size generally issued to lesser figures. Further, none of the early writers observed that Lion and Wolf shares its obverse with the standard George III medal of the same diameter.


4. George III Lion and Wolf Medal, ANS 0000.999.32901 .

Thus, both the Lion and Wolf and the George and Charlotte medals are die-linked to the undated George III medals of standard design. Most likely, all of these pieces were made during the same period. Our thesis is that the undated peace medals of George III were made beginning in 1776 and continued to be made until dated medals appeared in 1814.

Our case requires two proofs. The first is that the medals were not made at the outset of the reign of George III (1760) or at any time up until 1776. The second proof required is that they were made thereafter. We have uncovered an abundance of contemporary evidence to support both points.

The First Proof

After conquering the French, the British should have renewed ties with their Indian allies as well as initiating relations with the greater number of Indians who had fought against them. Instead, they took a more short sighted view reasoning that, with the French threat removed, the money previously devoted to Indian presents could be saved. This attitude was well expressed by Amherst writing to Johnson in 1761: "Yet I am of opinion that we must deal sparingly, for the future ... I can see little reason for bribing the Indians or buying their good behavior, since they have no enemy to molest them" ( Johnson 1921, 10:348). The Indians were quick to sense the adverse change in their situation. In reporting to London in the Spring of 1762, Sir William Johnson wrote: "On inspecting my transactions of last year, and the later meeting your Lordship will observe that the Indians are not only very uneasy, but jealous of our growing power, which the enemy [i.e., the French] had always told them would prove their ruin, as we should by degrees surround them on every side, and at length extirpate them" ( Johnson 1921, 10:461).

The "late meeting" referred to by Johnson was a council with the Great Lakes Indians at Fort Detroit in the Summer of 1761. This was the first formal meeting held by the English with the most powerful tribes that had fought on the side of the French. Notwithstanding the importance of the occasion, minutes of the meeting reveal no issue of medals or, as protocol would have demanded, exchange of French medals in their place. In contrast, minutes of the councils at Niagara in 1764 and Oswego in 1766, for which the Happy While United medals were procured, describe such exchanges. Furthermore, Ensign Gorrell , who was sent to Michillimackinac , the second most important post in the West, wrote that his predecessor was asked by the Indians for medals in 1761 but there were none to give out then or now ( Gorrell 1903 1:33[6/25/1762]; 1:38[5/18/1763]). Thus it seems clear that no medals were given out in 1761 and 1762.

During the year 1763, the frontiers were aflame with Pontiac's Revolt . For the treaties held in 1764 and 1766 there is ample documentation in the papers of General Gage and Sir William Johnson that the medals issued were of local manufacture. Indeed, Johnson complained about the quality of this work because the French medals being exchanged were both finer and thicker ( Johnson 1921, 12:23). Gage responded: "I will inquire whether there is any good engravers at Philadelphia . The die in my possession was done by one de Bruls who was reckoned the best in these parts of the world" ( Johnson 1921, 12:34). 1

Despite the existence of a local source, medals remained in short supply. In 1765, Indian agent William Howard wrote from Michillimackinac that three important chiefs requested medals but he had none to give out ( Johnson 1921, 11:806-7). George Croghan , who was one of Johnson's most active lieutenants, took Happy While United medals on his mission to the Illinois in 1765 but, in early 1767, was forced to order 20 silver medals from Myer Myers , a silversmith in New York ( Johnson 1921, 12:265). Thus, there is no evidence of English-made medals being issued from 1763 through 1767.

Nowhere was the lack of quality medals felt more keenly than in the case of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. Preparing more than two years in advance for an event that would cede 20,000,000 acres of Indian land to the Crown, Johnson wrote to his civil supervisor at the Lords of Trade: "In my last letters I mentioned what the Indians then inclined to agree to with regard to the boundary between us and them ... and with the assistance of a proper present and some good medals [i.e., English made] struck on the occasion for the chief sachems and principal warriors, I do not despair of effecting it" ( Johnson 1921, 12:32). Incredibly, the Lords of Trade denied this modest request as well as subsequent applications for medals to be issued at following councils. Benjamin Roberts , Sir William's agent in London , reported the bad news: "I spoke to him about the medals, upon the whole his answer was that he would not augment the expense" ( Johnson 1921, 7:607). And again, "also the article of the Medals but he still persisted in thinking a limit should be fixed to the expense" ( Johnson 1921, 7, 732). In effect, His Majesty's government graciously accepted the 20,000,000 acres for which é15,000 had been paid but it would not spend another one hundred pounds to dignify the occasion.

The Second Proof

After the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and its confirmations, the Indians became a forgotten force. Johnson's budget was greatly reduced, as trou- bles with the colonists moved to center stage. Seven years later, the situation was wholly reversed. With both the colonists and the British seeking allies in the struggle that began at Lexington , the Indians held the balance of power. Both sides conducted councils, vying to gain influence. The "peace" medals awarded in the process are enduring symbols of this hypocritical courtship.

In our book, we will discuss the individuals who promoted the use of medals as well as what can be learned in the absence of mint records for this period. Suffice for now to observe that British medals appear as early as June 5, 1776, when a German officer describes a reception held in Montreal , "After the ceremony was over, the General [Governor-General Sir Guy Carleton ] ordered uniforms ... for these chiefs, and presented them with big silver medallions upon which the likeness of the King was stamped" ( Du Roi 1911, 38). A few months later, similar treatment was accorded to Wabasha, the legendary chief of the Mdewankton Sioux and his companion, "The Governor presented each chief with a large silver medal bearing a bust of King George on the obverse side and Great Britain's coat of arms on the reverse. These were hung around their necks on ribbons of royal purple. Wabasha wore his above a similar French medal" ( Stevens 1990, 46).

Many more such references have been located in archives on both sides of the Atlantic . In our book, we explore at length the likelihood that the 300 "Burgoyne medals" ( Clinton 1900, 2:781) given out at Fort Niagara in December 1777 were of the Lion and Wolf design. Nonetheless, the first explicit mention of this medal we have located is in a letter dated 4/7/1781 which lists: "50 large silver medals with the Kings bust, the Lion, Wolf, etc." ( Knox 1781). Our earliest citation for the George and Charlotte medal occurs on an indent written in 1777 listing "70 silver medals, King and Queen's" ( Knox 1777). Thus, both George-and-Charlotte and Lion-and-Wolf can be ascribed with certainty to the Period of the Revolutionary War. Notwithstanding an extensive search of archives on both sides of the Atlantic , no earlier references to these or any of the undated George III peace medals have been found.

After the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the British continued to award peace medals to Indians in the Great Lakes region as well as to a few tribes west of the Mississippi . With the advent of the War of 1812, there was another surge in issuance culminating with the new, dated design in 1814. As our census (see below) would suggest, there were half as many of the 1814 medals distributed in a few years as there were undated medals awarded over a few decades. By the year 1815, the demand was pretty well saturated: "Formerly a chief would have parted with his life rather than his medal. Now very few think it worth preserving" ( Bulger 1815, 13:114).

Numismatic Perspective

George III medals got off to a very slow start in U.S. numismatics. Early commentators thought them rarer than the French counterparts. Indeed, the Bushnell Collection, one of the great treasure troves of Americana , contained but a single example.

The cause of the initial scarcity of George III medals is eminently logical: having fought on the side of the British in the Revolutionary War, most of the recipients chose to relocate in Canada . Thus, it wasn't until important Canadian collections came on the market that the supply began to improve. The Gerald Hart sale in 1888 contained four specimens; the Hunter (1920) and W.W. C. Wilson (1925) collections contained many more.

In point of fact, thousands of the George III medals were made—perhaps tens of thousands. We list several hundred in the condition census in our book. With specimens residing among Indians and in small institutions across Canada , we are confident that more examples will be available to numismatists as time wears on.

Jamieson (1936) lists a number of die varieties of the George III medals of which two are duplicates. All in all, his was a good first effort but we will describe a number of additional die varieties in our book. So numerous are the dies that one could infer from their number alone a total emission of 60,000 to 100,000 pieces. This estimate is almost certainly high; two other approaches described in our book yield estimates ranging between 5000 and 15,000.

The large medals were manufactured by one of three processes:

  • Some were struck on planchets cut to size, using a collar;
  • Some were struck as shells and then joined;
  • Some were struck on very thin planchets, with a thick rim added around the circumference to support a hanger.

In the absence of mint records, one can only speculate as to why three methods of manufacture were employed. It seems logical to hypothesize that methods #2 and #3 were used to save money: Method #1 consumed more than twice the silver required for #2 and for #3. Data on weight, diameter, styles of hanger and other such features are now being gathered.


As a check on relative rarity, as well as to minimize duplication, we have designed our census in two parts. The first includes collections, auction appearances, and fixed price lists from 1860 to 1975. The second or modern census extends from 1975 to present day. As can be seen from Table 1, the two censuses reveal quite similar results. Thus one can be tolerably confident that the large undated medals of George III are the most common, followed by the large 1814s, Lion-and-Wolf and George-and-Charlotte in that order. The small undated medal of George III is by far the rarest of the group, which gives rise to our theory that the obverse die broke early in its life, leading to the substitution of George-and-Charlotte .

Table I
Early Late
Large George III 62 61 (7 shells)
Medium 12 12
Lion & Wolf 21 20
Small 1 2
George & Charlotte 10 15
1814 Large 33 26
1814 Medium 7 9
1814 Small 3 6
Montreal Medal 7
Happy While United 18

If the medium-sized medals were issued to warrior chiefs and the small ones to ordinary warriors, one or both must have been made in much greater quantities than the large designs intended for the political chiefs or sachems. One explanation for the lower survival rate is alcohol: Indians were all too easily addicted to spirits and, given the silver content, medals must have been a fungible source of payment. At formal councils with the white men, chiefs made frequent complaints about the volume of rum dispensed by the traders but only a handful of tribes were successful in barring the substance from their dominions.

Inasmuch as chiefs drank at least as copiously as warriors, the higher survival rate of the large medals can probably be attributed to inherent political value. Within the Indian community, chiefs' medals were a confirmation of authority. Outside the community, chiefs were expected to wear their medals as symbols of loyalty to the Great White Fathers.

Whereas our census captures relative rarity, the total population now extant can only be guessed. The several hundred examples listed in our book could be relatively complete. More likely, in our opinion, is that another one to three times as many await re-discovery. Only time will tell. Whatever the ultimate census may show, it is clear that the population of George III medals is greater than generally thought. The good news is that they are sufficiently available to be an eminently collectable item.

Historical Perspective

The generals of George III regarded native Americans as idle, drunken and undependable. For their part, the Indians regarded the British as grasping and deceitful. Both sides had their points.

From an historical perspective, the medals of George III serve to sift through conflicting opinions and create a demonstrable fact: the British policy toward Indians was entirely self-serving. When, as was the case in the 1760s, the government placed a low value on the good will of the North American natives, the medals issued to them were small and/or of crude workmanship. When, with the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the services of the Indians became indispensable, the medals got bigger and better.

Be it said that the medals of George III do more than enshrine the hypocrisy of His Majesty's government. They recall the enlightened Superintendency of Sir William Johnson . They mark the ebb and flow of events from the triumph at Montreal in 1759, to the disasters of Pontiac's revolt , to the attempt to create a permanent boundary at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. With the Revolutionary War, the issue of medals reached a crescendo, commemorating the early battles for Montreal , Burgoyne's disastrous campaign, the border wars of New York and formal alliances in the West. Medal-giving reached another, smaller, peak during the War of 1812. Indians played prominent roles at Detroit, Chrysler's Farm and Chateaugay .

Without denigrating the peace medals issued by our own government, we note that the medals of George III mark a period when the Indians were still a force on the scene. These medals mark the last period during which Indians played at center stage. They recall the independence, the bravery and the cunning of proud cultures that were soon subsumed by the tide of events.

End Notes

The individual cited was Michael de Bruls of New York City . He deserves credit for fabricating the dies for the Happy While United medals. The role of D.C. Fueter , more limited than long supposed, was to make casts from the dies supplied by de Bruls . Who made the molds for the Montreal medal becomes an open question.

List of References

Manuscript Sources

Johnson, William . 1754 . Letter to George Clinton 3/12/1754, collection of author.
Knox, William . 1777 . Invoice to Thomas Whipham 8/20/1777. Public Records Office, TI/538.
——. 1781 . Letter to General Haldimand 4/7/1781, William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, ML , Knox Papers 10:4.

Published Primary Sources

Bulger, Captain A. The Bulger Papers. Wisconsin Historical Collection , Vol. 13, pp. 10ff. Madison , 1895 .
Clinton, George . 1900 . The Public Papers of George Clinton. 10 vol. New York and Albany, NY , 1899-1914 .
Du Roi , the Elder. 1911 . The Journal of Du Roi the Elder. Translated by Charlotte S. J. Epping . New York , 1911 .
Gorrell 1903 . Journal. Lieut. James GorrelTs Journal. Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. 1, pp. 24ff. Madison.
Johnson, Sir William . 1921 . The Papers of Sir William Johnson. 14 vols. Edited by James Sullivan et al. Albany, NY : The University of the State of New York , 1921-1965 .
Pouchet, Pierre . 1866 . Memoir upon the Late War in North America. Ed. and trans. by Franklin Hough . 2 vols. Roxbury, MA .
Stevens, Paul L. 1990 . Wabasha Visits Governor Clinton, 1776 . In The Michigan Historical Review. Vol. 16 ( Spring 1990 ).

Secondary Works

Adams 1999 John W. Adams , The Indian Peace Medals of George III. Mission Viejo, CA . (in press).
Betts, C. Wyllys . 1894 . American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals . Reprint, Winnepeg , 1964 .
Fuld, George J. and Barry D. Tayman . 1988 . The Montreal and Happy While United Indian Peace Medals. In The Medal in America , ed. by Alan M. Stahl . Coinage of the Americas Conference 4, 19-44.
Jamieson, Melvill Allan . 1936 . Medals Awarded to North American Indian Chiefs 1714-1922. London .
McLachlan, R. W. 1882 . Canadian Numismatics. American Journal of Numismatics 17: 9-13.
——. 1899 . Medals Awarded to the Canadian Indians . Montreal .
Miller, Scott H. 1994 . Medallic Memorials of the Visit of the Prince of Wales to North America in 1860 . In Canada's Money , ed. by John M. Kleeberg . Coinage of the Americas Conference 8, 103-24.
Morin, Victor . 1916 . Les médailles décernées aux indiens . Ottowa , Repr. from Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada , pp. 277-353.

Auction Catalogues

Bushnell, Charles I. . 1882 . S.H. and H. Chapman , June 20-24.
Hart, Gerald . 1888 . E. Frossard . Dec. 26.
Hunter, W. H. 1920 . S. H. Chapman , Dec. 9-10.
Wilson, W. W. C. 1925 . Wayte Raymond , Nov. 16-18.

A Reckoning of Moritz Fürst's American Medals

Chris Neuzil

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

Artist and die engraver Moritz Fürst was 26 years old when he came to America from Europe in late 1807. Between 1807 and about 1840, when he returned to Europe , he hand-engraved the dies for numerous Congressional award medals for the War of 1812 as well as presidential portrait dies for 12 different Indian Peace Medals. He also made a large number of medal dies as private and institutional commissions and, apparently, as speculative ventures. The medals from these dies preserve a remarkable collection of portraits, allegorical representations, historical scenes, and other iconography of early nineteenth century America .

Inexplicably, Fürst has received scant attention from numismatists. Although many of his medals have been described in various publications, notably the compilations of American medals by Loubat (1878) and Julian (1977), the only attempt to catalogue Fürst's American medals specifically was by Chamberlain (1954b) more than 40 years ago. A great deal has been learned since Chamberlain's pioneering study, but the findings have not been collected and organized, and some of Fürst's medallic work remains unpublished or unrecognized. Moreover, Fürst himself remains a shadowy figure, with many questions surrounding his professional and personal life.

In this paper I examine Fürst's career and present an updated compilation and discussion of his American medals. Both a census of Fürst's medal dies in tabular form and an illustrated catalogue of medals from the dies are included, and appear in an appendix. The die census is useful for analysis because many of Fürst's dies were paired with more than one of his other dies, with dies of other makers, or used without mate dies. In addition, it is the dies rather than the medals that measure Fürst's output and provide a framework for understanding his engraving career.


Fürst was born to Jewish parents in the town of Boesing, near Pressburg , Hungary (now Bratislava , Slovak Republic) in March 1782 ( Dunlap 1834, 221). Little is known about his early years. His training took place in Vienna , then about a two-day journey from Pressburg . There, Fürst relates ( Dunlap 1834, 221), he studied die sinking under Johann N. Wirt , the engraver at the Vienna Mint. Wirt directed an Academy of Engraving ( Forrer 1904, 6:567), and Fürst presumably was a student there. Figure 1 presents an example of Wirt's medallic work. Later, Fürst studied under an engraver named Megole , who superintended the mint in Lombardy, Italy ( Dunlap 1834, 221). Megole had earlier been in Vienna , perhaps also as Wirt's student, and it is likely that he met Fürst there. While working in Italy , Fürst made the acquaintance of Thomas Appleton , the American Consul in Livorno .


Fig. 1. Austrian medal by Johann N. Wirt . Fürst studied engraving under Wirt in Vienna , probably at Wirt's Academy of Engraving. The medal honors the erection of a monument to Joseph II in 1806, and features a bust of Francis II on the obverse.

A pamphlet published by Fürst , or on his behalf, in about 1825 (Proceedings n.d.) outlined the artist's version of his intercourse with Appleton . Fürst engraved seals for the Consul, whereupon Appleton requested a meeting with the engraver through Francis Wittenberg , who acted as Fürst's business agent. The pamphlet describes Appleton , after some discussion of coinage designs, explicitly offering Fürst a position as engraver at the U.S. Mint with an annual salary of $2,000. The offer was later attested by Wittenberg , whose notarized statement to that effect appears in the pamphlet. Fürst recounts that he accepted the offer and sailed with Wittenberg to New York , arriving in September 1807 (Proceedings n.d.).

As represented in the pamphlet, Appleton's offer is difficult to reconcile with events that followed. It seems unlikely that Appleton had authority to engage an engraver for the Mint, particularly at a salary of $2,000; by the time Fürst arrived in America , the German-born engraver John Reich had been hired, at a salary of $600, to assist Mint engraver Robert Scot . Fürst eventually met with Mint Director Robert Patterson , Chief Coiner Henry Voigt , and Reich (Proceedings n.d.). However, Patterson apparently did not offer him the position he expected.

Although we do not know what transpired in his meeting with Patterson, it is clear that Fürst believed that he would eventually obtain the promised appointment (Proceedings n.d.). 1 He took up residence in Philadelphia and started engraving dies and seals ( Chamberlain 1954a, 590). Unfortunately, a U.S. embargo in response to British and French trade policies caused a depression beginning in 1808. Economic disruption, social unrest, and even threats of civil war ( Hickey 1989) marked Fürst's early years in America . In 1812, the year Fürst turned 30, friction between the U.S. and Britain led to war and the British Navy was soon threatening American coastal cities, including Fürst's adopted home of Philadelphia . In 1814 panic swept the country when the British succeeded in burning Washington ( Lord 1972, 215). Fürst can hardly have prospered during this turmoil. Ultimately, however, it was the War of 1812 that catapulted Fürst to prominence as a die engraver.

Congress voted some 27 medals to Army and Navy commanders during and following the war. By 1814 the Navy had begun to procure medals mandated for its officers. Reich was contracted for the work, but he completed only four dies (for two medals) by 1817, a clear indication that he would be unable to complete all of the needed dies ( Julian 1977, 147). This led the Navy to contract with Fürst to cut dies for the medal to Captain William Bainbridge . Meanwhile, Reich's eyesight deteriorated sufficiently to affect his work ( Witham 1993, 18, 19); his portrait die for Captain Stephen Decatur was not accepted by the Navy. Fürst was contracted to make a new portrait die and also made a new reverse after Reich's shattered while being hardened. After completing the Bainbridge and Decatur dies, Fürst wrote Navy Secretary Crowninshield asking that the Navy "make a regular contract with me for the other medals which remain to be executed" ( Witham 1993, 18). Whether or not he obtained such a comprehensive contract, Fürst ultimately did all the remaining medal dies for the Navy awards and then did all the dies for the Army awards. Creditable workmanship and the unavailability of Reich made Fürst the artist of choice for official medals. In 1817, in addition to working on the War of 1812 awards, Fürst engraved the Indian Peace Medal portraits of President James Monroe . He later did the Indian Peace Medal portraits for all the presidents through Van Buren .

Reich's disability caused Mint Director Robert Patterson to seek another assistant for Mint engraver Scot . An offer was made to Christian Gobrecht , which Gobrecht refused ( Taxay 1983, 109). Curiously, there is no evidence that Patterson gave any consideration to Fürst , who continued to make medal dies under contract to the War and Navy Departments. Perhaps these contractual obligations were too heavy to allow Fürst to work at the Mint; he had then only begun work on the dies for the War of 1812 medals, a project that would occupy him for some years. I believe it likely that Fürst also was not interested in the assistant's position at the smaller salary.

Scot died in late 1823. Fürst clearly believed that he was rightfully Scot's successor, but seems to have realized that he faced competition for the post. I have elsewhere suggested ( Neuzil 1991, 140) that Fürst engraved the dies for the Monroe presidential medal (medal 44 in the appendix) in an effort to promote himself for the engraver's position he had sought for so long. However, William Kneass was appointed the Mint's new engraver based on the recommendation of his personal friend, Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt ( Taxay 1983, 109). Compounding the injury to Fürst , Kneass's appointment roughly coincided with the end of Fürst's lucrative contracts for War of 1812 medal dies, which were essentially completed the following year. The fact that Fürst did not obtain the appointment as Mint engraver evidently incited him to petition the Congressional Committee on Claims for compensation. Asserting that he had been promised the position of Mint engraver before his arrival in 1807, Fürst asked the Committee for back pay (Proceedings n.d.). He explained the filing of his grievance 15 years after the fact by claiming unfamiliarity with American law and custom although in reality he may have been mollified by the income he enjoyed from the War of 1812 contracts. The petition was rejected, allegedly because no written record existed of Appleton's original offer (Proceedings n.d.).

In 1835 Kneass suffered a stroke. Gobrecht this time accepted the assistant's position ( Taxay 1983, 171), and when Kneass died in 1840, assumed the mantle of engraver. Probably seeing himself in direct competition with Fürst , Gobrecht had actively promoted himself for the engraver's position ( Breen 1988, 433). Fürst , by then in his late fifties, returned to Europe .

Although Gobrecht's appointment probably was the immediate reason for Fürst's return to Europe , other factors probably contributed to his decision to leave. Fürst's government contracts had dwindled to the point that his official work was limited to the infrequent Indian Peace Medal dies for new presidents. Even the income from these infrequent contracts was at risk. The nature of medal making and the role of medals themselves were changing fundamentally in the late 1830s. The Contamin portrait lathe, purchased by the Mint in 1836, could mechanically reduce bas-relief models to make dies ( Taxay 1983, 150). The new process was much less expensive than hand-engraving, and threatened to make die engraving by hand obsolete. 2 Presaging an even more fundamental change, photography was becoming practical ( Dibner 1967, 461) and promised an alternative to medallic and other forms of miniature portraiture. Fürst would certainly have seen these changes as threats to his livelihood.

Perhaps the Old World offered Fürst some respite from the forward march of technology. Following his return to Europe , Fürst continued to hand-engrave medal dies for some years. Forrer (1904, 7:333) lists a medallist under the name " Fürst " who was active in Munich, Germany , from 1841 to 1847. We can surmise that this was Moritz Fürst because of a German medal dated 1841 and signed with the same letter punches Fürst used in America ( Figure 2 ). Forrer's listing implies that Fürst engraved dies until about the age of 65. Nothing more is known of this phase of Fürst's life.


Fig. 2. An 1841-dated German medal honoring Joseph Ritter von Thoma . The dies for this medal were made by Fürst after his return to Europe .

A Chronology of Fürst's American Medallic Work

A die census presented in the appendix (Table 2) reveals that Fürst made more American medal dies than previously realized. Slightly over 100 dies can be identified that are attributable to Fürst while he was in America . However, as discussed in the appendix, it is quite likely that the actual total is larger, perhaps 113 or even more.

When the date of completion of a die is known or can be reasonably constrained, it has been noted in Table 2 ( Julian (1977) and other authorities noted in Table 2 are the source of most of the dates). The availability of dates for most of the dies presents the possibility of examining Fürst's die-making activity in a quantitative fashion. Using the information in Table 2, I have plotted by year the number of dies Fürst produced in Figure 3 . This plot shows 97 dies; it does not include seven for which the dates of completion are very uncertain, nor does it include any of several unverified dies from Table 2. When interpreting the plot, one should bear in mind that some of the completion dates are somewhat uncertain.


Fig. 3. Plot showing the number of medal dies Fürst produced, by year. The plot breaks down Fürst's production into official (US and PA) and unofficial (IO) dies (see the Appendix for a fuller explanation of these categories and identification of the dies). Replacement dies for US-24, 40, 50, and 54 are included in the plot, but dies IO-2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 27, and 30 are not included because of uncertain completion dates. Where a range of years is given in Table 2, the latest date was used, except for dies US-43, 47, 54, and 60 for which the earliest date was used.

Figure 3 shows that Fürst's die-making fluctuated dramatically, with most of the activity after 1816 and before 1823. It was during these middle years that he executed dies for the Navy and Army awards of the War of 1812 (denoted as US and PA dies in Figure 3 and Table 2). The Navy awards were his dominant activity from 1817 through 1820. The Army awards, nearly all of which were done during 1821 through 1824, account for the second prominent peak in 1822. The plot implies that in 1817 he made 17 dies (including replacements of three dies that broke during hardening), an average of one die every three weeks. The year 1822 is shown being nearly as busy, with 15 dies (counting one replacement die). 3 Between the beginning of 1817 and the end of 1824 the count is at least 58 dies (including replacements), an average of more than 7 dies per year. This eight-year stretch, roughly one fourth of Fürst's time in America , accounts for over half of Fürst's known output of medal dies. In contrast, the years before 1817 and after 1825 are distinguished by both lower overall rates of die production and production of most of Fürst's unofficial or nongovernment dies (denoted as IO in Figure 3 and Table 2).

Payments cited by Julian (1977) suggest that Fürst typically received between $300 and $400 per die. The amount varied according to the difficulty of the die and other expenses involved. Interestingly, Fürst asked more for battle scenes than for portraits, presumably reflecting the engraving time required. Probably included in the fees were the cost of materials, polishing the dies after hardening (Proceedings n.d.) and, in some cases, travel in order to make portrait sketches. Assuming that Fürst completed about 100 dies that actually provided income, 4 his fees from this activity were in the neighborhood of $35,000 over about 33 years, or close to an average of $1,000 per year. During 1817 through 1824, the busy middle years of his career, Fürst's annual fees from diemaking averaged, by this analysis, between $2,000 and $3,000. By comparison, Reich's average annual income from 1800 to 1817 is estimated to have been about $700 ( Witham 1993, 46). 5

Reliable data on wages and income are sparse for this period, but it appears that in 1830 wages to laborers were about $0.75 to $1.00 per day while craftsmen and land-owning farmers had incomes of about $1.00 to $1.50 per day ( Larkin 1979, 2; Kuiken 1997). Fürst's income from a single die thus exceeded a laborer's earnings for a year, and his average annual income between 1817 and 1824 was nearly ten times that amount. Fürst also had income, which may have been significant, from other activities (see next section). All told, he enjoyed a rather substantial, although unsteady, income. However, even during his most active years, Fürst reportedly lived beyond his means. Referring to the period 1821-23, Julian (1977, 112) states that Fürst "apparently spent his funds far faster than they were received, thus fitting the classical mold of the impoverished artist. He was, nearly always, deeply in debt." The loss of the income from the War of 1812 dies, beginning in 1825, must have been financially devastating to Fürst after eight years of relatively high income. This was undoubtedly the impetus behind Fürst's petition to the Committee on Claims and publication of the pamphlet detailing the claim (Proceedings n.d.) after it was rejected.

Fürst's Decorative Medallic Dies

Chamberlain (1954a, 590) and Albert (1974) have reported that Fürst engraved seals and at least one die for uniform buttons. However, the fact that Fürst also engraved dies for decorative embellishments on silverware is largely unrecognized by numismatists. At the turn of the eighteenth century, the making of silverware was evolving toward increasing mechanization, allowing cheaper and more rapid fabrication ( Plaut n.d., 7). Before this, silversmiths cast or engraved the ornamentation for silverware. Die-struck embellishments were easier to produce in quantity and often more elaborate and expressive than engraved or cast ornamentation. This presented opportunities for die-sinkers like Fürst to make and sell die-struck ornamentation or dies themselves to makers of silverware.

I have identified five dies by Fürst that were used for making decorative embellishments, all made before 1817. Fürst probably did not make decorative dies and similar items after he became busy with the War of 1812 dies in 1817. Whether he made decorative dies after 1824, when he had largely completed the War of 1812 contracts, is not known. It is also unclear whether Fürst sold the decorative dies themselves, or sold the embellishments that he made from them.

Fürst's known decorative dies are of two types. The simplest was a cylinder die with a repeating grapevine pattern that produced a decorative silver strip. Fürst signed the die, and his signature appears about every 15.7 cm along the strip ( Skerry 1986), indicating that the cylinder had a diameter of approximately 5 cm. Decorative silver strips from this signed die were incorporated into a tea service now at the Yale Museum of Decorative Arts in New Haven, Connecticut ( Figure 4 ) and a ewer now at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware . These pieces have been dated to between 1810 and 1817 (Yale University Art Gallery 1984). Decorative strips from the same die also appear on a silver tea service dated to circa 1835 ( Christie's 1988, 40).

Decorative dies of the second type were used to impress designs on square silver panels or sheets. The panels were applied to flat surfaces on silverware. Fürst cut at least four such dies, comprised of two different compositions in large (56 by 56 mm) and small (34 by 34 mm) versions. One design features Zeus as an eagle tended by his daughter Hebe ( Figure 5 ) and the other is a classically-garbed female leaning on a rock. Panels struck from these dies were used to decorate a silver tea service ( Figure 6 ), made in New York about 1810 ( Southeby's 1985), that is now in a private collection. The panels are not fastened, but slide into slots on the sides of the pieces.


Fig. 4. Silver tea service incorporating a decorative strip with a grape vine motif from a cylinder-die engraved by Fürst (the decorative strip on the coffee pot, second from left, is by a different engraver). Attributed to John Armstrong or Allen Armstrong , ca. 1810-1817 (coffee pot by William Thompson , ca. 1831). Photo: Yale University Art Gallery, Josephine Setze Fund for the John Marshall Phillips Collection.


Fig. 5. Drawing of decorative silver panel from a die engraved by Fürst . This is one of two panel designs, each in two sizes, incorporated into a silver tea service attributed to Hugh Wishart , New York, ca . 1810.


Fig. 6. Drawing of silver tea pot showing the die-struck panels in place.

Because the decorative dies carry classical or purely decorative motifs, they cannot clearly be assigned an American origin. The embellishments first appear on American silverware dated between 1810 and 1817, and it is possible that Fürst cut the dies before coming to America . However, I believe it likely that Fürst made the dies after coming to America , and probably while establishing his engraving business in Philadelphia .

Other decorative dies by Fürst may exist. Chamberlain (1954a, 592) reports that Fürst made presentation swords under contract to the State of New York for several War of 1812 commanders. Fürst may have engraved dies to produce decorative elements for these swords and their scabbards.

Fürst and Coinage Design

The allegorical and classical figures on Fürst's medals and embellishments suggest that he could have made significant contributions to the nation's coinage, which used classical figures as embodiments of liberty . Although Fürst never got the chance to design coins as a Mint engraver, it is possible that he did at least influence U.S. coin design. Figure 7 , reproduced from Taxay (1983, 172), shows preliminary designs by William Kneass , Titian Peale , and Thomas Sully for the new seated Liberty coinage. These sketches, dating to 1835, clearly borrow from many earlier coins, including English and pre-Federal American issues that feature seated goddesses or allegorical female figures. For example, the late eighteenth-century coppers of Vermont and Connecticut crudely portray a seated female figure with a shield and liberty cap on a pole. However, the most direct and immediate precedent for the sketches appears to be a medal by Fürst . Figure 8 shows an American Institute medal from a die (IO-25 in Table 2) made by Fürst in about 1830 ( Harkness 1989, 128), some five years before the designs in Figure 7 . Fürst's composition features a seated, classically-garbed female holding a liberty cap on a pole and supporting a shield, all of which are major elements in the designs that were ultimately adapted to make the new U.S. coinage.


Fig. 7. Sketches by William Kneass (left) and Thomas Sully (right) and painting by Titian Peale (center) showing design concepts for the "seated liberty" coinage. Reproduced from Taxay (1983, 172).


Fig. 8. American Institute award medal from a die completed by Fürst in about 1830.

Additional examples of coin designs that may have borrowed from Fürst's American Institute medal ( Figure 8 ) are the 1859 pattern double eagle by Paquet and 1873 pattern trade dollars by Barber . The Paquet double eagle ( Figure 9 ) has the seated Liberty with arm outstretched, a U.S. shield, and an eagle posed very much like that on Fürst's composition. The trade dollar ( Figure 10 ) features a seated Liberty holding a pole and liberty cap, with a distant sea before her and a plow and sheaf of wheat behind her. All of these elements appear on the American Institute medal.


Fig. 9. Pattern for a gold double eagle by Paquet , dated 1859 and catalogued as Judd no. 257. Reproduced from Judd (1982, 61).


Fig. 10. Pattern for a trade dollar by Barber , dated 1873 and catalogued as Judd no. 1290. Several trade dollar patterns ( Judd nos. 1290-1306) bear a similar design. Reproduced from Judd (1982, 147).

In considering the possible link between the American Institute medal and later coin designs it is worth noting that Fürst's American Institute design proved quite popular. It was copied repeatedly (by engravers such as Robert Lovett , Jr. and George H. Lovett ) on later dies for the American Institute, appearing on medals until about the turn of the century ( Harkness 1989, 132). The design also could be found in nineteenth century print advertisements and even on a hard-times token ( Figure 11 ), attesting to its wide popularity.


Fig. 11. "Hard times" token which directly copies an American Institute die (IO-25 in Table 2) by Fürst . The reverse inscription notes that the token is a "copy of a medal awarded to Robinson's Jones & Co." A button manufacturer, Robinson's Jones & Co. won the medal in 1833.

Concluding Remarks

In terms of design, Fürst's medals are a mixed bag of his own and others' work. Most of his dies for War of 1812 Congressional awards copied portraits, battle scenes and allegorical scenes by graphic artists, both obscure and well known. Reverses for many of the Army medals, for example, were designed by the painter Thomas Sully ( Julian 1977, 112). Other dies, most notably the Indian Peace Medal portraits, were composed as well as engraved by Fürst . The presidential portraits on the Peace Medals are especially noteworthy and valuable as they were based on Fürst's life studies of these men (see, for example, Prucha 1971, 101-103).

Marvin Sadik , writing in 1977 as Director of the National Portrait Gallery ( Sadik 1977, 9), described Fürst's contribution to American medallic art by referring to his "brilliant series of twenty six [medals] for the military heroes of the War of 1812." He went on to state that: [i] n the sustained excellence evident in the work of Reich and Fürst , which forms another link in the great tradition established by Pisanello , one sees a worthy continuation of the high standards set for American medallic art by the trio of Frenchmen [ Duvivier, Dupre , and Gatteaux ] who produced our earliest medals.

A less enthusiastic evaluation was provided by Vermeule (1971, 39) in his book Numismatic Art in America . Vermeule mentions Fürst once in passing, referring to the "Napoleonic pictorialism and patriotic fussiness of Reich and Fürst ."

However one views Fürst's work, there is no denying that his prolific output of dies made him the leading figure in American medallic art of the early nineteenth century. Medals from most of Fürst's dies, including all of the War of 1812 and Indian Peace series, have been restruck and avidly collected since the mid-nineteenth century. 6 Many, in fact, continue to be periodically restruck from copy dies and sold by the U.S. Mint as part of a series of "national" medals ( Failor and Hayden 1972). His dominance of early nineteenth century medallic art in America has not brought Fürst a corresponding level of recognition in American numismatic circles. I hope that the information presented here will provide a framework for the fuller study that Fürst deserves.


I am grateful to the many individuals who helped me locate and better understand Fürst's medals. It is impossible to thank everyone, but several individuals deserve special mention. They include Paul Bosco, Carl Carlson, Jim Cheevers (USNA Museum), Sim Comfort, Chris Eimer, Norm Flayderman, John Ford , Jr., Daniel Friedenberg, Andy Harkness, Bob Julian, Patricia Kane (Yale University Art Gallery), Charles Kirtley, Richard Margolis, Charles McSorley , the late Lester Merkin, Gene Neuzil, Heather Palmer ( Decatur House Museum), Alan Weinberg, Frank White ( Old Sturbridge Village Museum), and the late Stew Witham . Particular thanks go to Alan Stahl and the American Numismatic Society for providing a forum for a long overdue reexamination of Moritz Fürst , and to Joe Levine and Mike Hodder for critical reviews of the manuscript. Errors of fact or interpretation remain my responsibility.

Appendix: A Compilation of Fürst's American Medallic Work

Ninety-two medal dies can be definitely attributed to Fürst during his American period, but a strong case can be made that the actual number is over 100 and possibly as many as 113 or more. 7 Uncertainty in the die count results from problems of attribution and the likelihood that Fürst made some dies that are presently lost. Sixty-one different medals (not including sporadic mulings) are known to have been struck from the dies.

This appendix presents both a tabulated census of the dies and an illustrated catalogue of medals from the dies. The compilation includes several medals (representing 16 individual dies), that were not included in Chamberlain's (1954b) catalogue of Fürst's work.

Census of Dies

Table 2 tallies all American medal dies that can be attributed to Fürst . The tabulation is based on my own observations as well as published and other authoritative sources as cited. The presentation of the dies is not chronological because their exact sequence (as opposed to their year of completion) is poorly known. Rather, the dies are arranged in four broad generic categories. First are dies done under contract to the United States (designated by US -numbers), comprised of presidential portrait dies for the Indian Peace Medal series and Congressionally-mandated award medals for the War of 1812. Indian Peace Medal dies and Army Congressional award dies were made under contract to the War Department whereas Navy Congressional award dies were made under contract to the Navy Department. Second are dies for medals mandated by the Pennsylvania legislature and made under contract to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (designated by PA ) as awards for the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Listed third are dies made for individuals, organizations, and as speculative ventures (designated by IO). Dies for individuals (such as IO-17 and 18) and organizations (such as IO-25 and 26) were private commissions. Other dies (such as IO-6 and 7) apparently were ventures intended by Fürst for striking medals to be sold for profit. 8 The fourth and last category in Table 2 comprises dies whose existence is speculative (designated by UV, indicating "unverified"); these are dies for which there is only indirect evidence (i.e. there is a written description, reference, or such, but no known medal from the die or die itself).

Uncertainties in the Die Census

Attribution . Fürst signed nearly all of the tabulated dies (generally using letter punches 9 ), leaving no question as to their authorship. Fürst indicated his authorship in various ways, ranging from an explicit statement ( FURST DESIGNED AND SCULP, on die IO-5; see medal 44) to simply his name ( FURST or FURST F. ) or, on some dies, only the initial F. Eight dies included in Table 2 are unsigned (PA-3, 4, IO-1, 2, 24, 26, 27, 30). For most of these, I have relied on comparisons of engraving style or letter punches to attribute them to Fürst . The exception is die IO-2 ( John Adams ; medal 42), which is linked to Fürst anectdotally, as I describe in more detail below. Although attribution is never certain for unsigned dies, there is little question that most of the unsigned dies in Table 2 were engraved by Fürst . Why didn't Fürst sign them? Some dies, such as inscription die IO-24 (medal 55) and wreath dies IO-26, 27, 30 (medals 56 and 58), probably had too little space or were simple enough that Fürst declined to sign them. In the case of other dies (PA-3,4, IO-1,2; medals 40, 41 and 42) the lack of a signature is perplexing.

The die memorializing Washington (IO-1; medal 41) is especially interesting with regard to the problem of attribution. This unsigned die, almost certainly by Fürst , features a bust of Washington on a pedestal flanked by figures representing an Indian and a classical female. It exhibits several strong stylistic links to Fürst's known dies. The modelling of the human figures, especially their musculature and feet, is quite characteristic of Fürst's work. The stance of the Indian closely matches that of a figure on die US-20, the reverse of the Congressional award to William Henry Harrison (medal 16), and the rendering of the tree branches on the pedestal matches that on die IO-11, one of the reverses of the Benjamin Rush medals (see medal 47). Attribution of this die to Fürst resolves a longstanding problem. Chamberlain (1954b, 937) noted that an art exhibit in Philadelphia in 1817 listed a medal of Washington by Fürst and added that the medal was unknown to her. Apparently medal no. 41 (die IO-1) is the medal in question.

Die IO-2 (see medal 42), an unsigned portrait die of John Adams , is atypical of Fürst's work, the bust being rather stiff and not particularly natural. Differences are apparent, for example, with Fürst's more lifelike portrayal of Adams's son, John Quincy Adams , on Indian Peace Medal dies US-4, 5, 6 (medals 4, 5, 6). However, as Julian (1977, 31) notes, both Franklin Peale and J.R. Snowden explicitly attributed the die to Fürst . Peale was the Mint's Chief Coiner from 1839 to 1854 and Snowden was Director from 1853 to 1861. Peale was associated with the Mint before 1839 and thus probably had first-hand knowledge of Fürst's work, lending credence to his attribution. Contrary evidence comes from an 1871 auction sale ( Bangs, Merwin 1871, 69) of the collection of William F. Packer , a former Pennsylvania governor who died in 1870. The sale contained a John Adams medal (of the correct diameter for IO-2) with the cataloguer's note: I find the following memorandum in regard to this Medal in the handwriting of the late Governor Packer: During the Presidency of the Elder Adams , the die for this medal was cut and submitted to the government, but not accepted. The few Medals struck - some four or five in number - have remained in the possesion of the artist's family until very recently.

The emphasis is mine. If the die was cut during the elder Adams's presidency, which ended in 1801, it could not have been done by Fürst (but could have been done by Mint engraver Robert Scot ). Thus, the attribution of die IO-2 to Fürst is uncertain. If Fürst did engrave IO-2, the style must echo that of an earlier portrait, perhaps a painting, that served as the model.

A number of questions surround the dies for the naval award medals authorized by the Pennsylvania legislature. Two of the four dies apparently used to strike the original medals are unsigned. Fürst signed dies PA-1 and PA-2 (medal 39) but the unsigned dies PA-3 and PA-4 (medal 40) also appear to be his work. The unsigned portrait die of Captain Oliver H. Perry (PA-3) is a matter of curiosity because it features a different rendering of Perry than the signed die but carries the same legends in the same arrangement. It is very typical of Fürst's style. Likewise, the rendering of the boughs tied with a ribbon on PA-4 is quite reminiscent of the design on die US-32, Fürst's signed reverse of the Congressional award to Winfield Scott (medal 22). I believe that both of the unsigned dies (PA-3 and PA-4, medal 40) are by Fürst .

Unsigned dies IO-26, 27, and 30 are comprised of relatively simple wreath designs used as the reverses on award medals presented by the American Institute and the Mechanics Institute (medals 56 and 58). The two organizations shared at least one reverse die (IO-27), which is found paired with both obverse dies (IO-25 and IO-29). Die IO-26 is apparently the earliest reverse and clearly seems to be Fürst's work. The wreath of boughs tied with a bow is also quite similar to the wreath on the reverse of the Winfield Scott medal (medal 22). IO-27 is a later die, but stylistically similar and probably also by Fürst . The authorship of IO-30, a still later reverse die, is questionable. Unlike the oak leaves on IO-26 and 27, which were made with a punch, those on IO-30 are individually engraved. Die IO-30 is quite possibly the work of another engraver copying Fürst's original design.

Problems of attribution extend to the provenance of the dies. My intent is to include only "American" medal dies in the tabulation, that is, dies made by Fürst while he was in America . Fürst may have engraved medal dies before coming to America and he certainly did so after returning to Europe (see main text). In most cases the dies in Table 2 are clearly from his American period, but for a few (dies IO-31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36) an American origin is disputable because foreign subjects or interests are represented. Inclusion of these dies in Table 2 reflects the fact that they appear to date from Fürst's American period. They may represent commissions from foreign interests, perhaps diplomatic or trade missions, that were in the United States at the time.

Intended Die Pairings. The intended pairing is firmly established for most of Fürst's dies, and is indicated in Table 2. For example, although the dies for the Army medals of the War of 1812 were muled extensively at the Mint during the latter half of the nineteenth century, the intended pairing for these dies is well documented (even if it is not always self-evident). In a few instances, however, dies appear to have been muled so consistently that the mulings have come to be accepted as the intended pairings. In other cases, it is not clear what the intended pairing was or, indeed, whether mate dies ever existed.

The confusion surrounding the Pennsylvania Naval award dies (PA-1, 2, 3, 4; medals 39 and 40) extends to their intended pairings. Julian (1977, 166) catalogues four medals representing all possible obversereverse combinations of the two obverse with the two reverse dies. However, Julian also states that Fürst engraved only one obverse and two reverse dies for the Pennsylvania medals. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the signed obverse die (PA-1; medal 39) is known only from two gold medals in institutional collections where it is paired with signed reverse die PA-2: I know of no other confirmed pairings for PA-1 (including the pairing with PA-4 that Julian speculatively catalogues). The Pennsylvania legislature authorized gold medals for Captain Perry , Master Commandant Elliot , and a Lieutenant John J. Yarnall , and silver medals of a distinct design for Pennsylvania citizens who served in the enlisted ranks in the Battle of Lake Erie ( Ayers 1972, 7). Perhaps the signed obverse was intended to be paired with both reverses for the two different awards. If so, how does one explain the unsigned obverse? The signed obverse die may have failed or had to be retired after a few uses, explaining the lack of restrikes from it and the need for a second portrait die. This hypothesis is supported by the observation that the signed obverse was already buckled when Perry's gold medal was struck. Additional confusion about die pairing probably arose because unsigned obverse die PA-3 was extensively paired with signed reverse die PA-2 by the Mint to make restrikes in the late nineteenth century.

Fürst's unofficial die portraying President Madison (IO-3) has been extensively muled. This die, paired with an unsigned reverse die, was used to strike medals (number 43) in the 1860s or earlier. 10 This pairing is the only one known for IO-3 and has come to be accepted by many as the intended one. However, multiple lines of evidence indicate that it is a mule. First, stylistic comparisons clearly indicate that the reverse die is not by Fürst . Second, the legend within the wreath, which refers to political issues during the War of 1812, is incompatible with the surrounding legend INDUSTRY BRINGS PLENTY. The design itself, which features agricultural implements, is at odds with the central inscription. 11 Third, the reverse die was reduced from a larger diameter to one matching that of IO-3. The reduction is apparent from the position of the eagle's wingtips, which extend through the border to the edge of the die ( Figure A1 ). Reduction is also indicated by prior cracking of the die below the word PLENTY, which caused that lettering to be especially close to the new edge ( Figure A1 ). Finally, by the time known medals were struck, the obverse die (IO-3) had been crudely lapped to conceal damage. The lapping obliterated part of Fürst's name on the banner below the bust. All of these observations lead to the conclusion that the reverse die used with IO-3 was not its intended mate, but was concocted to permit restriking the Madison portrait from an impaired die. The intended pairing for die IO-3 is thus unknown.

The John Adams "Indian Peace Medal" (medal no. 42, which uses unsigned portrait die IO-2) is also, strictly speaking, a mule. It is not a true Indian Peace Medal because the Reich Peace and Friendship reverse was made in 1809 ( Julian 1977, 29), well after Adams held office. Mint Director J. R. Snowden considered the John Adams portrait die to be a private commission and noted the absence of a reverse ( Prucha 1971, 137). The intended pairing is thus uncertain.


Fig. A1. Detail of reverse die used with Fürst's Madison portrait die (IO-3). As seen here, (1) the eagle's wingtip extends through the border to the edge of the die and (2) the word PLENTY, with tangential cracks beneath it, is closer to the edge than BRINGS. Both observations indicate that the die was once larger and was reduced to mate with IO-3.

Two of Fürst's dies are known only from uniface medals. The dies portraying George Washington (IO-1; medal 41) and Gershom Seixas (IO-19; medal 52) are not known to have been paired with any die ( Stack's 1996, 40; Friedenberg 1990). It is possible that no mates were ever made for these dies. This is implied for the Washington die by an entry in an 1817 art exhibit catalogue (cited by Chamberlain 1954b, 937) that mentions the Washington portrait but does not mention a reverse.

Missing dies. Various lines of evidence suggest that I have not identified all of Fürst's American medal dies. First, as shown by Figure 3 in the main text, relatively few dies are known from the early and late portions of Fürst's American career; he had ample time to produce more dies than are now documented. Second, some of Fürst's dies are known to us through only one, two, or a few medals. In particular, dies that Fürst made as speculative ventures typically left few surviving medals. Apparently, if sufficient subscriptions were not obtained, a medal would not be struck in large quantities, or not struck at all. This may explain the rarity of medals from the Washington (IO-1; medal 41), Monroe (IO-4, 5; medal 44), and John Q. Adams inaugural (IO-6, 7; medal 45) dies, and the lack of original strikings from the Madison (IO-3; medal 43) and Seixas (IO-19; medal 52) dies. 12 These medals could easily have been lost to posterity and, by extension, it would not be surprising if others have in fact been lost. Third, indirect evidence exists for several specific dies that are currently unknown. Nine candidates for such missing dies are listed in Table 2 as "unverified" (UV).

The listings of UV-1 and 2 and UV-3 and 4 are prompted by exhibit catalogues of 1811 and 1829 cited by Chamberlain (1954b, 937). The first refers to "a medal of William Penn ," which is unknown today. The second lists a "Cast of a medal of President Andrew Jackson , on reverse the Battle of New Orleans ." Unlike the Congressional award to Jackson (dies US-21, 22; medal 17), which features an allegorical scene on the reverse, the catalogue explicitly refers to a depiction of the battle. No such medal is known today. 13 The word cast in the catalogue entry suggests a trial impression rather than a struck medal; perhaps no struck medals were made.

The unverified die depicting Captain Jesse Elliot's capture of the British ships Detroit and Caledonia (UV-5) is listed based on an unusual piece of evidence. Chamberlain (1954b, 938) located and reproduced an early nineteenth century painting that appears to depict two different gold medals awarded to Captain Jesse Elliot ( Figure A2 ). The obverse of the Congressional award (die US-46) is shown together with its intended reverse depicting the Battle of Lake Erie (die US-56) to the left and in the center of Figure A2 . However, an undocumented reverse (die UV-5) is also shown, as seen on the right in Figure A2 . Reverse die UV-5 may have been mated with the regular portrait obverse for striking an award medal for Elliot from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania .

I also considered mateless dies to be evidence for missing dies. The Madison obverse die (IO-3), which is known only from mulings with an unrelated reverse die, is a good example. Did Fürst make a reverse die, now missing, to pair with IO-3? I believe it likely because he cut an elaborate reverse die (IO-5) for a similar portrait die of Monroe (IO-4; see medal 44). Dies that are now missing may also have served as reverses for the Washington (IO-1), John Adams (IO-2), and Gershom Seixas (IO-19) portrait dies, as indicated in Table 2.

Early Damage to the Dies

Damage to the dies, when present, is noted under "Comments" in Table 2. Notes on damage are based on personal examination of many medals. Table 2 reveals a surprising fact with respect to Fürst's official (US and PA) dies: most of the dies for the Navy awards exhibit some sort of damage, whereas few of the Army or Indian Peace Medal dies do. More than 60% (17/28) of the Naval dies exhibit damage (or had to be replaced), whereas this is true of fewer than 10% of the Army dies (2/22) and the Indian Peace Medal dies (1/12). The damage to the Naval dies is usually buckling and cracks. The buckling occurs as a "sinking" of the die that causes it to become mildly concave and the field of the struck medal to be correspondingly convex. The sinking is generally uneven and cracks are often located along the trace of maximum buckling. Other types of damage evident on the Naval dies include stray cracks and indentations and even corrosion that may have occurred during acid "frosting" of the relief. 14


Fig. A2. Detail of contemporary painting by John A. Woodside that appears to depict two different gold medals awarded to Navy Captain Jesse D. Elliot . Reproduced from Chamberlain (1954b, 938).

Apparently, most of the damage occurred during the initial handling and hardening of the dies, rather than developing later in the die's life (although the damage often worsened with use). This can be established because the Naval award dies were used in a very consistent manner: first a single gold medal was struck for the honoree, and then a limited number of silver medals were struck for his officers ( Julian 1977, xxii; 3 gold medals were struck in the case of the Pennsylvania award to Perry ). Original gold and silver medals therefore display very early die states. In examining several original gold and silver award medals from the Naval series, I have found that damage known from copper restrikes of the medals generally is also present on the original gold and silver strikings. The gold medal presented to Captain Oliver H. Perry by Pennsylvania and now in the collection of the U.S. Naval Academy is an excellent example; this medal was presumably the first struck and shows that both dies were strongly buckled.

Buckling and cracks occurred during hardening of the die ( Julian 1977, 152), which required heating and rapid cooling by quenching in water ( Taxay 1983, 83; Landis , 1997). In several instances (US-24, 35, 49, 50, 52, 54), Julian cites contemporary documents that mention damage caused by hardening. Other types of damage, such as stray indentations, were apparently due to careless handling before hardening.

Why did the Naval dies suffer more damage than the Army and the Peace Medal dies? They were the first large group of medal dies to be delivered to the Mint for hardening and striking, and inexperience with such large dies may have led to problems. Prior to the large influx of Naval War of 1812 dies, Mint personnel had worked mostly with small coinage dies. Julian (1977, 113) reports that Adam Eckfeldt , the Mint's Chief Coiner, was often very slow to harden medal dies. Risk of damage to the dies may have caused Eckfeldt to adopt a very deliberate approach to hardening. By the time the Army award dies and most of the Indian Peace medal dies were delivered to the Mint , Eckfeldt had more experience with the quirks of large medal dies. It is also conceivable that the War Department (which contracted for both the Army's War of 1812 dies and the Indian Peace Medal dies) procured superior steel for its dies.

Table 1. Julian (1977) Number Cross-Reference
Julian Number This Catalogue Julian Number This Catalogue
IP-1 42 MI-20 22
IP-8 1 MI-21 23
IP-9 2 NA-4 24
IP-10 3 NA-5 25
IP-11 4 NA-6 26
IP-12 5 NA-7 27
IP-13 6 NA-8 28
IP-14 7 NA-9 29
IP-15 8 NA-10 30
IP-16 9 NA-11 31
IP-17 10 NA-13 32
IP-18 11 NA-14 33
IP-19 12 NA-15 34
IP-20 mule (see 16) NA-16 35
PR-3 43 NA-17 36
PR-4 44 NA-18 mule (see 39, 40)
PR-5 45 NA-19 40
PR-6 mule (see 11) Na-20 39
MI-11 13 NA-21 mule (see 40, 39)
MI-12 14 NA-22 37
MI-13 15 NA-23 38
MI-14 16 MT-18 54
MI-15 17 MT-24 46
MI-16 18 PE-15 53
MI-17 19 PE-30 47
MI-18 20 PE-31 48
MI-19 21 AM-1 55
Table 2. Dies for American Medals by Moritz Fürst
Die No. Description Yr. a Size (mm) Pr. b Cat. No. Comments
Dies Under Contract to U. S.
Indian Peace Medals
US-1 James Monroe 1819 76 (a) 1
US-2 James Monroe 1819 62 (b) 2
US-3 James Monroe 1819 51 (c) 3
US-4 John Quincy Adams 1825 76 (a) 4 Buckled and cracked during hardening; lapping to repair buckling noted on original silver medals and later copper restrike medals as weakening of lettering left of bust.
US-5 John Quincy Adams 1825 62 (b) 5
US-6 John Quincy Adams 1825 51 (c) 6
US-7 Andrew Jackson 1831 76 (a) 7
US-8 Andrew Jackson 1831 62 (b) 8
US-9 Andrew Jackson 1831 51 (c) 9
US-10 Martin Van Buren 1837 76 (a) 10
US-11 Martin Van Buren 1837 62 (b) 11
US-12 Martin Van Buren 1837 51 (c) 12
Congressional Awards - Army
US-13 Jacob Brown 1822(?) 65 13
US-14 Battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie : Allegorical scene I 1822(?) 65 13
US-15 George Croghan 1836(?) 65 14 Cracked through bust (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals. Extensive die rust also noted, but only on late copper restrikes.
US-16 Battle of Sandusky 1836(?) 65 14
US-17 Edmund P. Gaines 1822 65 15
US-18 Battle of Erie 1822 65 15
US-19 William H. Harrison 1821 65 16 Also used at Mint to strike ersatz Indian Peace Medal listed by Julian (1977, 45) as IP-20.
US-20 Battle of the Thames : Allegorical scene by 1824 65 16
US-21 Andrew Jackson 1822(?) 65 17
US-22 Battle of New Orleans : Allegorical scene 1822(?) 65 17
US-23 Alexander Macomb 1822 65 18
US-24 Battle of Plattsburgh 1822 65 18 Original die broken during hardening; replacement made by Fürst ( Julian 1977, 128).
US-25 James Miller between 1821 and 1824 65 19
US-26 Battles of Chippewa, Niagara,and Erie : Allegorical scene II between 1821 and 1824 65 19
US-27 Peter B. Porter 1822(?) 65 20
US-28 Battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie : Allegorical scene III 1822(?) 65 20
US-29 Eleazer W. Ripley 1826 65 21
US-30 Battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie : Allegorical scene IV 1821 65 21
US-31 Winfield Scott 1822 65 22
US-32 Battles of Chippewa and Niagara : Wreath & Inscription 1822 65 22
US-33 Isaac Shelby 1822 65 23
US-34 Battle of the Thames 1822 65 23
Congressional Awards - Navy
US-35 William Bainbridge 1817 65 24 Buckled during hardening, but repaired (lapped?) by Adam Eckfeldt ( Julian 1977, 152). No die damage apparent on medals.
US-36 Constitution - Java engagement 1817 65 24
US-37 James Biddle 1819 65 25
US-38 Hornet - Penguin engagement 1819 65 25 Small crack through first S in SERVICES and stray indentations in die noted on named original silver medal.
US-39 Johnston Blakely 1820(?) 65 26
US-40 Wasp - Reindeer engagement 1820(?) 65 26 Corrosion damage (from acid pickling?), most visible on left side in ocean waves, noted on original silver medal.
US-41 William Burrows (funeral urn) before 1821 65 27 Buckled and cracked (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-42 Enterprize - Boxer engagement before 1821 65 27, 35
US-43 Stephen Cassin 1818 or later 65 US-53 28
US-44 Stephen Decatur by 1820 65 29
US-45 United States - Macedonian engagement 1817 65 29 Buckled during hardening; damage noted on original gold medal in collection of Decatur House Museum. Radial crack along axis of buckle (through inscription below battle scene) formed during striking of silver presentation medals.
US-46 Jesse D. Elliot 1818 65 US-56 30 Buckled (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-47 Robert Henley 1817 or later 65 US-53 31
US-48 Jacob Jones 1817 65 32
US-49 Wasp - Frolic engagement 1817 65 32 Original broken during hardening; replacement made by Fürst ( Julian 1977, 161).
US-50 James Lawrence 1817 65 33 Original broken during hardening; replacement made by Fürst ( Julian 1977, 162). Replacement buckled and cracked vertically through bust (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-51 1lornet - Peacock engagement 1817 65 33 Buckled (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-52 Thomas Macdonough 1818 65 US-53 34 Buckled and cracked during hardening ( Julian 1977, 163); crack from head through TA of STAGNO faintly visible on early silver medal.
US-53 Battle on Lake Champlain 1818 65 US-52, US-47, US-43 28, 31, 34
US-54 Edward R. McCall 1817 or later 65 US-42 35 Original broken during hardening; replacement made by Fürst ( Julian 1977, 164)
US-55 Oliver H. Perry 1818 65 US-56 36 Buckled (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-56 American - British engagement, Lake Erie 1818 65 US-55, US-46 30, 36 Buckled (during hardening?) as noted on copper restrike medals.
US-57 Charles Stewart 1819 65 37 Apparently broke along edge during hardening; all medals seen from this die, including silver, have conspicuous rim cuds.
US-58 Constitution - Levant engagement 1819 65 37
US-59 Lewis Warrington 1818 or 1819 65 ↓1 38 Slight damage to die (pits and indentations) noted on original gold medal in Naval Academy collection.
US-60 Peacock - Epervier engagement 1819 or later 65 38
Dies Under Contract to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
PA-1 Oliver H. Perry 1817 65 39 Buckled conspicuously during hardening; damage noted on original gold medal in Naval Academy collection.
PA-2 American - British engagement, Lake Erie : Eagle with banner 1817 65 39 Buckled conspicuously during hardening; damage noted on original gold medal in Naval Academy collection.
PA-3 Oliver H. Perry 1817 65 40 Unsigned; style suggests done by Fürst . Julian (1977, 166) considers this die a "reproduction" of PA-1, but it is a completely different rendering of Perrys portrait. Used to strike named silver medal in ANS collection.
PA-4 Battle of Lake Erie : Wreath 1817 65 40 Unsigned; style suggests done by Fürst .
Dies Made for Individuals, Organizations, and as Speculative Ventures
American Subjects
IO-l George Washington : Bust on pedestal 1817 or earlier 65 (?) 41 Unsigned; stylistically attributed to Fürst . Only four struck silver shells known from this die.
IO-2 John Adams (?) 51 (?) 42 Unsigned; historically attributed to Fürst ( Julian 1977, 31). May have been late addition intended for Indian Peace Medal series, but was not used to strike actual Indian Peace Medals.
IO-3 James Madison 1820(?) 64 (?) 43 All known medals from this die were struck after the die had been corroded, indented, and heavily and crudely lapped. The reverse die used for these medals, although attributed - to Fürst , is not by him and is not the intended reverse for this die.
IO-4 James Monroe 1823 76 44 Sole known medal from this die discovered in 1989 ( Neuzil 1991, 139). Described but not illustrated by Julian (1977, 79).
IO-5 The Congress and the People: Allegory 1823 76 44 One electrotype copy, but no struck medals known from this die.
IO-6 John Quincy Adams 1826 50 45
IO-7 Science - America allegory 1826 50 45
IO-8 Alexander Hamilton (?) 49 46
IO-9 Public Credit (?) 49 46
IO-10 Benjamin Rush ca. 1807 42 IO-11, IO-12 47, 48
IO-11 Sydenham landscape ca. 1807 42 IO-10 47
IO-12 Book on pedestal ca. 1807 42 IO-10 48
IO-13 DeWitt Clinton 1812(?) 34 49
IO-14 New York City Hall 1812(?) 34 49
IO-15 Stephen Decatur (?) 34 50
IO-16 James Lawrence (?) 34 50
IO-17 Archibald Binny 1816(?) 41 51 Only one struck medal (in white metal) and one set of tin splashers known from this die and its mate IO-18.
IO-18 Letter foundry and allegory 1816(?) 41 51
IO-19 Gershom M. Seixas 1816(?) 66 (?) 52 Only modern, uniface medals are known from this die, which is in the possession of the American Jewish Historical Society.
IO-20 David Hosack , M.D. between 1830 and 1835? 34 53
IO-21 Arts and science: Implements between 1830 and 1855? 34 53
IO-22 Adam Eckfeldt 1839 51 (see comment) 54 The intended (and actual) pairing for this die is an inscription die attributed to Franklin Peale ( Julian 1977, 191).
IO-23 Count Rumford 1839 65 55
IO-24 Award inscription: American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1839 65 55 Unsigned; attribution to Fürst based on commonality of letter punches with IO-23.
IO-25 American Institute: Allegorical scene ca. 1830 51 IO-26, IO-27, IO-30(?) 56 See Harkness (1989, 128).
IO-26 Oak and palm wreath: First type ca. 1830 51 IO-25, IO-29(?) 56, 58(?) Unsigned, but stylistically linked to Fürst . This die and dies IO-27 and IO-30 are of similar design. IO-27 and possibly this die were shared between the American Institute and the Mechanics Institute for pairing with dies IO-25 and IO-29.
IO-27 Oak and palm wreath: Second type (?) 51 IO-25, IO-29 56, 58 Unsigned, but stylistically linked to Fürst . See IO-26
IO-28 American Institute: Allegorical scene ca. 1835 26 (see comment) 57 Paired with a blank die to provide an engravable reverse for presentation. See Harkness (1989, 128).
IO-29 Mechanics Institute: Allegorical scene ca. 1830 51 IO-26(?), IO-27, IO-30 58 See IO-26.
IO-30 Oak and palm wreath: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER (?) 51 IO-29 56(?), 58 Unsigned; similar design to IO-26 and IO-27. 58 Attribution to Fürst uncertain. See IO-26.
Foreign Subjects or Interests
IO-31 Adolph Friedrich , Duke of Cambridge 1831(?) 39 59 Brown (1980, 367) and Eimer (1987, 151) both attribute this die and its mate to Fürst while he was in America .
IO-32 Oak and palm wreath: DEM ALLGELEIBTEN VICEKOENIGE 1831(?) 39 59 See IO-31.
IO-33 Louis Philippe I 1836(?) 51 60 Although they appear to represent French interests, this die and its mate (IO-32) are included because the date referred to on IO-32 (1836) is during Fürst's residence in America .
IO-34 Premier payment: Allegorical scene 1836(?) 51 60 See IO-31.
IO-35 Queen Victoria 1838(?) 52 61 This die and its mate (IO-34) are included because Victorias coronation occurred when Fürst was still in America .
IO-36 Britannia and river god Thames 1838(?) 52 61 See IO-33.
Unverified Dies
UV-1 William Penn 1811 or earlier (?) Mentioned in catalogue of 1811 art exhibit in Philadelphia ( Chamberlain 1954b, 937).
UV-2 William Penn reverse 1811 or earlier (?) Purely speculative; reverse for UV-1 not mentioned in exhibit catalogue that lists UV-1.
UV-3 Andrew Jackson 1829 or earlier (?) Mentioned in catalogue of 1829 art exhibit in Philadelphia (not described as a Congressional award, as were others mentioned in prior catalogues). Described as having Battle of New Orleans on reverse ( Chamberlain 1954b, 937).
UV-4 Battle of New Orleans 1829 or earlier (?) See UV-3.
UV-5 Capture of the Detroit and the Caledonia 1817(?) 65 US-46(?) Chamberlain (1954b, 938) reproduces a painting that seems to show two different gold medals presented to Jesse D. Elliot : the Congressional award (US-46 and US-56) and an award from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made with US-46 and this currently unverified reverse depicting the capture of the two British ships. HOSTIUM SUB MOENIBUS NAVES ET PATRIAE DEDIT surrounds above, with DIE IX OCTOB. MDCCCXII in exergue.
UV-6 Reverse for medal to George Washington 1817 or earlier 65 IO-1 Purely speculative; reverse for IO-1 not mentioned in exhibit catalogue that lists IO-1.
UV-7 Reverse for medal to John Adams (?) 51 IO-2 Highly speculative, as IO-2 may have been intended for mating with the Indian Peace Medal reverse.
UV-8 Reverse for medal to James Madison 1820(?) 64 IO-3 Likely to have existed; reverses were made by Fürst for comparable portrait dies for presidents Monroe (IO-4) and J. Q. Adams (IO-6).
UV-9 Reverse for medal to Gershom M. Seixas 1816(?) 66 IO-19

End Notes

Year die completed.
Intended Pairing. The notation (a), (b), and (c) indicates the 76, 62, and 51 mm "Peace and Friendship" reverse dies by Reich for Indian Peace Medals. Arrows point to the intended mate die.

Illustrated Catalogue of Medals from Fürst's Dies

Medals from Fürst's dies are described and illustrated in the catalogue that follows. The arrangement corresponds, as closely as possible, to the listing of dies in Table 2. Cross-references to Loubat (1878), Julian (1977), Harkness (1989), Brown (1980), and Eimer (1987) catalogue numbers are provided, while cross-references from Julian (1977) numbers to the present catalogue numbers are provided in Table 1.

The die pairings represented here are generally the intended ones. However, in some cases (which are noted) the die pairing is the most commonly encountered but not the intended one. Numerous mulings, particularly of the dies for Army Congressional awards, are known to exist 15 but are not listed.

All medals illustrated are from the original dies. Note that all of the official ( US and PA ) dies as well as some of the unofficial (IO) dies have been copied and that early strikings from copy dies are often confused with those from the original dies. The best diagnostics of original and copy dies are the style and placement of the lettering.

Dies Under Contract to U.S. : Indian Peace Medals

1. James Monroe .

Obv.: Fur-draped, clothed bust right of Monroe . JAMES MONROE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. A.D. 1817. surrounds, with FURST.F. below bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-1; Julian IP-8; Loubat 49. 76 mm.

2. James Monroe .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Monroe . JAMES MONROE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. A.D. 1817. surrounds, with FURST F. below bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich . Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Die US-2; Julian IP-9. 62 mm.

3. James Monroe .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Monroe . JAMES MONROE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. A.D. 1817. surrounds, with FURST F. below bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-3; Julian IP-10. 51 mm.


4. John Quincy Adams .

Obv.: Fur-draped, clothed bust right of Adams . JOHN QUINCY ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES /1825 surrounds, with the initial F. on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-4; Julian IP-11; Loubat 53. 76 mm.

5. John Quincy Adams .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Adams . JOHN QUINCY ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE U. STATES 1825. surrounds, with the initial F. on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-5; Julian IP-12. 62 mm.

6. John Quincy Adams .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Adams . JOHN QUINCY ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE U. STATES 1825. surrounds, with the initial F. on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich . Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Die US-6; Julian IP-13. 51 mm.


7. Andrew Jackson .

Obv.: Fur-draped, clothed bust right of Jackson . ANDREW JACKSON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES surrounds, with A.D.1829 below. FURST F. appears below the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich . Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Die US-7; Julian IP-14; Loubat 54. 76 mm.

8. Andrew Jackson .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Jackson . ANDREW JACKSON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES A.D.1829 surrounds. FURST.F. appears below the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-8; Julian IP-15. 62 mm.

9. Andrew Jackson .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Jackson . ANDREW JACKSON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES A.D.1829 surrounds. FUR. appears below the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-9; Julian IP-16. 51 mm.

10. Martin Van Buren .

Obv.: Fur-draped, clothed bust right of Van Buren . MARTIN VAN BUREN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES / A.D.1837 surrounds, with Fürst F. below the point of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-10; Julian IP-17; Loubat 56. 76 mm.

11. Martin Van Buren .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Van Buren . MARTIN VAN BUREN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES / A.D.1837 surrounds, with FURST F. below the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich . Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Die US-11; Julian IP-18. 62 mm.


12. Martin Van Buren .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Van Buren . MARTIN VAN BUREN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES / A.D.1837 surrounds, with FURST.F. below the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die US-12; Julian IP-19. 51 mm.


Dies Under Contract to U.S. : Army Congressional Awards

13. Major General Jacob Brown .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Brown . MAJOR GENERAL JACOB BROWN , surrounds, with FURST.F below the bust.

Rev.: Eagle treading on Union Jack . Behind, a fasces with victory wreath and various trophies of war. Shields reading NIAGARA, ERIE , and CHIPPEWA hang from the wreath. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMBER 3. 1814. surrounds. BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA . JULY 5, 1814./ NIAGARA . JULY 25, 1814./ ERIE . SEPT. 17. 1814./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-13, 14; Julian MI-11; Loubat 39. 65 mm. On the reverse die the 5 in JULY 5 is punched over a 6, and SEP. 17 is punched over AUG. 15. The same overpunches can be seen on medals to Miller (die US-26), Porter (US-28), and Scott (US-32). Evidently, there was confusion about the dates of the Battles of Chippewa and Fort Erie . In the case of Fort Erie , there were two significant actions - one on August 15, 1814, in which Generals Edmund P. Gaines and Eleazer W. Ripley participated, and one on September 17, 1814, in which, in addition to Ripley , Generals Brown , Miller , Porter , and Scott participated ( Hickey , 1989). Apparently, the earlier date was inadvertantly used for those in the later action and then corrected. These overpunches were described by Michael Hodder in the catalogue of the Dreyfus Sale by Bowers and Merena (1986).

14. Colonel George Croghan .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Croghan . PRESENTED BY CONGRESS TO COLONEL GEORGE CROGHAN / - 1835- surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing Fort Stephenson under attack by British forces. Ships in distance on Lake Erie . PARS MAGNA FUIT on banner above. SANDUSKY/ 2: AUGUST./ 1813/ FURST F. in exergue.

Dies US-15, 16; Julian MI-12; Loubat 55. 65 mm.

In the battle depicted on the reverse, 160 men led by 21-year old Major Croghan repulsed an attack on Fort Stephenson by a British force numbering 400 ( Hickey 1989, 136).


15. Major General Edmund P. Gaines .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Gaines . MAJOR GENERAL EDMUND P. GAINES , surrounds, with FURST F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Winged victory, standing on British shield, placing wreath on upended canon labelled ERIE . Various war trophies surround canon. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMBER 3. 1814. surrounds, with BATTLE OF ERIE/ AUG.15.1814./ FURST F. below ground line.

Dies US-17, 18; Julian MI-13; Loubat 44. 65 mm.


16. Major General William Henry Harrison .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Harrison . MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM H. HARRISON , surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Victory, holding lance and shield, placing wreath on tripod of lances from which hangs a shield labelled FORT/ MEIGS/ BATTLE/ OF THE/ THAMES . Various war trophies lie beneath tripod. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS APRIL 4. 1818* surrounds, with BATTLE OF THE THAMES / OCTOBER 5. 1813./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-19, 20; Julian MI-14; Loubat 50. 65 mm.


17. Major General Andrew Jackson .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Jackson . MAJOR GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON surrounds, with FURST F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Peace, holding olive branch, stopping inscription of tablet by seated Victory, who holds a wreath. The tablet reads ORLEANS. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS FEBRUARY 27. 1815. surrounds, with BATTLE OF NEW-ORLEANS / JANUARY 8. 1815./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-21, 22; Julian MI-15; Loubat 46. 65 mm.

Fürst's portrayal of the future president on this medal is particularly well-executed and powerful.


18. Major General Alexander Macomb .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Macomb . MAJOR GENERAL ALEXANDER MACOMB surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing armies engaged with bridge across Saranac River and Plattsburgh in the left distance. In the right distance, ships engaged in the naval battle of Lake Champlain. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMBER 3. 1814. surrounds, with BATTLE OF PLATTSBURGH / SEPT. 11. 1814./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-23, 24; Julian MI-16; Loubat 46. 65 mm.


19. Brigadier General James Miller .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Miller . BRIGADIER GENL. JAMES MILLER , surrounds, with I'LL TRY. below truncation of bust and FURST.F before point of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing armies engaged with horse drawn artillery in foreground and marching columns in the far distance right. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMBER 3. 1814. surrounds, with BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA / JULY 5. 1814./ NIAGARA ./ JULY 25.1814./ ERIE SEP.17. 1814./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-25, 26; Julian MI-17; Loubat 42. 65 mm.

On the reverse die the 5 in JULY 5 is punched over a 6, and SEP. 17 is punched over AUG. 15 (see note under no. 13). The obverse portrait of Miller is striking and the reverse skillfully conveys a sense of depth from foreground to far distance.


20. Major General Peter B. Porter .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Porter . MAJOR GENERAL PETER B. PORTER , surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Winged victory stands holding a palm frond and three battle standards labelled ERIE, CHIPPEWA , and NIAGARA while seated Fame writes on scroll. RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMBER 3. 1814. surrounds, with BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA ./ JULY 5. 1814./ NIAGARA .JULY 25.1814./ ERIE .SEP.17. 1814./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-27, 28; Julian MI-18; Loubat 40. 65 mm.

On the reverse die the 5 in JULY 5 is punched over a 6, and SEP. 17 is punched over AUG. 15 (see note under no. 13).


21. Brigadier General Eleazer W. Ripley .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Ripley. BRIGADIER GENERAL ELEAZER W. RIPLEY surrounds, with FURST F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Winged victory, holding a trumpet, pulling a frond from a palm tree from which hangs a shield labelled CHIPPEWA/ NIAGARA/ ERIE . RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS NOVEMB. 3. 1814. surrounds, with BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA / JULY 5. 1814./ NIAGARA JULY 25.1814./ ERIE . AUG.15.SEP.17./ 1814. in exergue and FURST.F just above the ground line to the right.

Dies US-29, 30; Julian MI-19; Loubat 41. 65 mm.

Due to a late decision to include references to the battles at Fort Erie (see Julian 1977, 131), the lower exergual field on the reverse die (US-30) (which presumably originally showed only Fürst's name) had to be ground down and the Erie inscription added. The result is that the reference to the battles at Erie appears on a raised "step" on the struck medals and Fürst's signature is, unlike on other medals in this series, above the ground line. In addition, careful examination reveals that NOVEMBER was punched into the die fully spelled out before it was realized that abbreviation to NOVEMB. was necessary to preserve the symmetry of the inscription.


22. Major General Winfield Scott .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Scott. MAJOR GENERAL WINFIELD SCOTT . surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: A wreath composed of laurel and palm fronds intertwined with a serpent biting its own tail and forming a circle, the whole tied together with a ribbon at the bottom. RESOLUTION/ OF/ CONGRESS/ NOVEMBER 3. 1814./ BATTLES OF CHIPPEWA / JULY 5. 1814./ NIAGARA / JULY 25.1814. within wreath and FURST.F. adjacent to wreath at lower right.

Dies US-31, 32; Julian MI-20; Loubat 43. 65 mm.

On the reverse die the 5 in JULY 5 is punched over a 6, and SEP. 17 is punched over AUG. 15 (see note under no. 13).


23. Governor Isaac Shelby .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Shelby . GOVERNOR ISAAC SHELBY , surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene in forest clearing showing action between opposing infantry formations with mounted troops advancing from left. BATTLE OF THE THAMES . OCTO. 5. 1813. above, with RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS/ APRIL 4. 1818./ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-33, 34; Julian MI-21; Loubat 51. 65 mm.

Sixty-three year old Shelby led his Kentucky militia in the battle. An audacious and risky tactic helped bring about an American victory: some of Shelby's militia, commanded by Congressman Richard M. Johnson , rode into battle on horseback carrying their muskets. After breaking through the British line, they dismounted and caught the British in a crossfire ( Hickey 1989, 137). On the medal, the mounted troops are depicted advancing from the left, and are accurately shown carrying muskets rather than traditional cavalry sabers.


Dies Under Contract to U.S. : Navy Congressional Awards

24. Captain William Bainbridge .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Bainbridge . GULIELMUS BAINBRIDGE PATRIA VICTISQUE LAUDATUS. surrounds, with a six-pointed star below the bust and FURST.F. to the right below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing defeat of the dismasted Java by Constitution. PUGNANDO* above and INTER. CONST.NAV.AMERI./ ET JAV.NAV.ANGL./ DIE XXIX DECEM./ MDCCCXII/ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-35, 36; Julian NA-4; Loubat 28. 65 mm.

The Bainbridge dies were apparently the first official dies done by Fürst ( Julian 1977, 148), and helped him obtain the contracts for the remaining Navy and Army awards as well as Indian Peace medal portraits.


25. Captain James Biddle .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Biddle. THE CONGRESS OF THE U.S. TO CAPT. JAMES BIDDLE ./ FOR HIS GALLANTRY GOOD CONDUCT AND SERVICES* surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing Penguin engaged by Hornet, with the South Atlantic island of Tristan D'Acunha in the background. CAPTURE OF THE BRITISH SHIP PENGUIN/ BY THE U.S. SHIP HORNET surrounds above and in exergue, with OFF TRISTAN D'ACUNHA/ MARCH XXIII/ MDCCCXV in exergue. FURST.F. appears to the left on the exergual line.

Dies US-37, 38; Julian NA-5; Loubat 48. 65 mm.

This is the only naval medal with legends in English rather than Latin. The commemorated action occurred on March 23, 1815, nearly three months after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. It was the last engagement of the war.


26. Captain Johnston Blakeley .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Blakely . JOHNSTON BLAKELY REIP. FAED. AM. NAV. WASP DUX* surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing engagement between Reindeer and Wasp. EHEU! BIS VICTOR PATRIA TUA TE LUGET PLAUDITQ. surrounds, with INTER WASP NAV.AMERI./ ET REINDEER NAV.ANG./ DIE XXVIII JUNIUS/ MDCCCXIV in exergue. FURST.F. appears to the left on the exergual line.

Dies US-39, 40; Julian NA-6; Loubat 38. 65 mm.


27. Lieutenant William Burrows .

Obv.: Sarcophagus, displaying W.BURROWS . in an oval, surmounted by an urn and surrounded by naval and war trophies. VICTORIAM TIBI CLARAM.PATRIAE MAESTAM* surrounds, with FURST.F below the ground line to left.

Rev.: Battle scene showing engagement between Boxer and Enterprize. VIVERE SAT VINCERE surrounds above, with INTER ENTERPRIZE NAV./ AMERI. ET BOXER NAV./ BRIT. DIE IV SEPT./ MDCCCXIII/ FURST.F in exergue.

Dies US-41, 42; Julian NA-7; Loubat 30. 65 mm.


28. Lieutenant Stephen Cassin .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Cassin . STEP. CASSIN TICONDEROGA PRAEFECT. QUAE REGIO IN TERRIS NOS./ NON PLENA LAB. surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement of American and British fleets in the naval Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain ; land Battle of Plattsburgh in distance on right. UNO LATERE PERCUSSO. ALTERUM surrounds above, with INTER CLASS. AMERI./ ET BRIT. DIE XI SEPT./ MDCCCXIIII/ IMPAVIDE VERTIT. in exergue. FURST.F appears to the right on the exergual line.

Dies US-43, 53; Julian NA-8; Loubat 36. 65 mm.


29. Captain Stephen Decatur .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Decatur . STEPHANUS DECATUR NAVARCHUS, PUGNIS/ PLURIBUS, VICTOR* surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between United States and Macedonian. OCCIDIT SIGNUM HOSTILE SIDERA SURGUNT surrounds above, with INTER STA. UNI. NAV. AMERI. / ET MACEDO. NAV. ANG. DIE / XXV OCTOBRIS/ MDCCCXII in exergue. FURST F. appears to the left on the exergual line.

Dies US-44, 45; Julian NA-9; Loubat 27. 65 mm.

Fürst cut the portrait die of Decatur , possibly at the urging of Decatur himself, after Reich's portrait die was not accepted by the Navy. Fürst also cut the reverse die after Reich's reverse broke during hardening ( Julian 1977, 157).


30. Master Commandant Jesse D. Elliot .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Elliot . JESSE D. ELLIOT . NIL ACTUM REPUTANS SI QUID/ SUPERESSET AGENDUM* surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between the American and British fleets in the Battle of Lake Erie . VIAM INVENIT VIRTUS AUT FACIT* surrounds above, with INTER CLASS. AMERI./ ET BRIT. DIE X. SEP./ MDCCCXI-II/ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-46, 56; Julian NA-10; Loubat 35. 65 mm.


31. Lieutenant Robert Henley .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Henley . ROB. HENLEY EAGLE PRAEFECT. PALMA VIRTU. PER AETERNIT. FLOREBIT surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement of American and British fleets in the naval Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain ; land Battle of Plattsburgh in distance on right. UNO LATERE PERCUSSO. ALTERUM surrounds above, with INTER CLASS. AMERI./ ET BRIT. DIE XI SEPT./ MDCCCXIIII/ IMPAVIDE VERTIT. in exergue. FURST.F appears to the right on the exergual line.

Dies US-47, 53; Julian NA-11; Loubat 35. 65 mm.


32. Captain Jacob Jones .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Jones . IACOBUS JONES VIRTIS IN ARDUA TENDIT* surrounds, with FURST.F on truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between Wasp and Frolic. VICTORIAM HOSTI MAJORI CELERRIME RAPUIT* surrounds, with INTER WASP NAV. AMERI./ ET FROLIC NAV. ANG./ DIE XVIII OCT./ MDCCCXII. in exergue. FURST.F appears to the left on the exergual line.

Dies US-48, 49; Julian NA-13; Loubat 26. 65 mm.

The capture of Frolic, shown on the reverse, was dramatized by use of oversized human figures to represent the boarding party.


33. Captain James Lawrence .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Lawrence . JAC.LAWRENCE DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI* surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing Hornet's victory, with Peacock foundering. MANSUETUD.MAJ. QUAM VICTORIA , surrounds above, with INTER HORNET NAV.AMERI./ ET PEACOCK NAV.ANG./ DIE XXIV.FEB./ MDCCCXIII in exergue. FURST F. appears to the left on the exergual line.

Dies US-50, 51; Julian NA-14; Loubat 33. 65 mm.


34. Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Macdonough . THO.MACDONOUGH . STAGNO CHAMPLAIN CLAS. REG. BRIT./ SUPERAVIT* surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement of American and British fleets in the naval Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain ; land Battle of Plattsburgh in distance on right. UNO LATERE PERCUSSO. ALTERUM surrounds above, with INTER CLASS. AMERI./ ET BRIT. DIE XI SEPT./ MDCCCXIIII/ IMPAVIDE VERTIT. in exergue. FURST.F appears to the right on the exergual line.

Dies US-52, 53; Julian NA-15; Loubat 34. 65 mm.

Macdonough decisively defeated a superior British force on Lake Champlain , ending British hopes of isolating New England and giving added leverage to American negotiators at Ghent.


35. Lieutenant Edward R. McCall .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of McCall . EDWARD R. McCALL NAVIS ENTERPRISE PRAEFECTUS/ SIC ITUR AD ASTRA* surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Battle scene showing engagement between Boxer and Enterprize. VIVERE SAT VINCERE surrounds above, with INTER ENTERPRIZE NAV./ AMERI. ET BOXER NAV./ BRIT. DIE IV SEPT./ MDCCCXIII/ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-54, 42; Julian NA-16; Loubat 29. 65 mm.


36. Master Commandant Oliver H. Perry .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Perry . OLIVERUS H. PERRY . PRINCEPS STAGNO ERIENSE*/ CLASSIM TOTAM CONTUDIT. surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between the American and British fleets in the Battle of Lake Erie . VIAM INVENIT VIRTUS AUT FACIT* surrounds above, with INTER CLASS. AMERI./ ET BRIT. DIE X. SEP./ MDCCCXIII/ FURST.F. in exergue.

Dies US-55, 56; Julian NA-17; Loubat 31. 65 mm.


37. Captain Charles Stewart .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Stewart . CAROLUS STEWART NAVIS AMER. CONSTITUTION DUX* surrounds, with FURST.F below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between Constitution, and Levant and Cyane. UNA VICTORIAM ERIPUIT RATIBUS BINIS surrounds, with INTER CONSTITU. NAV. AMERI./ ET LEVANT ET CYANE NAV./ ANG. DIE XX FEBR./ MDCCCXV. in exergue. FURST.F . appears to the left on the exergual line. Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Dies US-57, 58; Julian NA-22; Loubat 47. 65 mm.


38. Captain Lewis Warrington .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Warrington. LUDOVICUS WARRINGTON DUX NAVALIS AMERI.* surrounds, with FURST.F. below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between Peacock and Epervier. PRO PATRI PARATUS AUT VINCERE AUT MORI surrounds, with INTER PEACOCK NAV. AMERI./ ET EPERVIE NAV. ANG./ DIE XXIX MAR./ MDCCCXIV in exergue. FURST.F appears in exergue near the lower right border.

Dies US-59, 60; Julian NA-23; Loubat 37. 65 mm.

The reverse die has an apparent spelling error, with the last "r" missing from "Epervier."


Dies Under Contract to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

39. Master Commandant Oliver H. Perry .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Perry . OLIVERUS HAZARD PERRY . PRO PATRIA VICIT* surrounds, with PRESENTED/ BY THE GOVERNMENT/ OF PENNSYLVANIA . below and FURST.F . below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Scene showing engagement between the American and British fleets in the Battle of Lake Erie. Above the American fleet an eagle with a banner reading VICTORY in its beak. WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY; AND THEY ARE OURS, surrounds above, with BRITISH FLEET ON LAKE ERIE,/ CAPTURED SEPTEMBER 10. 1813. in exergue. FURST appears to the right on the exergual line. Photo: United States Naval Academy Museum.

Dies PA-1, 2; Julian NA-20. 59 mm.

This rare medal is known from two specimens, both gold. Perry's own medal is in the collection of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum and the other, named to Lieutenant John J. Yarnall , is said to be in the collection of the Pennsylvania Historical Society ( Julian 1977, 167). Ayers (1972, 10) notes that a third gold medal was presented to Master Commandant Jesse D. Elliot .


40. Master Commandant Oliver H. Perry .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Perry . OLIVERUS HAZARD PERRY . PRO PATRIA VICIT* surrounds, with PRESENTED/ BY THE GOVERNMENT/ OF PENNSYLVANIA . below.

Rev.: Laurel wreath tied with ribbon with TO inside, above a blank space. WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY; AND THEY ARE OURS"/ PERRY surrounds. IN TESTIMONY OF HIS/ PATRIOTISM AND BRAVERY/ IN THE NAVAL ACTION ON/ LAKE ERIE/SEPTEMBER 10. 1813 below wreath.

Dies PA-3, 4; Julian NA-19. 59 mm.

Both dies used for this medal are unsigned, but appear to be the work of Fürst . The American Numismatic Society collection contains this medal in silver and named to a John Cook . Ayers (1972, 11) indicates that 39 of these medals were originally struck in silver for presentation to Pennsylvanians who served as volunteers in the Battle of Lake Erie .


Dies Made for Individuals, Organizations, and as Speculative Ventures - American Subjects

41. Bust of Washington .

Obv. : Classically-draped right facing bust of Washington atop a broad pedestal. Leaning upon the pedestal are (at left) a stylized Indian with bow and (at right) a classically-garbed and helmeted female. On the pedestal a scene showing implements of war, a farmer plowing and, in the distance, a ship. GEN.GEO. WASHINGTON PRESI.OF THE UNIT.STA. surrounds, with BORN FEBY. 1732 DIED/ DECR. 1799 in exergue. Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Die IO-l. Uniface shell. 65 mm.

This unsigned medal is clearly by Fürst ; the allegorical figures duplicate his style on other medals. Apparently, this is the medal mentioned in a catalogue of an art exhibit in Philadelphia in 1817 and noted but not identified by Chamberlain (1954b, 937). The bust of Washington appears to have been inspired by Reich's Washington Benevolent Society medal. This rare medal (four examples are said to be known) exists only in the form of uniface struck silver shells (Stacks 1996).

42. John Adams .

Obv.: Clothed bust right of Adams . JOHN ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. / A.D. 1797 surrounds.

Rev.: "Peace and Friendship" die by Reich .

Die IO-2; Julian IP-1; Loubat 20. 51 mm.

Although this pairing of dies is considered the intended one for the obverse (and may be), this is not an Indian Peace Medal. The Reich reverse was made in 1809, well after Adams's time in office. Moreover, the so-called "seasons" medals served as Indian Peace Medals for the Adams administration (Prucha 1971,90).


43. James Madison .

Obv.: Fur-draped bust right of Madison . JAMES MADISON PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. FROM 1809 to 1817. surrounds. FURST.F. on scroll below truncation of bust.

Rev.: Eagle atop a laurel wreath, grasping agricultural implements and sheaf of wheat in its talons. In its beak a banner reading E PLURIBUS UNUM. The inscription INDUSTRY BRINGS PLENTY. surrounds above. "PROTECTION AGAINST/ INVASION IS DUE, FROM/ EVERY SOCIETY, TO THE/ PARTS COMPOSING IT"/ MADISON appears within the wreath.

Die IO-3; Julian PR-3. 64 mm.

This is the only pairing known for the obverse die, but is not the intended one. The reverse die, which is not by Fürst , was originally for a larger medal (see text). With the exception of a silver example in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, all known examples are in white metal.


44. James Monroe .

Obv.: Fur-draped, clothed bust right of Monroe . JAMES MONROE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. A.D.1817. REELEC. 1821 surrounds, with FURST.F . on a scroll below the bust.

Rev.: Seated, classically-garbed female representing justice cradling a sword and holding scale in outstretched hand. An American shield, corn-stalks, and a plough behind her; an eagle perched on a tree-stump before her. THE CONGRESS AND THE PEOPLE* surrounds above, with FURST DESIGNED/ AND SCULP.*/ 1823 in exergue.

Dies IO-4, 5; Julian PR-4. 76 mm.

Julian (1977, 79) described this medal based on dies held by the Mint. The only known medal struck from the obverse die (IO-4), a copper muling with Reich's Indian Peace Medal reverse, was not discovered until 1989 ( Neuzil , 1991, 139). The reverse is known from a single electrogalvanic shell joined with an unrelated oak-wreath shell.


45. John Quincy Adams Inauguration.

Obv.: Draped bust right of Adams . JOHN QUINCY ADAMS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES surrounds, with MARCH 4./ 1825 below bust. FURST appears, in incuse lettering, on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: Minerva (representing science) passing laurel branch to an Indian (representing America ) seated on a cornucopia. Behind Minerva , an eagle perched on a broken tree. SCIENCE GIVES PEACE surrounds above, with AND AMERICA PLENTY, in exergue. FURST.F . appears on the exergual line.

Dies IO-6, 7; Julian PR-5. 50 mm.


46. Alexander Hamilton .

Obv.: Uniformed bust right of Hamilton . GEN . ALEX. HAMILTON SEC.TREAS.UNIT.STA. surrounds, with initial F on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: Frontal view of public building. TO PUBLIC CREDIT surrounds above, with 1795 in exergue. Initial F. appears to left on exergual line.

Dies IO-8, 9; Julian MT-24. 49 mm.

On the reverse die (IO-9) the C in PUBLIC is punched over an S.

47. Benjamin Rush .

Obv.: Clothed bust left of Rush . BENJAMIN RUSH M:D: OF PHILADELPHIA surrounds, with script F on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: Pastoral scene, labeled SYDENHAM, with river and tree. An open book, resting on a monument with the inscription READ./ THINK./ OBSERVE., leans against the tree. A.MDCCCVIII appears in exergue and M.FURST FEC below the ground line.

Dies IO-10, 11; Julian PE-30. 42 mm.

This is a relatively rare medal known from perhaps 3 silver and 7 to 10 copper specimens ( Hodder 1998). The reason Fürst made two reverses (the reverse for this medal and the one for no. 48 below) is not known. Rush was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and helped found Dickinson College in addition to practicing medicine and writing on medical topics.

48. Benjamin Rush .

Obv.: Clothed bust left of Rush . BENJAMIN RUSH M:D: OF PHILADELPHIA surrounds, with script F on the truncation of the bust.

Rev.: An open book on a pedestal featuring a bust and an urn on its two visible sides. The inscription SYDENHAM above, with A.MDCCCVIII in exergue. Photo: Bowers & Ruddy , March 25-26, 1981 ( Garrett Collection), 1975.

Dies IO-10, 12; Julian PE-31. 42 mm.

This is an extremely rare medal with approximately 1 silver and 3 to 4 copper specimens known ( Hodder 1998). See note to no. 47 above.


49. Dewitt Clinton .

Obv.: Portrait bust right of Dewitt Clinton . DEWITT CLINTON MAYOR surrounding. FURST F . below bust.

Rev.: Perspective view of City Hall building. NEW-YORK CITY HALL above. FOUNDED MAY 28. 1803/ OCCUPIED MAY 4./ 1812/ FURST F. in exergue.

Dies IO-13, 14. 34 mm.

This rare (estimated population 6 to 10 specimens) medalet, known in white metal, features a fine portrait of Clinton and a skillful rendering of the new City Hall. The work is especially notable for the medal's small size. Clinton was appointed to the U.S . Senate in 1802, but resigned to become mayor of New York City in 1803. While mayor, he was narrowly defeated in the 1812 presidential election by James Madison . McSorley (1973) has speculated that this medalet is related to his 1812 presidential campaign. Clinton was an important political force behind the construction of the Erie and Champlain canals .


50. Decatur and Lawrence .

Obv.: Portrait bust right of Stephen Decatur . COM. S.DECATUR OF THE U.S. NAVY 1813 surrounds; F. below bust.

Rev.: Portrait bust right of James Lawrence . CAP. J. LAWRENCE OF THE U.S.NAVY 1813. surrounds; FURST before bust.

Dies IO-15, 16. 34 mm.

"This medalet is infrequently encountered (one silver and perhaps 8 to 10 white metal examples are known). The portraits are skillfully rendered within the small space available.


51. Archibald Binny .

Obv.: Portrait bust right of Archibald Binny . A.BINNY LETTER FOUNDER surrounds, with FURST Fc: below the bust.

Rev.: A seated, classically-garbed and helmeted female figure with spear and shield in the act of placing a laurel branch on foundry implements which rest on a pedestal. The face of the pedestal features the foundry edifice while the side shows a smoking crucible. LETTER FOUNDERY OF PHILADA surrounds above, with ESTABLISHED/ A: 1796 in exergue. The initial F. appears just above the ground line at left.

Dies IO-17, 18. 41 mm.

This rare medal is known from a single struck example in white metal and a pair of joined splashers. Richard Margolis , who brought this medal to my attention, has suggested that it celebrates the 20th anniversary, in 1816, of the foundry's establishment.


52. Gershom Seixas.

Obv.: Portrait bust left of Gershom Seixas in clerical garb . GERSHOM M . SEIXAS CONGREGATIONIS HEBRAEAE SACERDOS NOVI EBORACI surrounds, with FURST on the truncation of the bust. Photo: American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham , Mass., and New York, N.Y .

Die IO-19. 66 mm.

Only modern uniface strikes from this die, which is in the collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, are known. Seixas was a rabbi, a leader of the Jewish Community, and influential supporter of the American Revolution. He served as a regent and trustee of Columbia . Friedenberg (1969, 905; 1976, 70) states that this die was made as a memorial in 1816, the year of Seixas' death.


53. David Hosack , M. D.

Obv.: Bust right of Hosack. DAVID HOSACK M.D. surrounds with FURST.F . before bust along rim.

Rev.: A collection of objects, including globe, lyre, caduceus, archaeologist's spade, painter's palette, and geometer's tools. ARTS AND SCIENCE surrounds above, with FURST F . in exergue.

Dies IO-20, 21; Julian PE-15. 34 mm.

Hosack was a prominent physician, naturalist, and educator who taught botany at Columbia , One of his students was DeWitt Clinton , whose biography he later published. Hosack helped found Rutgers Medical College, and served as its first president. He was also the attending physician at the Hamilton-Burr duel.


54. Adam Eckfeldt .

Obv.: Bust right of Eckfeldt . ADAM ECKFELDT CHIEF COINER U.S .MINT 1814-1839 surrounds with FURST.F . below truncation of bust.


Die IO-22; Julian MT-18. 51 mm.

Julian states that the reverse (inscription) die was probably the work of Franklin Peale . It was made using different punches than the obverse. It is ironic that one of the last dies Fürst made in America honors an officer of the U.S . Mint, where Fürst sought unsuccessfuly for three decades to obtain the position of chief engraver.


55. Count Rumford .

Obv.: Uniformed bust left of Count Rumford . * BENJAMIN COUNT RUMFORD * / BORN 1753 DIED 1814 surrounds with FURST.F . below truncation of bust.

Rev.: RUMFORD MEDAL FOR DISCOVERIES IN LIGHT OR HEAT surrounding inscription reading AWARDED/ BY THE/ AMERICAN ACADEMY/ OF/ ARTS AND SCIENCES/ TO above a blank space for engraving.

Die IO-23, 24; Julian AM-1. 65 mm.

American-born Benjamin Thompson served in the British Army in America during the Revolution after being denied a commission under Washington . He later lived in England , studying the physics of light and heat. In 1796 he provided $5,000 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to endow an award recognizing discoveries in light or heat. Rumford stipulated that each award consist of a gold and a silver medal to have a combined intrinsic value of $300. Examination of an awarded silver medal (shown in the photo) revealed it is stamped COPY on the edge, an apparent reference to duplication of the gold medal. Awarded in 1910, the medal has a matte, or sandblast, finish.

56. American Institute.

Obv.: Seated female figure in classical garb holding a pole with a phrygian cap and, in an extended hand, a laurel wreath. She is surrounded by symbols of agriculture, industry, and commerce: behind her, she leans on a shield surmounted by an eagle, a plow, a caduceus and cornucopia; before her are a sheaf of wheat, a loom's shuttle, a spinning wheel, and in the distance, a ship. AMERICAN INSTITUTE* surrounds above, with NEW-YORK / FURST in exergue.

Rev.: A wreath composed of fronds of oak and palm tied together with ribbon and encircling a blank area intended for engraving (die IO-26 shown).

Dies IO-25, 26, 27, 30(?); Harkness 10. 51 mm.

This uncommon medal is found in silver, engraved with various award inscriptions. The busy obverse design was copied repeatedly on replacement dies for the American Institute by several engravers, notably Robert Lovett , Jr. and George H. Lovett ; the use of the design persisted until about the turn of the century (Harkness 1989, 132). The design was also copied on a hard-times token issued by a winner of one of the Institute medals. At least two unsigned reverse dies (IO-26 and 27) differing only in details and stylistically attributable to Fürst , were used with Fürst's obverse die. Reverse die IO-26 (shown) is the earlier. Reverses IO-27, IO-30 and perhaps IO-26 were also used for the Mechanics Instutute medals (see no. 58 below). The pairing with IO-30 listed here is speculative.

57. American Institute.

Obv.: Design and legends essentially identical to those of large American Institute medal (above).

Rev.: Blank, with raised rim, for engraving. Photo: Andrew Harkness .

Die IO-28; Harkness 20. 26 mm.

Two examples of this medal, both engraved with award inscriptions and struck in gold, are known from this die. The design was copied on a replacement die by Robert Lovett , Jr. (Harkness 1989, 130).


58. Mechanics Institute.

Obv.: Symbolic scene featuring a classically-garbed, seated female figure at right. Behind her are a plow, a caduceus, a sheaf of wheat and a spinning wheel. She extends a laurel wreath to one of several youths engaged in didactic activities. Behind them an eagle perched on a shield and a mountain with a shrine. In the distance, a steamboat and distant mountains below a rising sun. Above flies a winged angel with a trumpet and palm frond. MECHANICS INSTITUTE surrounds above, with NEW-YORK / FURST.F : in exergue.

Rev. A: A wreath composed of fronds of oak and palm tied together with ribbon and encircling a blank area intended for engraving (die IO-27 shown).

Rev. B: A similar wreath design with KNOWLEDGE IS POWER surrounding above (die IO-30).

Dies IO-29, 26(?), 27, 30. 51 mm.

This uncommon silver medal is encountered with various engraved award inscriptions. The busy obverse design is crowded with symbolism. It probably postdates the American Institute obverse, having adopted the motif of the latter and added yet more symbolic elements. Wreath reverses IO-26, IO-27 and possibly IO-30 were used for the American Institute Instutute medal (no. 56 above). The pairing with IO-26 listed here is speculative.


Dies Made for Individuals, Organizations, and as Speculative Ventures - Foreign Subjects

59. Adolph Friedrich , Duke of Cambridge .

Obv.: Classically draped bust left of Adolf Friedrich , Duke of Cambridge . ADOLPH FRIEDRICH HERZOG V. CAMBRIDGE surrounds with F. below bust.

Rev.: Wreath of oak and palm. DEM/ ALLGELEIBTEN/ VICEKOENIG/ HANNOVER/ 22 FEBRUAR/ 1831 within. Photo reproduced from Brown (1980).

Dies IO-31, 32; Brown 1526; Eimer 1243. 39 mm.

Both Brown (1980, 367) and Eimer (1987, 151) attribute the dies for this obscure medal to Fürst , and Brown further states that Fürst cut the dies while in America ; the event commemorated (the elevation of the Duke of Cambridge to Viceroy of Hanover) occurred almost a decade before Fürst returned to Europe , lending credence to this interpretation.

60. France's Spoliation Repayments.

Obv.: Nude bust right of Louis Philippe I of France wearing a wreath of oak. LOUIS PHILIPPE I ROI DES FRANCAIS surrounds with FURST.F. below bust.

Rev.: Two figures on either side of the northern hemisphere of the globe. At left, a classically-garbed and helmeted female figure representing France holds a scale and a sword, a rooster at her feet. At right, a stylized Indian representing America holds a fasces and extends an olive branch. Between them is a small winged figure of Mercury carrying a money-bag toward America . PREMIER PAIMENT AU ETATS UNIS surrounds, with DE L'AMERIQUE./ L'ORDONNANCE./ 1836/ FURST.F. in exergue. Photo: American Numismatic Society.

Dies IO-33, 34. 51 mm.

Because of the date shown on this medal (some four years prior to Fürst's return to Europe ), it seems likely that the dies for this medal were made in America . Two to four examples of this rare medal are known.


61. Queen Victoria .

Obv.: Draped bust left of Victoria . VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF: surrounds with FURST F . below bust.

Rev.: Classically-garbed and helmeted Brittania seated facing left with shield and trident; at left the British lion and at right a bearded male figure, representing the Thames , reclines against a jug from which water pours. Above, ASCENDED and in exergue, THE THRONE/ 1838. On the ground line are the letters F. F.

Dies IO-35, 36; Brown 1820. 52 mm.

Chamberlain (1954b, 943) described this medal but did not illustrate it. She probably attributed the dies for this medal to Fürst's American period because Victorias coronation occurred before Fürst returned to Europe .

End Notes
The circumstances under which Fürst came to America and his interactions with the U.S . Mint form a troubling backdrop to his entire career. Did Appleton overstep his authority, was there a miscommunication between him and Mint Director Patterson , or did Fürst misconstrue the actual conditions of Appleton's offer? Part of the answer may lie in the change in Mint leadership in 1805. As early as 1801 the Mint's third Director, Elias Boudinot , had resisted hiring Reich ( Taxay 1983, 107). In July 1805 Patterson replaced Boudinot and in 1807 wrote Jefferson for permission to hire Reich . In his letter, Patterson stated that engraver Robert Scot was "so far advanced in life, that he cannot very long be expected to continue in his labors" ( Taxay 1983, 108). Perhaps Patterson planned on Scot's retirement and asked U.S. officials, including Appleton , to help recruit a replacement. In his meeting with Fürst , Patterson may have suggested that Scot's position would soon be available. If so, he greatly underestimated Scot's tenacity; Scot remained the Mint's engraver until his death 16 years later.
Writing to Secretary of War John C. Spencer in 1841, and quoted by Prucha (1971, 108), Mint Director Patterson noted that Fürst's Indian Peace Medal dies of Van Buren had cost $1160 but that dies for President Tyler , if made using the Contamin portrait Lathe, would cost only $800.
The two prominent peaks that appear in Figure 3 may, to some extent, be artifacts of inaccuracy in die completion dates. Julian (1977, 112) asserts that Fürst worked more or less at full capacity on the War of 1812 dies once he began work on the entire series in 1817. Some dies believed completed in 1817 may actually have been completed in 1818, and some listed as completed in 1822 may fall in 1821. Even so, Fürst's maximum output probably was still about 10 dies per year, substantially more than Reich was able to accomplish. Ron Landis of the Gallery Mint, who works today as a hand engraver of dies, believes an accomplished engraver capable of hand-engraving more than 10 complex dies per year ( Landis 1997).
It is very likely that several dies made on speculation, that is, in hope of profiting from the sale of medals, brought Fürst little, if any, income. Examples include the Washington , Monroe and Jackson dies (designated IO-l, 4 and 5 and UV-3 and 4 in Table 1).
In making this comparison it should be noted that the making of medal dies was distinct from Reich's Mint duties (making coinage dies) and brought him additional income. Thus we find that the Navy Department paid Reich $800, or more than his annual Mint salary, for award medal dies for Captain Isaac Hull ( Julian 1977, 160). Income from both sources is reflected in Witham's (1993, 46) estimate.
Restrikes of Fürst's medals were in such demand in the late nineteenth century that the dies often were not robust enough to make the number of medals (typically on the order of 100) needed to supply collectors of that era. Several failed, requiring the Mint to make copy dies by mechanical means. Some of the copy dies made by Charles Barber carry both Fürst's name and the initials C.B. Others are much more deceptive, and the medals from them are easily confused with those from the original dies. Lettering on the copy dies had to be repunched, and the style and positioning of the lettering (including Fürst's name) allow the copy dies to be distinguished from the originals. However, distinguishing between original and early copy dies requires experience, and because of this, collectors should exercise caution.
The totals cited include four dies Fürst is known to have made as replacements for dies that broke during hardening (see Julian 1977).
Dies IO-6 and IO-7 were used to strike medals (medal 45) recognizing John Quincy Adams' inauguration; these are among the earliest of inaugural medals. The dies were clearly a speculative venture. MacNeil (1977, 22) quotes a letter from Fürst to Adams offering silver examples of the medal at $10 each. Adams bought ten. Chamberlain (1954b, 937) cites art exhibit catalogues listing other medals for sale by Fürst .
Fürst apparently did not have letter punches for signing his dies when he arrived in America . On perhaps his earliest American medal, which is dated 1808 and features Benjamin Rush (dies IO-10, 11; medal 47), Fürst hand-engraved his initial F in script on the obverse and hand-engraved FURST FEC on the reverse.
A Madison medal, presumably from this die combination, appeared in W.E. Woodwards 1864 sale of the John F. McCoy collection as lot 812.
The reverse design of the Madison medal appears, minus the central inscription, on a number of different reverse dies that were used to strike award medals for the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association. The die used with the Madison obverse may, in fact, have been made for that organization. If so, the Madison medals can be no earlier than 1856, the year of the Association's founding.
All the medals mentioned are quite rare. There are four known medals (in the form of struck silver shells) from the Washington (IO-l) die, one from the Monroe obverse (IO-4), a single electrogalvanic shell from the Monroe reverse (IO-5), and only a handful of examples from the John Q. Adams inaugural (IO-6,7) dies. In the case of the Madison (IO-3) and Seixas (IO-19) dies, no original strikes are known at all; known examples are later restrikes.
Charles McSorley (n.d.) has suggested that a small unsigned medal known to numismatists as a political piece and catalogued as AJACK 1828-10 by DeWitt (1959, 26) may be Fürst's (i.e. struck with UV-3 and 4); it features a portrait of Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans . The portrait, which features Jackson in civilian attire, is reminiscent of that on the middle-size and small Indian Peace Medals (dies US-8 and 9; medals 8 and 9). However, the engraving is much too crudely done to be the work of Fürst . An interesting possibility thereby presents itself: could this small medal be a copy of Fürst's lost original?
On the reverse die for the Congressional award to Captain Johnston Blakely (US-40; medal 26) the sea and other parts of the relief on the left have a "moth-eaten" appearance that appears to result from corrosion of the die. The damage is absent from the higher (field) portions of the die.
Known mulings include US dies 19 and 34, 28 and 29, 30 and 31, 13 and 29, 14 and 25, 13 and 28, 46 and 53, 53 and 55, as well as PA dies 2 and 4.

List of References

Albert, Alphaeus W . 1973 . Record of American uniform and historical buttons. Hightstown, New Jersey : published by the author. Reprint with supplement published 1974: same publisher.
Ayers, Anthony R . 1972 . The Battle of Lake Erie and the state veterans medals. The Medal Collector 23, no. 8: 3-12.
Bangs, Merwin and Co. 1871 . Auction sale. 27 February - 3 March. Lot 1959 .
Bowers and Merena Inc., and Presidential Coin and Antique Co., Inc. 1986 . Auction sale. 12 April. Lot 5257.
Breen, Walter . 1988 . Walter Breen's complete encyclopedia of U.S. and colonial coins. New York : Doubleday.
Brown, Laurence . 1980 . A catalogue of British historical medals 1760-1960. Vol. I. London : Seaby Publications Ltd.
Chamberlain, Georgia S . 1954a . Moritz Fürst , die-sinker and artist. The Numismatist 67 , no. 6: 588-592.
Chamberlain, Georgia S . 1954b . Medals made in America by Moritz Fürst . The Numismatist 67 , no. 9: 937-943.
Christie's . 1988 . Auction sale, 23 January. Lot 71.
DeWitt, J. Doyle 1959 . American political badges and medalets 1789-1892. Published by the author. Reprinted with additions by Edmund B. Sullivan . 1981 . Lawrence , Massachusetts : Quarterman Publications, Inc.
Dibner, Bern . 1967 . Communications. In Technology in western civilization. Volume I. New York : Oxford University Press.
Dunlap, William . 1834 . A history ofthe rise and progress ofthe arts ofdesign in the United States. New York : Scott . Reprinted 1969 . New York : Dover Publications.
Eimer, Christopher . 1987 . British commemorative medals and their values. London : B. A. Seaby , Ltd.
Failor, Kenneth M. , and Hayden, Eleonora . 1972 . Medals of the United States Mint. Washington : U.S. Government Printing Office.
Forrer, L [1904] 1970 . Biographical dictionary of medallists coin-gem-and seal-engravers mint masters &c. 7 vols. Reprint, New York : Burt Franklin .
Friedenberg, Daniel M . 1969 . Jews and the art of the medal. The Numismatist 82, no. 7:891-919.
Friedenberg, Daniel M . 1976 . Jewish minters and medallists. Philadelphia : The Jewish Publication Society of America .
Friedenberg, Daniel M . 1990 . Letter to the author. 19 May.
Harkness, Andrew . 1989 . The American Institute - catalyst for the American greatness. TAMS [Token and Medal Society] Journal 29:123-135.
Hickey, Donald R . 1989 . The War of 1812, a forgotten conflict. Chicago : University of Illinois Press.
Hodder, Michael . 1998 . Written comments. 26 January. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire .
Julian, R. W. 1977 . Medals of the United States Mint, The first century, 1792-1892. El Cajon, California : The Token and Medal Society, Inc.
Judd, J. Hewitt . 1982 . United States pattern, experimental and trial pieces. 7th ed. Edited by A. Kossoff . Racine, Wisconsin : Western Publishing Company, Inc.
Kane, Patricia . 1997 . Telephone conversation with the author, 25 November. New Haven : Yale University Art Gallery.
Kuiken, Bunny . 1997 . Telephone conversation with the author, 4 December. Haledon, New Jersey : American Labor Museum.
Landis, Ron . 1997 . Discussion at American Numismatic Society Coinage of the Americas Conference, 9 November.
Larkin, Jack . 1979 . The income and status of artisans in rural New England , "Community in Change" Interpretive Note No. 1. Unpublished manuscript. Sturbridge, Massachusetts : Old Sturbridge Village Museum.
Lord, Walter . 1972 . The dawn's early light. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Loubat, J. F . [1878] 1967 . The medallic history of the United States of America 1776-1876. Reprint, New Milford, Connecticut : N. Flayderman & Co.
MacNeil, Neil . 1977 . The president's medal 1789-1977. New York : Clarkson N. Potter , Inc.
McSorley, Charles . 1973 . The earliest election medal? The Political Collector (September): 13.
McSorley, Charles, n.d . Unpublished manuscript.
Neuzil, C. E . 1991 . Found: The Monroe Presidential obverse. In The American Numismatic Association anthology, edited by C. W. A. Carlson and M. J. Hodder . Colorado Springs: The American Numismatic Association.
Plaut, Cynthia , n.d. Moritz Fürst: An example of craft specialization in silver production of the early industrial period. Unpublished 19 p. manuscript on file at Yale University Art Gallery.
Proceedings of the engagement between Thomas Appleton , Esq., Consul for the U.S. at Leghorn, and Mr. Moritz Fürst , engraver on steel, n.d. 12 p. pamphlet [1825?]. Reprinted with introduction in 1908 in American Journal of Numismatics 43, no.2: 45-50.
Prucha, Francis Paul . 1971 . Indian Peace Medals in American history. Lincoln, Nebraska : University of Nebraska Press.
Sadik, Marvin . 1977 . Foreword to The president's medal 1789-1977 by Neil MacNeil . New York : Clarkson N. Potter , Inc.
Skerry, Janine E. 1986 . Letter to Donald L. Fennimore , 3 July. Files of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Sotheby's . 1985 . Auction sale, 9 October. Lot 56.
Stack's . 1996 . Auction sale, 30 April. Lot 154.
Taxay, Don . 1983 . The U.S. Mint and coinage. New York : Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications.
Vermeule, Cornelius . 1971 . Numismatic Art in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Witham, Stewart . 1993 . Johann Matthaus Reich also known as John Reich . North Canton, Ohio : Published by the author.
Yale University Art Gallery . 1984 . Accession documents for items 1984 .24B-D.

Classifying Masonic Medals: Interpreting the Incomprehensible

Paul Rich and Guillermo De Los Reyes

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

Over the years many medal enthusiasts have had the occasion to come across what appear to be a country's orders or decorations but which, finally, and after considerable frustration, turn out to be distinctions awarded by a fraternal order. 1 They are not the less collectable, but certainly are less identifiable than the issues of sovereign states .


The medals or jewels of the officers of a symbolic blue, or third degree lodge.

The medals of secret 2 and ritualistic 3 organizations have never received the attention in numismatic studies that the subject deserves ( Morris 1991; Anonymous 1991, 1; Peterson 1993). Considering how widespread they are, involving all kinds of people and many countries, 4 numismatists might give more attention to this aspect of medal scholarship. 5 There are a bewildering number of these groups, ranging from those such as the Moose and Elks and Eagles whose animal names at least result in visual clues for disciphering the medal's significance, to organizations like the Odd Fellows and the Orange Order whose symbols are incomprehensible to the public and whose awards' significance defies easy interpretation.

Undoubtedly the most widespread and perplexing source of fraternal medals is Freemasonry. The assistance in identification that the Masons themselves can provide is as spotty as the parson's egg. There are some excellent studies, albeit in somewhat obscure publications, such as Anonymous 1997, Wheeler 1992, Wheeler 1996. But much awaits research.


Award of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for dedicated service as a lodge treasurer.

Freemasons in their own discussions often blur the distinctions between medals and other commemorative material such as identification pins ( Cubbison , 90-91). The word "jewel" is used somewhat indiscriminately by them to describe Masonic items, and indeed the principal study group for Masonic medals and associated objects is simply called Jewels of the Craft. The problem is compounded by the fact that few public or university libraries take seriously the collecting of material on the Masons, so the serious researcher must get permission to use Masonic archives and libraries, which is sometimes difficult. A number of these date from the nineteenth century and have large holdings not only of journals and books but of medals. An idea of what these libraries contain is indicated by the classifications of the Library of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Washington , which dates back to 1888 and even then had more than eight thousand volumes. There are sections for Masonry in more than seventy countries, and categories include philosophy and symbolism, church and state, paraphernalia, glassware, benevolent and educational institutions, hospitals, cemeteries, architecture, poetry and drama, humor and satire, and women in Masonry. 6

While other fraternal orders claim hoary parentages which are dubious, there is no question but that Masonry's origins are ancient. They are also controversial ( Rich 1993, 45), partly because some Masons are fond of embroidering the society's quite long history and extending its genealogy further back, to King Alfred or even Adam .


The medals or jewels of The York Rite.


The medals or jewels of the thirty-three degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.

While there do not appear to be any Masonic medals surviving from before the eighteenth century, there are metal objects in collections that may have been used ritualistically from as early as the sixteenth century—such as tools embellished with engravings.

Masonry was widespread in the eighteenth century and is not a nineteenth-century creation like so many of the fraternal orders. Therefore its medals have an older and often considerable antiquarian interest. 7 The celebrated Masonic scholar Albert Mackey wrote in 1917 that, "the earliest Masonic medal of which we have an authentic account is that know as the 'Freemason's ducat', which was struck at Brunswick in 1743. The number have since so greatly increased, that it would be impossible to give even a catalogue of them. 8 They are struck every year by lodges to commemorate some distinguished member or some remarkable event" ( Mackey 1917, 560).

By 1767, there are reports of a proliferation of medals that were worn around the neck by members on public feast days, at funerals and other special events ( Mackey 1917, 560). Some of these early Masonic medals, both in the United States and Europe , are pierced or fretted along with a certain amount of engraving, and the suggestion has been made that they were not created by specialist medal-makers but often by watchmakers: "...(they resemble) the watch 'cocks'—that is, the decorative plates, which in the old watches, carry the outer bearing of the balance-wheel. These cocks are pierced or fretted and engraved, and although only as large as a six-pence, include as many masonic emblems as many of the jewels having six times their area...The obvious suggestion is that many of the old masonic jewels of the type described were the work of watchmakers" ( Jones 1980, 468). The establishment of Masonic supply houses in the nineteenth century brought professionalism and a degree of discipline to the field ( Anonymous 1994b, 22).

The movement's medals vary according to the particular rite involved. 9 Any discussion of them must avoid the supposition that Masonry is a cohesive movement. That is untrue even within countries, let alone between them. Probably it is more accurate to speak of "Masonries" in the plural, for the differences are large and while in some places the Masons are conspiratorial and clandestine, elsewhere they are benign and charitable: Although Freemasonry is usually considered a singular phenomenon, it is actually a diverse and wide-ranging complex of many different orients; orders; directorates; societies; national, provincial, and grand lodges; rites; and systems. At different times and different places Freemasonry can be politically revolutionary or reactionary, actively involved in public affairs or in retreat from the world, rational or mystic. Some orders and lodges have fallen into obscurantism, charlantry, and religious intolerance. Freemasonry has thrived in different forms in Catholic countries such as France , Italy , and Poland , predominantly Protestant countries like the United States , Orthodox countries like Russia , Islamic countries like Turkey , and recently in Israel . (To this must be added the rapid revival of Freemasonry underway in Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.) Freemasons trace their founding variously to the builders of Solomon's temples, the Knights Templars of the Crusades, and the craftsmen of medieval English and European guilds ( Leighton 1994, 28).

Many Masonic rituals make specific reference to medals and orders, and quite often the ritual includes the confering of a medal on the initiate or on a member who has achieved high office or served with dedication. In the first or Entered Apprentice degree, which every Mason regardless of of ultimate rank must take, the candidate is told that membership as symbolized by the white apron is more of an honor than the Garter or the Golden Fleece ( Robbins 1984, 64-66). In the celebrated third degree, the candidate receives a medal as part of a charade in which he thinks he has finished the initiation ceremony, only to be brought back into the lodge for the real and highly dramatic portion of the ritual.


The medal of the Sixteenth Degree in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, Prince of Jerusalem .


The medal of the thirteenth degree in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, Royal Arch of Solomon.

There are a variety of Masonic medals issued in large number for the various ceremonies, such as Mark Master degree tokens and pennies. Since by the nineteenth century there were more than 1,000 different Masonic degrees or initiation ceremonies, it can be appreciated that the number of medals or tokens used in one or another of these rituals becomes numerous. All of this hoodwinking and marching around strikes the non-member as strange and it may indeed seem "obviously hokey" when "once in so often you march around your lodge room in the wake of the Grand Exalter of the Holy Mackerel and absorb a certain luster from the glittering insignia..." but that was hardly the view of the members, who as the Victorian age lengthened displayed an enormous appetite for ever more fanciful rituals ( Devere Allen , quoted in Kimmel 196).

Although Masons would argue vigorously that the medals conferred when receiving the various degrees are indeed honors, there is surely a distinction between them and those which are given for an actual accomplishment. Therefore a possible classification of the various medals awarded in the United States suggests itself:

I. Medals primarily used as recognition of general membership in the Masonic Order or of a branch, e.g. those incorporating Royal Arch keystones to show membership in that Masonic rite, or Shrine scimitars to show membership in that Masonic collateral body. In a similar category are some medals and medallions which are simply an indication that the member has donated to a Masonic charity ( Anonymous 1995). When found in a dealer's odd lot box, they sometimes are pierced and were possibly used for watch chain adornment. A British numismatist writes that "our American brethren are particularly fond of pocket pieces. These are most frequently associated with the Craft or blue lodges and have an array of masonic symbols on one side and spaces on the other side for the insertion of a brother's dates for taking the Craft degrees" ( Wheeler 1996, 209-210). (A Revolutionary War Masonic pin was recovered from a camp site some years ago and thanks to scholarship is attributed to General Otho Holland Williams , who had the good fortune to be painted by Rembrandt Peale while wearing it [ Lang 1993, 134-35]. An excellent post Civil War example of such a pocket piece was recently described in Cubbison 1995.)


The mock murder of the initiate in the third degree, just after he has been given the medal of a Master Mason.

II. Medals showing the office, degree or level within the order achieved - e.g. the double eagle of the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry or the sun between open compasses to show election as master of a symbolic blue lodge. Such medals belong in the area of regalia, in that wearing them is often compulsory, as indeed it is with some of those medals in category one.


Three versions of the medal of a 32nd Degree member, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.

III. Medals that indicate a distinction not earned by taking degrees or by election to office but rather given for singular achievement, e.g. The Albert Gallatin Mackey Medal of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina or the John Barney Medal of the Grand Lodge of Vermont. The medals in this class are much rarer than those in the other two classes ( Anonymous , 1967). The first of these to be instituted in the United States on a regular basis was Massachusetts' Henry Price Medal in 1888.

In all three cases of this simple classification, the medal design can include universal Masonic symbols, 10 symbols associated with the particular rite or degree, or symbols linking Masonry with patriotic themes. 11 This last patriotic theme has particular interest. While Masonry came to the United States from Europe , it has developed a uniquely American flavor, including a distinctive tradition in medals which reinforces other Masonic efforts to demonstrate that the organization is a staunch booster of flag and country.

An example of how the Masonic mantle of myth to support this patriotic motif was woven is the Masons' embroidered version of the origins of the American flag: The Continental Congress with but three or four exceptions was composed entirely of Masons. As Col. George Ross was of Scotch descent, the old Scotch Coventanters' "blue blanker," as it was called, may possibly have suggested the blue field for the union which has been claimed for it; but casting aside this supposition, it is evident that General Washington , when he designed it, had in mind the Masonic covering of the Lodge, the blue and starry decked canopy of heaven. The three colors, the five-pointed stars of fellowship or fraternity and the seven red stripes, all suggestive of the three, five and seven steps of the Masonry of the Blue Lodge, while the six stars on the Master's collar, the four stars on the Senior Warden's, the two stars on the Junior Warden's, together with the blazing star, comprised the thirteen stars of the constellation of the Masonic union, and were the symbols also of the thirteen States which formed the American Union ( Sherman , 1, 38-39).

Actually there is no evidence that the Continental Congress was so completely composed of Masons or that General Washington or anyone else was thinking of a Masonic lodge when the Stars and Stripes were designed, but the story is illustrative of how Masonry has woven itself into a national fabric. The effort to do so goes on, as demonstrated by the offer of the Pennsylvania Masons to rebuild the great entrance arch to the national park at Valley Forge. This offer was accepted and the Masons proceeded to rededicate Valley Forge with a ceremony which included a robot programmed as George Washington . 12

The wish to commemorate Masonic associations with American history is illustrated by a number of what we call the Class III medals. For example, since 1930 the Grand Lodge of New York has awarded the Joseph Warren Medal, which is given for distinguished service. The Grand Lodge of New Hampshire gives the General John Sullivan Distinguished Service Medal. Vermont confers the John Barney Medal. The choice of Revolutionary War heroes for these medals is illustrative of this desire of Masonry to link itself with American patriotic themes. As a group to be collected, these medals are clearly much harder to come by than many of the medals in the other two categories ( Anonymous 1957).

In proposing these three categories of Masonic medals as a way to approach the subject, and suggesting that the history of the American Masonic medal involves at times a unique combining of European Masonic and American patriotic symbolism, we still have not provided an easy solution for the problem of deciding whether the treasure discovered at a local flea market is of Masonic origin. Fortunately, as noted, the Masons maintain a number of excellent libraries and museums, one of which in New York City in the Masonic temple at 71 W. 23rd Street is more than willing to help numismatists. 13 But even with such help, the curator and the collector must exercise tact and remember that they are dealing with a secret organization. One should reflect on the fact that the phrase about giving someone the third degree as a description of a rough time did not enter the language without reason!


Grand Master's Jewel presented to the Grand Lodge of Tennessee by John Berry Garrett , Grand Secretary, January 27, 1915

List of References

Anonymous . 1951 . Grand Lodge Seals. The Short Talk Bulletin. 39, 11 (November).
Anonymous 1957 . Masonic Honor Medals. Washington .
Anonymous . 1967 . More About Masonic Honors. The Short Talk Bulletin 45, 10 (October).
Anonymous . 1991 . Why Another Research Organization? The Scottish Rite Research Society Newsletter, 1,1.
Anonymous . 1994a . Secrecy. Royal Arch Mason 18, 4 (Winter).
Anonymous . 1994b . The History of Ian Allan Regalia . The Diadem , 17.
Anonymous . 1995 . The 4th Holy Land Pilgrimage Medallion is now available...To purchase one of these beautiful medallions and at the same time contribute to the Holy Land Pilgrimage... Knight Templar 41, 10 (October): 24.
Anonymous . 1997 . Grand Lodge Commemorative Medallions and Coins, 1797 —. Philadelphia : The Masonic Temple.
Boyden, William L . 1959 . Classification of the Literature of Freemasonry and Related Societies. Washington : Supreme Council 33, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America .
Carnes, Mark C . 1989 . Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America . New Haven and London .
Clerke, Shadwell H . 1888 . Catalogue of Books in the Library at Freemasons' Hall, London . London .
Cubbison, Douglas R . 1995 . "A Badge of Honor": The Twelfth Corps Badge of Teamster Charles A. Severance . Military Collector & Historian 47,2 (summer): 90-93.
Cummings, William. L . 1994 . Rites and Ritual. Royal Arch Mason 18, 4, (Winter); originally published in the June 1944 issue, 179-183.
Dumenil, Lynn . 1984 . Freemasonry and American Culture , 1880-193. Princeton .
Engelsman, Henry . 1994 . From the Editor's Chair. The Diadem 14, 1 (April).
Franco, Barbara . 1976 . The Use of Masonic Symbols in American Decorative Arts. In Barbara Franco , ed. Masonic Symbols in American Decorative Arts. Lexington: Scottish Rite Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage.
Gombrich, E.H . In Search of Cultural History . 1978 . Oxford.
Jones, Bernard E . 1980 . Freemason's Guide and Compendium. Rev. ed. London .
Lang, Wendell W ., Jr. 1993 . A Revolutionary War Masonic Pin. Military Collector & Historian, Journal of The Company of Military Historians 45, 3 (Fall): 134-135.
Leighton, Lauren G . 1994 . The Esoteric Tradition in Russian Romantic Literature: Decembrism and Freemasonry. University Park ( Pennsylvania ).
Mackey, Albert G . 1917 . Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences. Philadelphia .
Morris, S. Brent . 1991 . Why Thirty-Three? Dallas : Scottish Rite Research Society.
Peterson, Norman D . 1993 . Scottish Rite Research: Conjectures, Ambitious Proposals, and The Third Millennium. The Plumbline 2, No.4 (December): 1-4.
Rich, Paul . 1993 . Comments on C.N.Batham , The Origin of Freemasonry (A New Theory). Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076, 106: 45.
Robbins, D . 1984 . The Golden Fleece. Masonic Square 10, 2 (June): 64-66.
Roberts, Allen E . 1985 . Freemasonry in American History . Richmond (Virginia) .
Sherman, Edwin , ed., Fifty Years of Masonry in California .
Wheeler, Ralph J . 1992 . Mark Tokens. Masonic Square 18, 1 (March 1992): 18-20.
——. 1996. Engraved Pennies. Masonic Square 22, 4 (December): 209-.

End Notes

The authors wish to thank Alan Stahl and the American Numismatic Society for the opportunity to participate in the Medal in America Symposium, which was a considerable incentive to consider this understudied subject.
Members of what appear to be secret societies, including those belonging to Masonic organizations, often assert defensively that their affairs are not secret but 'discrete' ( Roberts 1985, 1; Anonymous 1994a, 118).
"The trend of Masonic thought at any given period is probably better reflected in the rituals in use at that time than anywhere else, and this phase of Masonic study and research has been sadly neglected, probably due to the many difficulties confronting the one undertaking it" (Cummings 1994, 107).
"...the Shriners, the Order of the Eastern Star, the International Order of Job's Daughters, the Order of the Golden Chain, the Order of the Amaranth, the Prince Hall organisation, not to mention the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm!!, The Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots!! Or the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem . And I assure you that this little list has hardly scratched the surface!" ( Engelsman 1994, 1)
"Young Protestant middle-class men sought their rituals not only in the fraternal and beneficiary lodges, but also in scores of voluntary associations with primarily religious, reform, political, or economic objectives. College fraternities are an obvious example, but they involved few men and their initiations were brief and underdeveloped. Fraternal initiation was more important in Mormonism, temperance societies, the Know-Nothings and the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Grange, labor and veterans' organizations, and the life insurance industry. Historians of each of these subjects have commented on the peculiar role of initiation, which they generally have attributed to shield members from blacklisting, and fraternal life insurance firms used ritual to remind members to pay premiums. What is less appreciated is the extent to which founders and members regarded ritual as important in and of itself" ( Carnes 1989, 6). See also Dumenil 1984, 221.
Boyden 1959. Boyden was appointed librarian in 1893 and served until his death in 1939; he was recognized as the dean of Masonic librarians of his era; see also Clerke 1888.
This is not to say that other fraternal organizations do not offer research possibilities that scholars will find interesting. But Masonry is the "grandfather of fraternalism" and hence has a special appeal.
See Anonymous 1967.
"If art is embedded in culture we must accept that different cultures produce different arts" ( Gombrich 1978).
The seals of grand lodges are often an inspiration for medal design and they have been surveyed and categorized ( Anonymous 1951).
"The number of American objects with Masonic decoration is tangible evidence of the important role that Freemasonry has played in American life. The Masonic symbols used an American decorative arts reflect both the popularity of the fraternity and the current styles of the period in which they appear" ( Franco 1976, 43).
"From: ' Jay D. Marksheid ' <jaymar@PIPELINE.COM>
To: freemasonry-list@MASONIC.ORG
Subject: Valley Forge Arch Rededication Brethren
Firstly, I would like to thank all those members of the list who replied to my earlier messages requesting directions and info regarding the rededications of the Arch... Upon arrival there we saw the Arch covered with a large cloth bearing the S&C. Also in attendence was Bro. George Washington who was sitting on the dais...Never saw so many fancy aprons, collars and jewels. Part of the fun for me was trying to guess what position these Brothers held as many of the symbols on their aprons and jewels were not similar to those in NY ...It turns out the Bro. Geo was not just a manniquin, but a animatronic (like in Disneyland )... Regards.
Jay D. Marksheid , PM
Mt. Masada-Galaxy #902, F&AM-NY, Tuckahoe , NY
32*, Valley of Rockville Centre, AASR-NMJ
Comp., Westchester Tabernacle Chapter #228, RAM
Valiant Prince, Solomon Assemblage #2, Order of Judas Maccabeus
Member, Southern California Research Lodge
Member, Scottish Rite Research Lodge"
The curator of the Grand Lodge of New York Library and Museum at that location is William Moore , who is endlessly patient in explaining the nuances of Masonic symbolism.

"A Bit of Artistic Idealism": Augustus Saint-Gaudens's World's Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal

Thayer Tolles

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

Augustus Saint-Gaudens's World's Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal (American Numismatic Society; figs. 1 & 2 ) was an official award for the great fair held in Chicago from May to October 1893 to celebrate the quadricentennial of Christopher Columbus's landing on this continent. This discussion will address the history of the commission, focusing on Saint-Gaudens's controversial rejected design for the reverse and why the final appearance of the medal was far from what he originally envisioned. Instead of a piece by the greatest American sculptor of the day, the result was composite: the obverse was by Saint-Gaudens , and the reverse by Charles E. Barber , the Chief Engraver at the United States Mint from 1879 to 1916.

Saint-Gaudens's obverse depicts Columbus alighting from his vessel onto the rocky shore of the New World. He strides forcefully to the left, with right foot advanced, arms outspread, and head raised to the skies. He is dressed in armor and a cloak that partially obscure the attached sword and scabbard. The background—with its masterful illusion of depth—abounds with narrative details. On the left a banner sweeps dramatically around Columbus , echoing the medal's edge and reinforcing the explorer's powerful stance. To the right, still on the ship, are three somber male figures, one a standard bearer holding the staff of the banner, and two others who will presumably also disembark. At the upper right are symbolic devices: the Pillars of Hercules , symbolizing the Rocks of Gibraltar with the three caravels setting sail, and the inscription PLVS VLTRA. Filling the field directly below is another inscription: CHRISTOPHER / COLVMBVS / OCT XII / MCCCCXCII.

Saint-Gaudens's rejected effort for the reverse features a nude youth representing the "Spirit of America ," posed frontally in a modified contrapposto stance. A pencil drawing ( fig. 3 ), now destroyed, reveals a loosely sketched design, perhaps Augustus's conception for his younger brother Louis —also a sculptor—to carry out. Saint-Gaudens relied on Louis to model the nude figure, a perfectly acceptable practice for a sculptor with numerous ongoing commissions ( Dryfhout 1982, 202). In a proof cast from the ANS ( fig. 4 ), the supple boy, "in the full vigor of young life" ( Saint-Gaudens to R.C. Preston , Director of U.S. Mint, November 17, 1893 [copy], Saint-Gaudens Papers), holds three wreaths in his left hand. He supports a tall shield inscribed "E PLVRIBVS VNVM," and decorated with an American eagle, an olive branch, and a smaller shield. In his right hand he grasps a torch. A young oak tree follows the contour of the boy's shield at the right, while at the lower left, space is provided for the name of the medal's recipient.


fig. 1


fig. 2


fig. 3


fig. 4

Barber's version, the final minted reverse of the medal, is a competent, traditional design. It is composed of a central tablet with inscription: WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION / IN COMMEMORATION OF THE / FOUR HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY / OF THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS / MDCCCXCII MDCCCXCIII. There is space below for a small insert die for the prize winner's name. Flaming beribboned torches representing light and intelligence fill the left and right margins. Above, two semi-draped females are separated by a globe marked with meridian and parallel lines. With trumpet and pen, they announce the award; the figure at the left also holds presentation wreaths. In the lower portion, Columbus's caravel, the Santa Maria , is set in stylized waves under which Barber signed his name.

In tracing this commission, it would be easy to reduce the controversy to petty personal jealousies between Saint-Gaudens and Barber . This element must be factored into the history of the medal; however, it is more important to consider two larger issues that led to the rejection of Saint-Gaudens's reverse: the climate for American medallic art in the late nineteenth century and public discomfort over artistic renditions of the male nude.


fig. 5

Saint-Gaudens's numismatic involvements were fairly limited before he accepted the award medal commission. His 2-Vi-inch portrait of American painter John Singer Sargent (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; fig. 5 ), was his first foray into the field. Completed in 1880, it is simple and sensitive, an exemplar of his experimentation with the sketch aesthetic. Two years later, in 1882, Saint-Gaudens was asked to enter a competition to design the Temple Award medal for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He did not, but revealed, "I am greatly interested in the subject of medals" ( Saint-Gaudens to George Corliss , November 20, 1882, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives). His first official medallic commission was the George Washington Inaugural Centennial Medal (ANS; figs. 6 & 7 ), produced with his assistant Philip Martiny for the 1889 Washington Centennial Celebration in New York . The composition reveals an appreciation for Renaissance coins and medals, especially those by Pisanello , casts of whose work Saint-Gaudens collected according to currently available documentation. Two thousand medals were cast, rather than struck, by the Gorham Manufacturing Company as the official souvenir of this commemorative event.


fig. 6


fig. 7

In 1891 Saint-Gaudens was one of ten prominent artists asked by the U.S. Treasury Department to submit designs for the first public competition for new silver coinage—coinage Mint officials felt should better express the art of the day ( Taxay 1983, 287). Rather than preparing their designs, the artists—among them sculptors Daniel Chester French and John Quincy Adams Ward —wrote a joint response stating that neither the amount of time nor the monetary compensation was adequate. After the Treasury scrapped this first plan, Saint-Gaudens served on a jury for a public competition with Mint official Charles Barber and Boston engraver Henry Mitchell . This committee, too, was a dismal failure; from 300 submissions, no new designs were adopted. Saint-Gaudens and Barber sparred over aesthetic and technical matters. In general, Saint-Gaudens favored more artistic designs impossible to adapt—due to a high degree of relief—to the rigors of the coinage manufacturing process. He also informed Mint Director Edward Leech that only four Americans were qualified to carry out this work, himself and three who resided in France . Leech countered that he found it doubtful that any "high-class artist...any distinguished sculptor or designer can prepare a practical model for a coin" ([Marks] 1891, 102). Barber also contended that no one outside the Mint could competently design coinage, and in the end, himself prepared new designs for the 1892 dime, quarter, and half-dollar. Thus the line between Saint-Gaudens and Barber , artist and engraver, was drawn and would plague the sculptor throughout the remainder of his career ( Taxay 1983, 287-94, and AJN 1891, 1-3).

In autumn 1892 Saint-Gaudens was approached with a proposal from John Boyd Thacher , chairman of the World's Columbian Exposition's Executive Committee on Awards to complete an award for the fair. The commission was in fact controlled by the Quadro-Centennial Committee of the United States Senate, a fact that made the sculptor wary. He refused the project—possibly as many as three times—turning down a generous five thousand-dollar payment, "a large those years" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:66). According to his son, Homer, Saint-Gaudens claimed (with uncharacteristic modesty), "that neither he nor any one else in the country could model a decent medal, and that it was necessary to go to Europe for it" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:66).

In the end Saint-Gaudens presumably accepted the commission out of loyalty to fellow artists involved in preparations for the Columbian Exposition as well as out of a spirit of patriotism. Before his involvement with the award medal, Saint-Gaudens had a sustained, but mainly unofficial, role in preparations for the fair, an event which reflected an unprecedented spirit of cooperation among American painters, sculptors, and architects. His one submission for an ambitious outdoor sculptural program, a monumental figure of Columbus , now destroyed ( fig. 8 ), was modeled by his assistant Mary Lawrence , to whom he fully credited the work. His Diana ( fig. 9 ), while not prepared specifically for the exposition, was installed on the Agriculture Building (having previously topped the tower of Madison Square Garden in New York ). Saint-Gaudens's official appointment was as an advisor to the Department of Fine Arts, offering recommendations on the selection of paintings and sculpture ( Carr et al 1993, 74, and Potter-Hennessey 1995, 160-64).


fig. 8

As Saint-Gaudens warmed to the prospect of assuming the medal commission, he had to contend with the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial Committee, whose members had grown impatient with his painfully slow pace on the monument planned for the Boston Common. Under the terms of his contract, Saint-Gaudens was obliged to seek its permission to pursue additional commissions. In November 1892, Saint-Gaudens wrote Shaw committee treasurer Edward Atkinson to explain that his desire to design the medal had, in part, to do with his animosity toward Barber : I only wish to do it to keep it out of the hands of the man at the mint who I am positively assured...will certainly do it if I don't. If I thought that it were at all possible that one of two or three other artists could obtain the work, I should certainly refuse to have anything to do with the matter ( Saint-Gaudens to Atkinson , November 10, 1892 [copy], Lee Family Papers).


fig. 9

So Saint-Gaudens explicitly confessed a desire to hold Barber at bay, in effect to prevent him from crossing the line from an engraver of coins to an artist of a prestigious medal. Despite Saint-Gaudens's comment that Europeans were more capable medalists, he believed that, in order to raise the status of the American artist, an American was obliged to carry out the commission. Therefore he accepted it.

By October 31, 1893—when the Columbian Exposition closed— Saint-Gaudens had completed designs for both faces of the medal. He insisted that models be closely guarded until they were delivered to the proper officials. Apparently the obverse was readily accepted. Controversy flared, however, when a rendering of the reverse ( fig. 10 ) was prematurely circulated in January 1894. The respected journal, The American Architect and Building News , reported that officials of the Page Belting Company of Concord, New Hampshire , to whom two medals were to be awarded, decided that a drawing of the medal would form an interesting decoration for the new calendar which they proposed to send to their customers at the beginning of the year; and, as the medal itself was not yet available, they sent a draughtsman to Washington , to make a drawing from the dies, or from Mr. St. Gaudens's model (American Architect and Building News 1894, 49).


fig. 10

No sooner had the souvenir books with the pirated drawings been distributed than objections to the medal's reverse escalated. Furious that the design had been leaked, Saint-Gaudens called the rendering "incorrect and offensive" and threatened legal action ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:68). Furthermore, he characterized the draftsman who made the sketches as an "idiot," and a " New Hampshire ass" ( American Architect and Building News 1894, 49).

Reconstructing the ensuing sequence of events through letters and newspaper accounts reveals how terribly mismanaged the administration of the commission in fact was. The Page Belting Company publication attracted the notice of New Hampshire Senator William Eaton Chandler . Though Secretary of the Treasury John Griffin Carlisle had apparently already "formally accepted" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:67) Saint-Gaudens's model, Chandler's objections forced the Quadro-Centennial Committee to reconsider the design. In January 1894 the Senatorial committee requested that "the Secretary of the Treasury...have work on the dies stopped, on the ground that the nude figure represented on the reverse of the medal was indecent" ( American Architect and Building News 1894, 49). Secretary Carlisle , in deference to his peers and President Grover Cleveland , recanted the acceptance to Saint-Gaudens on the grounds that the nude was offensive: I am frank to say that inasmuch as there are to be over 20,000 of these medals struck, I am satisfied that it would be severely criticized by a large majority of the people in its present form....I have to request will be kind enough to submit some design covering the objectionable part of the figure ( Carlisle to Saint-Gaudens , January 23, 1894 [copy], Saint-Gaudens Papers).

Anticipating the likelihood of open confrontation, Saint-Gaudens replied to Carlisle , warning him icily: "I of course shall feel at liberty at all times to publish the correspondence between us" ( Saint-Gaudens to Carlisle , January 25, 1894 [copy], Saint-Gaudens Papers). Clearly Saint-Gaudens planned to make Carlisle the scapegoat for what he saw as the government's provincial and uncultured attitude toward the arts.

The controversy immediately caught the attention of the press, which followed it for several weeks, often giving it front page coverage. The majority of published articles were sympathetic to the sculptor, written by journalists determined to advance the concept of a viable American "school" of artists. A note in The Collector supporting Saint-Gaudens is a case in point: "To fling into the face of such a man, who is an honor to this country and his art, the filth of time-serving politics, and the ignorance of the intelligences of mud, is not so much to insult him as to defame this country before all the world." ([ Trumble ] 1894, p. 101).

Not surprising, artists, especially other French-trained sculptors, also rallied in support of Saint-Gaudens . In their effort to redeem his reputation, they decried the government's censorship and poor track record as a patron of American artists. Their collective organ was the National Sculpture Society, founded in 1893 to regulate commissions for public sculpture and to advance exhibition opportunities for small works. The Society published a resolution on February 12, 1894 that concluded: "That if changes in works of art are ordered, then such changes should be made under the immediate direction of the artist" (copy in Gilder Papers). In fact, the exact opposite would happen.

By early March, perhaps mollified by the sympathy of the press and fellow artists, Saint-Gaudens consented to make slight, but significant, refinements. He altered his design, as he later put it, to "flatter the sensitiveness of the rampant pure'." ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:68). He experimented with several options, adding a teasingly thin ribbon across what Carlisle had deemed the "objectionable part" of the nude in one version ( fig. 11 ), while in another, he relied on the time-tested fig leaf ( Saint-Gaudens to Carlisle , March 15, 1894 [copy], Saint-Gaudens Papers). In April, with limited explanation, the government deemed these designs unfit.

Although his patience and pride were tested, Saint-Gaudens complied with a request from Robert Preston , new Director of the Mint, to furnish yet another model. On May 22, 1894, the sculptor wrote to his friend, the influential journalist Richard Watson Gilder : "I am doing a reverse, but am eliminating the figure entirely, confining it only to an inscription.... The figure that I had composed was composed to be nude, and I find it impossible to drape it without entirely destroying the composition." ( Saint-Gaudens to Gilder , May 22, 1894, Gilder Papers). By ousting the nude, Saint-Gaudens presumed that the acceptance of the design was all but guaranteed. In fact, Mint Director Preston had written him to that effect just days earlier, on May 18: "As soon as the Reverse is received, preparation will be made to have it engraved immediately, and to make a faithful reproduction of the same" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:71).


fig. 11


fig. 12

The revised composition ( fig. 12 ), in the sculptors words, "surely avoided all erotic insinuation" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:68). It is a conventional design with an inscription as the central element: THE COLVMBIAN / EXPOSITION IN COMMEMORATION / OF THE FOVR HVNDREDTH ANNI / VERSARY OF THE LANDING OF / COLVMBVS. The sole vestiges of the earlier composition— the eagle, a small shield, and E PLVRIBVS VNVM—appear in a wreath above the longer inscription while below is a tablet-like space for an insert die with the recipient's name. Saint-Gaudens sent this design off to Secretary Carlisle on June 23, believing the problem element to be eliminated. This attempt too was rejected without reason just four days later, while a model for the reverse by Barber that was commissioned without Saint-Gaudens's knowledge was accepted.

Saint-Gaudens fumed at a chain of events that had ended in deception. In an incendiary letter to Secretary Carlisle , his rage is almost palpable: You will excuse me for saying that your action in allowing me to devote time, thought and money to the elaboration of this final model, while keeping me in ignorance of the fact that another design was being prepared at the Mint for the same purpose, was something more than discourteous ( Saint-Gaudens to Carlisle , July 3, 1894 [copy], Saint-Gaudens Papers).

In a letter that Saint-Gaudens planned to submit for publication in the New York Daily Tribune , which is reprinted in his Reminiscences , he set forth his "mortifying confession of criminal naéveté ," detailing the circumstances of the commission as a "moral to others moved to entertain government proposals" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:67-68). Seeking to expose the government's bad faith, he printed verbatim the letter from Mint Director Preston that had guaranteed acceptance of the final design. While the sculptor conceded that, legally, the government could combine his work with Barber's , "the rare shamelessness of such offense will be appreciated by all my confreres at home and abroad." He would, he concluded, "in all humility, await from these official gentlemen their own explanation" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:72). The sculptor, however, met a wall of silence, and by October 1894, he conceded defeat, the incident having brought him "great distress of mind" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:66).

Once the decision was made to mule Saint-Gaudens's design with Barber's, the medal's production rested solely in government hands. In November 1893, Mint Director Preston asked Saint-Gaudens to provide a list of foundries that could strike the award medals, evidence perhaps that the sculptor had requested that they not be struck at the Mint ( Preston to Saint-Gaudens , November 13, 1893, Records of the Bureau of the Mint, United States National Archives). Annual reports of the U. S. Mint between 1894 and 1896 suggest that the Mint did produce the hubs and dies, but farmed out the actual striking of the medal ( Julian 1977, 410). A sample card accompanying one of the medals in the ANS's collection reads, "Award Medal and Aluminum Case made by Scoville Manufacturing Company, Waterbury, Connecticut ." Thus Scoville was the producer of not only the medals, but the accompanying velvet-lined cases.

The medal, along with an award diploma designed by Will Low , was finally circulated to prize winners in April 1896, a full two and a half years after the fair's closing. An article in that month's American Journal of Numismatics noted the culmination of the protracted ordeal: "the medals...have at last been issued." Lamenting the aesthetic disparity between Saint-Gaudens's obverse and Barber's reverse, the author commented: "While there is dignity and devotion finely expressed in the figure of Columbus , ...the general effect of the medal, as a specimen of the highest attainment of American numismatic art, is...hardly up to our hopes" (AJN 1896, 119-20).

It would be fruitful to consider the described course of events in the context of American medallic art of the late nineteenth century. In the 1880s, Saint-Gaudens was part of a growing trend by French-trained American sculptors to embrace a field monopolized by engravers and die cutters. Technological progress revolutionized the methods by which coins and medals were made and boundaries between engravers and sculptors dissolved. The refinement of a reducing machine allowed sculptors to model their designs on a larger scale and then mechanically modify them to appropriate proportions. Thus, the ability to model became the chief requisite for the creation of a medal and sculptors were able to compete on a more equal basis for the abundant commissions. For the Columbian Exposition alone, several hundred coins and medals were produced, from those of official status, such as the Saint-Gaudens/Barber award medal to those sold for negligible sums as collectibles (see Eglit ca . 1965).

Saint-Gaudens was also a victim of a power struggle waged by Barber and his chief assistant George T. Morgan to retain control over designs of coins and medals of the U.S. Mint. As mentioned above, in 1891, in an effort to address dissatisfaction with the appearance of American coinage, the Mint had engaged in open competition for designs. Although the submissions were unacceptable, and Barber proceeded to make his own revisions, it is understandable that he and Morgan would resent the intrusion of lofty artistic ideals into the practical matters of producing coinage. Sculptors, for their part, perceived the Mint engravers as inferior talents because they had not undergone stringent academic training. Such is the case with Saint-Gaudens's son, Homer , who years later disdainfully referred to Barber as the "commercial medallist" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:67).

As Saint-Gaudens was mired in dispute over the award medal, Barber was also vying to control two other Columbian coin commissions. The U.S. Mint was, for the first time, to produce commemorative coinage, in this case to help finance the Exposition ( Baxter 1987, 32). Mrs. Potter Palmer , as head of the fair's Board of Lady Managers, was responsible for the commission of the Queen Isabella quarter dollar, authorized by Congress on March 3, 1893, in recognition of women's contribution to American society. She hired Caroline Peddle for the task, but Barber intervened and executed the coin himself (see Taxay 1967, 8-13). Olin Warner , one of the most esteemed sculptors of the day, suffered a similar fate with his half dollar. Selected by the Board of Managers of the Columbian Commission, Warner was the first individual outside the Mint to design an American coin. His obverse—a bust-length portrait of Columbus—was based on a medal ( fig. 13 ) that he produced to commemorate the Exposition's dedication. When Barber and Morgan prepared the dies for Warner's half dollar ( fig. 14 ), they not only clouded his subtle modeling, and reworked elements of the design and inscription, but added their initials, in effect obviating Warner's principle role ( Gurney 1978, 3:779-80).


fig. 13


fig. 14


fig. 15

The issue of nudity was also at the heart of the controversy over the initial design for the reverse. Despite his thorough grounding in Beaux-Arts academicism, Saint-Gaudens rarely introduced the nude into his work. In the few instances he attempted the subject he often was embroiled in debate over its propriety in relation to the adornment of public space. Three fauns for the Eli Bates Fountain , Storks at Play, of 1886-87, dance among herons and cattails in Chicago's Lincoln Park . Saint-Gaudens originally intended the boys to be nude, but was obliged to add fig leaves at the request of the committee overseeing the commission. Saint-Gaudens's most notorious nude, the eighteen-foot Diana for Madison Square Garden was the object of extensive controversy. The first version, now destroyed, stood atop the Garden's tower from November 1891 to September 1892. There and during its subsequent installation atop the Agriculture Building at the Columbian Exposition, Diana had been fiercely criticized as inappropriate. Diana's display in Chicago may have prompted members of the Quadro-Centennial Committee to take swift action when the dispute over the nude on the medal arose. Lastly, Louis St. Gaudens , in consultation with Augustus, had modeled a seal ( fig. 15 ), based on a design by Kenyon Cox , for the main entrance of the new Boston Public Library in 1889-90. Here two nude figures supporting a shield bear a resemblance to the figure on the rejected reverse. Opposition to the seal's placement on the library erupted in the Boston press in mid-February 1894, just three weeks after the initial rejection of Saint-Gaudens's reverse for the Columbian medal. Fortunately, this design withstood the objections of its critics.


fig. 16

Not only was the inclusion of a male nude on an American medal a gamble, the subject had a tenuous place in nineteenth-century American sculpture. Historically, nudes were acceptable so long as they did not overstep bounds with an American audience: the line between praise and castigation was a fine one. Idealized subjects far removed from modern American life stood a better chance of acceptance, such as Hiram Powers's classicizing Fisher Boy (1841-44; The Metropolitan Museum of Art), a rare case in which the genitals are not covered, or John Donoghue's fig-leafed Young Sophocles Leading the Chorus of Victory After the Battle of Salamis (1885; The Metropolitan Museum of Art) which earned an award at the World's Columbian Exposition.

Perhaps Horatio Greenough's George Washington of 1832-41 (National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; fig. 16 ), originally installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda , provides insight into the furor over Saint-Gaudens's nude youth. Also a governmental commission, the heroic-size seated Washington was condemned because the figure was partially nude. Many saw this as an irrational presentation of a venerated leader. Like Greenough's Washington , Saint-Gaudens's Spirit of America overstepped the bounds with viewers unwilling to make the leap from realism to "a bit of artistic idealism" ( Saint-Gaudens 1913, 2:66). To its detractors, the issue was not only one of propriety, but also appropriateness: this figure was not an acceptable personification of an American youth of the 1890s. In an era of optimism, realism, and self-confidence, a Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer vision of boyhood was fitting, but a nude without a veneer of morality or virtue was direct provocation. That Saint-Gaudens's youth was a sensual full-length, unprecedented in an American medal, caused additional governmental discomfort since the nubile youth was to be yoked with the noble Columbus . Furthermore, since a medal's reverse conventionally featured an artfully placed inscription, a heraldic shield, or an eagle, it is even easier to comprehend the circumstances leading to this clash between freedom of expression and censorship.

In the end, Saint-Gaudens's original conception was not realized largely because of the incompatibility of subject and audience. Highminded aesthetics could not override moral standards and politics. The incident represented a setback for American sculptors, who through principles ingrained in their French academic training, labored to teach Americans that the nude was not common or immoral, but inspirational and pure. For his part, Saint-Gaudens salvaged elements from the medal's reverse and incorporated them into other projects. The elongated shield is realized in the James Garfield Monument , dedicated in Philadelphia in May 1896. The eagle and motto "E PLVRIBVS VNVM" on the shield were repeated on the reverse of the Theodore Roosevelt special inaugural medal of 1905 (ANS; fig. 17 ) and reverse of the ten-dollar gold piece of 1906-07 (ANS; fig. 18 ).


fig. 17


fig. 18

Despite the regrettable close to this chapter of Saint-Gaudens's career, his contribution toward a redefined field of American medallic art is uncontested. His protean attempts to marry American sculptural and numismatic traditions paved the way for the glorious Beaux-Arts medals of John Flanagan , Victor David Brenner , and others at the turn of the century.


For assistance in the preparation of this paper, the author thanks Kevin J. Avery , Alexis L. Boylan and Susan G. Larkin , The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ; Barbara A. Baxter , The Baltimore Museum of Art; Mark Coen , Page Belting Company, Concord, New Hampshire ; John H. Dryfhout , Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire ; and Alan M. Stahl , American Numismatic Society.

List of References

Augustus Saint-Gaudens Papers, Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, New Hampshire .
Baxter, Barbara A . 1987 . The Beaux-Arts Medal in America. New York : The American Numismatic Society.
Carr, Carolyn Kinder , et al 1993 . Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair. Washington, D.C. : National Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
The Columbian Exposition Medal 1896 . American Journal of Numismatics 30 (April): 119-20.
Dryfhout, John H. 1982 . The Work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Hanover, New Hampshire , and London : University Press of New England .
Eglit, Nathan N . ca. 1965 . Columbiana: The Medallic History of Christopher Columbus and the Columbia Exposition of 1893 . Chicago : Hewitt Brothers.
Gurney, George 1978 . Olin Levi Warner ( 1844-1896 ): A Catalogue Raisonne of His Sculpture and Graphic Works. Ph.D. diss., University of Delaware .
Julian, R. W. 1977 . Medals of the United States Mint: The First Century, 1792-1892 , ed. N. Neil Harris . El Cajon, Calif .: The Token and Medal Society.
Lee Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston .
Montezuma [Montague Marks] 1891 . My Note Book. Art Amateur 25 (October): 102.
The New Designs for Our Coinage 1891 . American Journal of Numismatics 26 (July): 1-3.
Potter-Hennessey, Pamela 1995 . The Sculpture at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition: International Encounters and Jingoistic Spectacles. Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland .
Records of the Bureau of the Mint, United States National Archive.
Richard Watson Gilder Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.
Saint-Gaudens, Homer , ed. 1913 . The Reminiscences of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. 2 vols. New York : Century Company.
Taxay, Don 1967 . An Illustrated History of U.S. Commemorative Coinage . New York : Arco Publishing Company.
——. 1983 . The U. S. Mint and Coinage: An Illustrated History from 1776 to Present . New York : Arco Publishing Company, rev. ed.
[ Trumble, Alfred ] 1894 . Morality and Other Things. The Collector 5 (February 1): 101.
[untitled] 1894 . The American Architect and Building News 43 (February 3): 49.

A. A. Weinman , Classic Medalist

Barbara A. Baxter

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

A 1917 article on the sculpture of Adolph Alexander Weinman in the Pan-American Union Bulletin concludes with a paragraph on his achievements in medallic art: As a medalist, however, he ranks probably second to none. Ingenious and skillful in this branch of artistic endeaver, he has produced some exceptionally fine work. No doubt his early training as a wood and ivory carver stand him in good stead. The medal of honor of the American Institute of Architects is his work, as is also the medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the United States medal for life saving on railroads. He also did the official medal of the St. Louis Exposition. In all these designs he combined strength with simplicity, thus creating an object of striking charm. Most recently he has designed a series of coins for the United States Government. New coins of the denomination of 10 cents and 50 cents are now in circulation in this country and are bringing forth much favorable comment for the beauty of design and the effective expression through it of the spirit and ideals of this country. (PAUB 1917, 787)

The strength and clarity of design noted in this anonymous review, coupled with a rigorous adherence to classical ideals, distinguish A. A. Weinman 's medals from those of his contemporaries. Drawing on the evidence of previously unpublished studies, notes, and sketches that have been donated or loaned by the Weinman family to the American Numismatic Society and the Archives of American Art, it is possible to trace the development of Weinmans medallic designs and to illuminate the singularity of his artistic vision.

Born in 1870 in Karlsruhe, Germany , Adolph Alexander Weinman emigrated to the United States with his family in 1880. At age fifteen, he was apprenticed to a wood and ivory carver in New York . The following year, he began studying drawing and modeling in evening classes at the Cooper Union. He later said of that experience, "I liked carving, but it was all small stuff and when I saw the large work being done in the modeling class, I made up my mind then and there to quit carving and try to become a sculptor" ( Weinman , Typescript of a public address, April 13, 1948; AAA). When he learned that the sculptor Philip Martiny , a former pupil and assistant of Augustus Saint-Gaudens , was taking on apprentices, Weinman signed on for the job of "push[ing] a studio broom, keep[ing] the potbellied stove going and mix[ing] barrels of good, wet clay" ( Weinman , April 13, 1948; AAA). Working during the day in Martiny's studio, Weinman , like so many of his contemporaries, continued his studies in the evening classes taught by Saint-Gaudens at the Art Students League. Through these classes, Saint-Gaudens transmitted the Beaux-Arts tradition of bronze sculpture to an entire generation of American sculptors. 1

After a brief assistantship with Olin Levi Warner , cut short by Warner's untimely death, Weinman joined Saint-Gaudens's studio in 1895. He worked closely with Saint-Gaudens for the next ten years, before establishing his own studio. While assisting Saint-Gaudens , Weinman also worked at times with the sculptors Charles Niehaus and Daniel Chester French . Weinman described Saint-Gaudens , whom he and other studio assistants referred to as "the Saint," as "a man of remarkably magnetic personality, intensely temperamental and of striking personal appearance, whom I shall always remember with great affection, despite the fact that there was one fault in his general makeup, he habitually forgot to pay his assistant at a specified time and that is the way he was about money in general" ( Weinman , April 13, 1948; AAA).

Surviving documentation clearly shows that Saint-Gaudens held Weinman in high regard and bestowed on him the primary responsibility for carrying out important commissions. Likewise, Daniel Chester French trusted Weinman's abilities, writing in a letter of September 10, 1903: "I do want all the time you can give me from the first of next month on indefinitely ... I am sorry to stand in the way of your working with Mr. St. Gaudens but I need you too much to be generous" ( French to Weinman , September 10, 1903; HKW).

The exhibition of European medals at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago first sparked Weinman's interest in medallic sculpture. His subsequent experience in the studios of Warner and Saint-Gaudens , both of whom received critical acclaim for their masterful portrait plaquettes and medallions in the 1880s and early 1890s, further inspired his early efforts at medallic portraiture. 2 Weinman's earliest surviving portrait medallion is a silvered galvano depicting his mother, Catharina, sculpted in 1896 (Baxter 1987, cat. no. 165, illustrated p. 47).The soft, atmospheric modeling and format of this piece are very much in the Beaux-Arts tradition. The style of inscriptions and use of the Latin "FECIT" in the artist's signature follow Saint-Gaudens's practice, inspired by Italian Renaissance models.

During his tenure with Saint-Gaudens , Weinman modeled other portrait plaquettes and medallions for relatives and acquaintances, but his first commission for a commemorative medal did not come until 1904. When he received the commission for the official medal of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Weinman seized the opportunity, crafting a unique series of commemorative and awards medals ( Baxter 1987, 38-39). The Louisiana Purchase medals are innovative for their use of varying planchet shapes to distinguish the different classes of awards. All of the medals share the same central obverse and reverse designs, but the motifs around the edges of the planchets differ. The format for the Gold Medal and official Commemorative Medal is a triangular planchet with curved sides ( fig. 1 ). The Grand Prize Medal is struck on a shield-shaped flan, the Silver Medal a square, and the Bronze Medal a circle.

Weinman's design for the Louisiana Purchase medals anticipates many of his later medallic achievements. On the obverse, the central medallion features an image of Liberty cloaking herself and a younger figure beside her in the American flag, with a rising sun in the background. The circular field on the reverse is filled by a heroic eagle with outstretched wings perched on a rectangular plaque bearing the inscription, with a pair of opposed dolphins flanking a scallop shell below. The graceful, curving line, restrained composition, and strong forms evident in this piece are hallmarks of Weinman's mature style. Weinman became a specialist in the modeling of eagles, and this magnificent bird initiates a lengthy series of variations on the theme.

In a letter of July 14, 1905 that undoubtedly refers to the Louisiana Purchase medal, Daniel Chester French indicates that he has seen the models for the medal in Ward's studio and congratulates Weinman on his achievement. He goes on to add: Mr. Ward said, that he had called your attention to the drapery in the lower part of the principal figure. This does not seem to me as happy in arrangement as the rest of the drapery. At the same time I hesitate about criticising it, or making any suggestion, the whole thing is so fine. I still fell [feel] that your Dolphins have not squirm enough. I think that the curves in the outlines of them are too true, and that some little breaks in the outlines and some little suggestion of unevenness in the modeling would take away from the regidity I feel in them. You know I criticised them before. ( French to Weinman , July 14, 1905; HKW)

A somewhat awkward relationship between the drapery and the lower part of the figure of Liberty is evident in the finished medal. French's comment about the dolphins is also very telling. In the modeling of his medallic compositions, Weinman favors smooth surfaces and clarity of outline over the more nuanced surface modulations preferred by French and Saint-Gaudens . This stylistic difference reflects Weinman's closer adherence to Classical sources than to the Renaissance models emulated by Saint-Gaudens .


Weinman certainly adapted his work to the master sculptor's dictates when required to do so, and the Special Inaugural Medal commissioned from Saint-Gaudens by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 is a case in point ( fig. 2 ) ( Baxter 1987, 29, 31). At a White House dinner on January 12, 1905, Roosevelt asked Saint-Gaudens to create a special commemorative medal for his upcoming second inaugural. A week later, the sculptor wrote back to the President: If the inauguration medal is to be ready for March the first, there is not a moment to lose. I cannot do it, but I have arranged with the man best fit to execute it in this country [ Weinman ]. He is a most artistic nature extremely diffident but he would do an admirable thing. He is also supple and takes suggestion intelligently. He has made one of the great Indian groups at St. Louis that would have interested you if brought to your attention. He is so interested that he begged me to fix any price. I named $250 ( Weinman to Roosevelt , January 20, 1905; DCL).


Letters from Saint-Gaudens in Vermont to Weinman in New York document the progress of the models for the Roosevelt medal and illustrate the nature of the working relationship between the two sculptors. Saint-Gaudens sketched out the composition and decided on the inscriptions in consultation with the President, who agreed that the text should be kept to a minimum, following Renaissance prototypes. Weinman attended to all of the technical details, from soliciting proposals for the medal's production to choosing the color of gold for the President's specimen. The Renaissance-inspired design of the obverse features a truncated bust of the President. A noble, Ptolemaic eagle appears on the reverse, accompanied by Weinman's monogram. Saint-Gaudens required that Weinman make numerous small revisions in the models before he was satisfied that the medal was ready for casting: Dear Weinman : I think the eagle without the shield is the right one. I return the model with three little corrections: No. 1, showing more of V and N in VNVM by cutting one of the feathers shorter, as I have indicated. No. 2, increasing the size of our monograms. No. 3, making the front of the rock in simpler planes, as I have also roughly indicated. As to the head, it is all right except that I think the letters might be a little thinner and longer in relief; after that is done, go ahead with the reduction ( Saint-Gaudens to Weinman , March 14, 1905; AAA).

In typical Saint-Gaudens fashion, the first trial casts were sent back to Tiffany & Company because they had not been executed "in the best possible manner," and Weinman tried another foundry [Roman Bronze Works] to see if better casts could be obtained ( Weinman to Saint-Gaudens , May 3, 1905, and May 21, 1905; DCL). In the end, Tiffany did produce casts that met with Saint-Gaudens's and Weinman's approval, and the President finally received his medal in June 1905, more than three months after the inauguration.

The success of Weinman's designs for the Louisiana Purchase medals and his association with Saint-Gaudens brought him further important commissions, beginning with the United States Medal for Life Saving on Railroads, enacted by Act of Congress in 1905. A unique study for the Lifesaving Medal, presented to the American Numismatic Society by Robert A. Weinman from his father's collection, shows the design in progress ( Baxter 1987, cat. no. 172, illlustrated p. 47). A.A. Weinman originally sketched the piece as a two-figure composition, embodying the concept of rescue in a heroic, classical nude who lifts a limp victim in his strong arms. He later reduced the composition to a single, allegorical nude figure that better suits the small scale of the struck medal ( Baxter 1987, cat. no. 173, illustrated p. 48). In the final design, the diagonal position of the figure, the tension of the musculature, and the movement of the drapery create a sense of drama appropriate to the subject.

James Earle Fraser's Harriman Memorial Medal for the American Museum of Safety, issued in 1914, makes an instructive comparison with Weinman's Lifesaving Medal ( Baxter 1987, 10, fig. 9 ). Fraser , another of Saint-Gaudens's gifted students, gives the theme of railroad safety a more realistic treatment, using textured modeling to complement the robust image of a contemporary track walker. Weinman seems to have considered such a literal representation of the subject inappropriate to the format and commemorative purpose of the medal. For the duration of his career, he remained faithful to the classical, allegorical ideal, long after the Beaux-Arts tradition in sculpture and architecture had been eclipsed by what he derisively called the "stark functionalism" of modernist design ( Weinman , April 13, 1948; AAA).

For Weinman , the starting point for each medallic design was the search for a symbolic equivalent of the subject. A unique sketch for the 1909 Edison Medal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers shows a partially draped, seated figure holding a lightbulb, attended by a small winged genius ( fig. 3 ) ( Baxter 1987, 49, cat. no. 175). The image of a seated male nude with a lightbulb also appears in another study for this same medal by James Earle Fraser , suggesting that in this case the allegorical figure may have been a requirement of a design competition for the medal ( Baxter 1987, 61, cat. no. 232). Fraser was ultimately awarded the commission for the Edison medal ( Baxter 1987, 60, cat. no. 231).


Sketchbooks and drawings in the collection of papers donated by Robert A. Weinman to the Archives of American Art give further insight into the genesis of A.A. Weinman 's medallic designs. Two undated, loose sheets of pencil sketches for medals are illustrated in figures 4 and 5 . The Classicism of these designs is immediately apparent, as is the sense of monumentality in the figural compositions. Weinman was an accomplished sculptor of architectural reliefs, and these studies show the austere Classicism of his large-scale relief sculpture translated into the small format of the medal (Dorr 1913). Some of these sketches bear a strong resemblance to ancient coin types, and there are examples in one of Weinman's sketchbooks of studies from Roman coins and Greek sculpture (HKW).

Weinman's studies for medallic designs are often accompanied by penciled captions explaining the allegorical subjects of the compositions. On one sheet of studies, for example, the jotted notations include "Joy of Freedom/The narrow path of Duty" ( fig. 4 ); on another, "Adventure, Romance of History," "Adventure, Defence," "Man and his Conscience," "Peace & Security/Parting of the Way," "Reason deceives us often, Conscience never./Man & his conscience/Conscience, oracle of god" ( fig. 5 ) (AAA). Weinman kept lists of quotations and allegorical subjects for reference. One lengthy, alphabetized list begins: "Ability/Arts, The/Adventure/Adversity/[ ]/ America /Civilization/Confidence/Conquest/ Conscience, ..." (AAA).


On another page, the sculptor cites Bartlett's Quotations as the source of inspiration for a design, and in a memo to himself, he writes: "Inscribe message on Reverse of medal, instead of any devise, if found more to the point" (AAA).


In comparison with the medals sculpted under Saint-Gaudens's tutelage, two important commissions dating from the years just after Weinman established his own studio in 1906 show a new sense of maturity in their design and execution. Weinman's 1907 medal for the American Institute of Architects pays homage to the classical ideal, represented by the jugate busts of Ictinus, Kallikrates, and Phidias , the architects and chief sculptor of the Parthenon ( fig. 6 ). On the reverse of the ALA medal, a magnificent eagle with partially extended wings appears on a rocky perch, ripping off a laurel branch in its beak. In comparison with the rather tame bird on the reverse of the Roosevelt Special Inaugural Medal, this eagle has a great sense of power and life, enhanced by the way that the motif fills the entire field, extending right to the edge of the frame. Weinman achieves a remarkable amount of detail in the talons and the differentiation of neck and wing feathers, the result of careful studies from nature.


Weinman's 1909 medal for the National Institute of Arts and Letters is another beautiful example of the balance and grace that typify his best work ( fig. 7 ). Once more the obverse features a classical theme, the head of Apollo, god of music and poetry. A Roman lamp, symbolic of learning, burns brightly on the reverse. The relief here is higher, the surface smoother, and the forms more sharply delineated than in the AIA Medal. The obvious reference to masterpieces of ancient coinage includes the beaded treatment of the rim. Weinman's placement of the head in a slightly off-center position, with the locks of hair that ripple down the neck transgressing the border, gives the image greater vitality. The reverse complements the obverse in its simplicity and off-set composition.

Another piece dating from 1909 is quite different in character and unusual in Weinman's ouevre ( fig. 8 ). Weinman exhibited the rectangular, cast bronze plaquette entitled "The Charge" in 1910 at the American Numismatic Society's International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals, but it is otherwise overlooked in the literature (IECM 4). An unpublished companion piece given by Robert A. Weinman to the American Numismatic Society represents a naval battle ( fig. 9 ). These small reliefs may be studies for a Civil War soldiers and sailors monument. Both depict scenes of action with historical accuracy. When the nature of the commission necessitated that Weinman forgo the heroic, allegorical nude, he did adopt a greater degree of realism in his figurative sculpture, although in the traditional format of the commemorative medal he chose not to do so.


In modeling portrait plaquettes and medallions, Weinman was interested in creating an authentic likeness of the subject. He especially enjoyed portraying children, including his own, who are the subject of numerous reliefs. A medallic portrait of his son Robert ( Bobbie ) exists in two versions, both galvanos—one a plaquette with charming details, the other a circular medallion of the head alone ( fig. 10 ) (Noe, 40; Baxter 1987, cat. no. 171).

A.A. Weinman also played a key role in the Beaux-Arts redesign of the United States coinage, initiated by Roosevelt and Saint-Gaudens with the ten- and twenty-dollar gold pieces of 1907. In a 1916 design competition for the fractional silver coins, Weinman was selected as the artist for the revamped dime and half-dollar pieces.


The so-called "Mercury" dime, misnamed because of the wings applied to Liberty's cap, is the less successful of the two designs. An exquisite plaster sketch for the head of the Walking Liberty on the half dollar, based on ancient coin types, shows how the obverse of the dime might have looked without the problematic wings that Weinman deemed symbolic of "liberty of thought" ( fig. 11 ). Cornelius Vermeule has speculated that another reason for the wings is "because Weinman , in the true Saint-Gaudens tradition, liked the effect of feathers in relief on his coins and medals" ( Vermeule , 145).


The "Walking Liberty" half dollar is a true masterpiece of design, the highpoint of Weinman's medallic career, drawing together elements from his earlier work in a perfect balance of strongly modeled, sculptural form and elegant, linear pattern ( fig. 12 ). Although the powerful eagle on the reverse of the coin resembles the one that Weinman had sculpted for the 1909 AIA medal, the uplifted head of the bird creates a much stronger diagonal axis in this composition, and it links the obverse and reverse of the coin thematically. Just as the sun rises in the image on the obverse, the eagle on the reverse raises its head as if readying for flight. In comparison with the modeling of the reverse of the AIA medal, the sharpness of contour and depth of relief achieved in the small format of the half dollar are extraordinary, surpassed only by the high relief version of Saint-Gaudens's twenty-dollar gold piece.

Weinman's design for the obverse of the half dollar is reminiscent of the earlier Louisiana Purchase Medal in its use of the flag drapery encircling the figure of Liberty and the rising sun motif. The rising sun also figured in Saint-Gaudens's design for the twenty-dollar gold piece. Liberty's striding pose echoes Roty's "Semeuse" or "Sower" on the French two-franc piece, and it has been noted before that the choice of a French-inspired design on the eve of America's entry into World War I was not merely a personal artistic statement. Weinman's Walking Liberty is a beautiful figure. Her billowing swirls of drapery create a sense of flowing movement, echoing the circular outline of the frame, and she strides forward with strength and purpose. As in many of Weinman's medallic compositions, the figure overlaps the inscription, accentuating her stature, and the drapery spreads out to give her lower body breadth, revealing the form beneath. In this relief, Weinman achieves a breathtaking synthesis of sweeping line, precise detail, and sculptural volume.

The American art medal reached its apogee in the years prior to World War I, and the War effectively marked the end of the renaissance of medallic sculpture in this country. World War I did occasion an outpouring of decorations and commemorative medals, but the Beaux-Arts tradition was ill-suited to expressing the horrors of a brutal, devastating war ( Jones , 1979, 152). Although Weinman's 1920 War Service Medal for Mt. Sinai Hospital is one of the more successful American war medals from an artistic standpoint, it illustrates the difficulties of adapting the classical, allegorical vocabulary to commemorating the events of the war ( Baxter 1987, 11, fig. 12 ) .The grace of the central figure in Weinman's composition and the limp pathos of the warrior whom she protects from a menacing German soldier are faithful to their Greco-Roman sources, but the stereotypical treatment of the theme limits its effectiveness. A series of pencil sketches for the Mt. Sinai medal shows that Weinman considered several other compositions before settling on the grouping of three figures (HKW). At an earlier stage of the design, he placed the wounded figure in the lower righthand corner, slumped in the posture of the famous Hellenistic sculpture of the Dying Gaul . The female figure towered above him, holding a caduceus in one hand and raising the other arm to ward off the advance of the threatening enemy behind her. The final design works more successfully in filling the circular format of the medal, and Weinman atypically adds the suggestion of a battlefield setting in the lower corner to balance the composition.


Another group of more finished pencil sketches exists for a second medal commissioned by Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Trusteeship Medal, "presented in recognition of 25 Years of Distinguished Service" ( fig. 13 ) (Undated; AAA). Once again, in the search for a suitable obverse design, Weinman conceives of the composition in terms of monumental groupings of allegorical figures. 3 This severe Classicism runs as a thread through much of his later work, which lacks the subtlety and grace of his earlier medals.

In 1919, when the American Numismatic Society held a design composition for a new award medal to be presented annually to an outstanding medalist, A.A. Weinman 's proposal was selected as the best among fifteen entries. Weinman's classic design for the J. Sanford Saltus Medal set a high standard for the "signal achievement in the art of the medal" that the award celebrates ( Baxter 1987, cat. no. 182, illustrated p. 89). The restrained composition, elegant line, and delicate modeling of the obverse, a symbolic representation of Medallic Art, complement the more vigorous image of Pegasus on the reverse, which is effectively set off from the lengthy surrounding inscriptions by the use of a recessed field.

Fittingly, Weinman himself was the second recipient of the Saltus Award in 1920, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to medallic art. In his finest medallic work, A.A. Weinman transcended the limitations of a mode of expression that would soon be regarded as irrelevant to the modern age. Recasting the classical vocabulary in his own terms, Weinman created coins and medals that are a lasting tribute to his technical skill and innate aesthetic sensibility.

List of References

AAA. Adolph Weinman Papers, 1893-1960 , Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C .
AJN 1915 . The Designers of the New Silver Coinage. American Journal of Numismatics 49: 210-12.
Baxter, Barbara A . 1987 . The Beaux-Arts Medal in America. New York , the American Numismatic Society.
DCL. Augustus Saint-Gaudens Papers, Special Collections Division, Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, New Hampshire .
Dorr, Charles H . 1913 . A Sculptor of Monumental Architecture. Architectural Record 33:518-32.
HKW. Sketchbooks and papers owned by Howard K. Weinman , microfilmed by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C .
IECM 1911 . The American Numismatic Society. Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals, March 1910. Edited by Agnes Baldwin . Revised edition. New York .
Jones, Mark . 1979 . The Art of the Medal London .
Noe, Sydney P. 1921 . The Medallic Work of A. A. Weinman. American Numismatic Society Numismatic Notes and Monographs. Volume 7. New York .
PAUB. 1917 . Adolph Alexander Weinman . Pan-American Union Bulletin 45:775-87.
Taxay Don . 1966 . The U.S. Mint and Coinage: An Illustrated History from 1776 to the Present . New York .
Vermeule, Cornelius . 1971 . Numismatic Art in America: Aesthetics of the United States Coinage . Cambridge, Massachusetts .

End Notes

The biographical information found here and in the following paragraphs is slightly revised from the catalogue essay on Weinman in my 1987 exhibition catalogue The Beaux-Arts Medal in America , based on my reading of correspondence and notes in the Weinman papers at the Archives of American Art.
For a summary of Warner's and Saint-Gaudens's contributions to medallic sculpture, see Baxter 1987, 26-31.
The obverse design at the lower right is the one eventually used for the medal, with the addition of inscriptions.

The Medallic Work of Emil Fuchs

Scott Miller

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

The abundant wealth of the Edwardian era , though concentrated in the hands of a few, provided the means for a flowering of the arts that has not been matched since. It was in this world of privilege that Emil Fuchs made his mark as an artist. Although overlooked today, a century ago Fuchs was on the verge of becoming a fashionable society artist. His body of work includes approximately 50 medals, produced in England and the United States .

In the introductory text, I will discuss only a portion of Fuchs's work. The accompanying catalogue is, however, as complete as I have been able to compile. I began to accumulate information on these medals about ten years ago, and have long put off publishing anything until now because there are so many questions for which I have not been able to find answers; not the least of which are the identities of many of the small portrait medals Fuchs produced. However, the occasion of a second COAC on medals has inspired me to publish what I have found in the hopes that someone might be able to provide additional information about the artist and his work.


fig. 1

For someone who had access to the highest levels of society, surprisingly little is known about Fuchs's life. He appears to have destroyed virtually all private papers prior to his death, and is rarely mentioned in biographies and histories. Therefore, most of the little we do know comes from his highly readable, but carefully guarded 1925 autobiography.

Emil Fuchs was born in Vienna in 1866 ( fig. 1 ). His father, who was born in Hungary , married the boss's daughter and after moving to Vienna became a reasonably successful businessman. In addition to an older brother who died prior to Fuchs's birth, Fuchs had at least one sister, Renee ; neither sibling ever married. Raised largely by his father, Fuchs entered the family business after leaving college. Finding he had neither the inclination nor the ability for commerce, Fuchs obtained his father's permission and enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts where he studied sculpture and drawing. While at the Academy, Fuchs also studied piano at the Vienna Conservatory ( Fuchs pp. 3-12). Thus began what Mark Jones so aptly described as "a curious career as cosmopolitan, socialite and portraitist to the international rich" ( Jones p.23).

Shortly after the death of his parents in around 1888, Fuchs went to Berlin where he studied under Professor Schaper . The Professor's remark that Fuchs "...knew nothing about sculpture" apparently came as no surprise to the student ( Fuchs p.13). However, after some serious study, Fuchs's abilities seems to have improved, so that during his two years in Berlin he was awarded a number of minor commissions from the court and a traveling scholarship to Rome ( Fuchs pp.16-19). While in Rome, Fuchs embarked upon a five year project of a marble statue entitled "Mother Love," for which he eventually received a gold medal from the Art Association of Munich ( fig. 2 ). Described by Fuchs as "a monument to the love and unflinching suffering of motherhood," it might also be described as Victorian sentimentality at its worst ( Fuchs pp. 25-30). Though poorly designed, it was well executed, and for our purposes, hints at the medallic work which would soon follow. Within the pedestal of the statue were four bronze panels ( fig. 3 ); two in high relief and two in relief that Fuchs described it as "a form of relievo so low that it might almost be termed a painting in stone. This is the most difficult. To distinguish the modeling at all, it has to be illuminated by sharp light which will throw deep shadow. Its application is particularly well suited for medals and was practiced by Roty, Dupré and Bottée to best advantage" ( Fuchs p. 30).


fig. 2

While in Rome, Fuchs received commissions for portraits and busts, including those from Alexandra Ellis , daughter of Arthur Ellis , Equerry to the Prince of Wales , and Mrs. Carl Meyer , whose husband was the manager for the London Rothschilds. As the bust of Mrs. Meyer could not be finished prior to her return to London , John Singer Sergeant offered Fuchs the use of one of his London studios ( Fuchs p. 32).

Fuchs arrived in London in the summer of 1897. Having soon set up his own studio in Kensington , Fuchs continued to work on his bust of Mrs. Meyer , as well as receive new commissions. He was also introduced to General Arthur Ellis and received a commission for a bust of his youngest daughter ( Fuchs pp. 35-37). Beginning in 1898 Fuchs executed a series of small portrait medals of London society. Among the first was a commission by Lady Randolph Churchill shortly after the return of her son Winston from South Africa (Catalogue no. 3). According to Fuchs , she "commissioned me to make a small medal with the profiles of her two boys one on each side, which she always wore around her neck. It was considered a novel idea and led to a sort of fashion..." ( Fuchs pp. 50-51).


fig. 3

Other medals commissioned according to this "fashion" include two for the Rothschilds . Mrs. Leopold de Rothschild commissioned a medal of her boys Anthony and Evelyn (catalogue no. 4), while Baron Alphonse de Rothschild ordered one of his daughter Charlotte Beatrix , who married Maurice Ephrussi (catalogue no. 25). Medals were struck for Sir Ernest Cassel and his daughter Maude , who was married to Wilfred Ashley (catalogue no. 2); their daughter Edwina later married Lord Louis Mountbatten . The memorial to Maude Ashley in Ramsey Cathedral by Fuchs includes the image from his medal of her (catalogue no. 9; fig. 4 ).


fig. 4

Fuchs probably owed much of his popularity as a medalist to another patron, however, the Prince of Wales . Shortly after the youngest Miss Ellis's engagement, Fuchs prepared a small portrait medal of her father, which he attached to a small chain as a bracelet and presented as a wedding present (catalogue no. 1). Not surprisingly, the General was pleased with his portrait and ordered more, which he had placed in ashtrays, cigarette cases and other small objects which were distributed as Christmas presents. Among the recipients was the Prince of Wales , who ordered a similar medal in June 1899. At one of the sittings, the Prince prepared two autographs with his initials and the date September 9, 1899 and requested that the medals be ready by that time (catalogue no. 6). Unfortunately, the significance of that date has so far proven elusive. A second reverse was also paired with the same portrait, displaying the Prince's insignia of feathers and the date 1899 (catalogue no. 7). One hundred such medals were ordered and distributed at Christmas of the same year ( Fuchs pp. 64-67).

Additional commissions from the royal family followed the medal for the Prince of Wales . One of these was for a large silver medal depicting the Princess of Wales (catalogue no. 20). According to Fuchs , Alexandra was greatly interested in the production of this medal. In a note dated December 6, 1900, Charlotte Knollys (Lady in Waiting to the Princess of Wales) informed Fuchs that, "The Princess's favorite flower is the rose, but H.R.H. is very anxious that you should make the background of the medal as soft and delicate as the one in the 'War and Peace' 1 medal, which she admires particularly. I may tell you in confidence that the Princess does not wish to have her name placed in relief , as in the case of the reverse of the Prince's medal, as she thinks it makes it look hard and cutting." In another note dated December 29, Knollys wrote, "The Princess says you were consulting together about the inscription to be put on the back of her medal, so I write one line to tell you privately that I am sure the one she would like best would be 'Princess of Pity,' as several of the newspapers have called her lately" ( Fuchs pp. 115-117).

Not surprisingly, Fuchs adopted these suggestions. The Princess's name, found beneath the bust is incuse, and the border design consisting of ribbons and roses is softly modelled. To complement the description of the "Princess of Pity" is the reverse design of Faith, Hope and Charity. These medals, which were struck in two sizes, were used as Christmas presents in 1901.

At the request of Queen Victoria , Fuchs produced two medals to mark the entry of her reign into the new century. The larger of the two, which was also produced in two sizes, depicts a crowned bust of the Queen on the obverse, and a figure standing on a globe and bearing a facsimile autograph on the reverse (catalogue no. 18). The second medal, a smaller, more informal medal meant for the Queen's family, portrays Victoria in the cloth cap she normally wore, and her signature on the reverse (catalogue no. 17; Fuchs pp. 101-109). Shortly afterwards, in January 1901, Queen Victoria died and was succeeded by her son, the Prince of Wales , now Edward VII . Along with the new reign came additional commissions for Fuchs .


fig. 5

On April 23, 1901 the King asked Fuchs his views concerning a coronation medal and soon received a commission for one medal. Following a practice initiated with Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, two official medals were issued, a table medal for sale to collectors and a military medal to be awarded to participants. Basing his design on the St. Helena medal, which was instituted under Napoleon III and awarded to veterans of Napoleon's campaigns ( fig. 5 ), Fuchs prepared two slightly different versions of the military medal ( Fuchs 161-162). The first, awarded to those who took part in the coronation ceremony, is slightly oval and depicts crowned busts of Edward and Alexandra , left, within a border composed of laurel wreaths surmounted by a crown; on the reverse is the royal cypher within a similar border (catalogue no. 32). A second version, on a round planchet with the portraits reversed was issued to Lord Mayors and other civic officials who took part in the ceremonies (catalogue no. 33). In comparison is the official commemorative medal by de Saulles ( fig. 6 ). Besides the enormous difference in style, the cross on top of the crown is noteworthy; most artists depict the cross on top of the crown sideways so that it is recognizable as a cross. In fact, when seen from the side, one would only see a vertical bar; Fuchs , despite his impressionistic style, often strove for accuracy in detail.


fig. 6

Considering his relative obscurity today, it is perhaps surprising to note that some of Fuchs's medals were enormous commercial successes. Elkington , which struck the military style coronation medals received permission to use the reversed portraits on commercial medals. For this, Fuchs designed a reverse portraying a seated Britannia with Westminster Abbey in the background. On the shield is the date of the coronation, June 26, 1902 (catalogue no. 34). When the King suffered an attack of acute appendicitis, the date for both the coronation and the medal were changed to August 9. Elkington also paired the obverse design with many local reverse dies. Altogether, some 950,000 medals were sold, although orders for 40,000 were canceled when the King became ill ( Fuchs p. 162).

While in England , Fuchs also designed a number of medals relating to the Boer War. Three relate to heroes of the war, General Sir Robert Baden-Powell (catalogue no. 26), Field Marshall Lord Roberts (catalogue nos. 22 and 23) and General Sir George White (catalogue no. 24). In 1900 Fuchs prepared a medal marking the end of the war and bearing the inscription TO THE/ MEMORY OF THOSE/WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR/QUEEN AND COUNTRY (catalogue no. 21). In 1902, when the war finally did end, the medal was reissued, but with the new date and the inscription changed to read KING AND COUNTRY (catalogue no. 36).

Fuchs came to the United States for the first time in order to finish a portrait and began the custom of spending his winters in New York , supplying art for the rich, though not necessarily discerning Americans ( Fuchs p.188). In 1906 Fuchs received his first medallic commission in this country, a membership medal for the Hispanic Society of America (catalogue no. 39). At the time, the Society consisted of up to 300 corresponding members; between 1906 and 1924 they were awarded bronze membership medals. From those 300, no more than 100 members were named and presented with silver medals (HSA p. 38).

Fuchs produced a second medal for the Hispanic Society when he was commissioned to design their Medal of Arts and Literature (catalogue no. 40). Approximately 4 inches in diameter, this impressive medal has been awarded since 1907 to "men and women distinguished in the field of Hispanic art, history, or literature" (HSA p. 38). The obverse depicts the seated figure of Inspiration surrounded by eight female figures representing the arts, while on the reverse is a Genius seated on a sarcophagus, kissing a standing female. This medal was first struck by Tiffany & Co., and later by the Medallic Art Co..

Between 1908 and 1913, Fuchs designed three medals for the American Numismatic Society. The first was a double commemorative honoring both the 50th anniversary of the A.N.S. and its President, Archer M. Huntington (catalogue no. 41). During the Fiftieth Anniversary meeting 2 Huntington cancelled the Society's $25,000. loan, leaving the Society free from debt ( Adelson pp. 148-150). A resolution by George F. Kunz was unanimously adopted calling for a medal in Huntington's honor bearing a portrait of Huntington on the obverse and a picture of the new building on the reverse. Although Victor D. Brenner had previously submitted some sketches for just such a medal to Bauman Belden for circulation among the members of the committee on medals, the commission was eventually given to Fuchs . In keeping with Huntington's wishes, his portrait was not used. On the obverse, therefore, is a coining press with a male figure on either side while a third male is seated in front examining a coin; above is the inscription ARCHER MILTON HUNTINGTON MEDAL. On the reverse a standing female figure holds a scroll upon which is a representation of the Society's building and an appropriate inscription noting the organization's 50th anniversary. One gold medal was struck and presented to Huntington ; of the eleven silver specimens struck, one was reserved for the Society's cabinet. Since 1918, silver specimens have been awarded to individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement in numismatic scholarship. In addition, bronze medals were both offered for sale to members and presented to contributors to the Exhibition of United States Coins held from January 17 to February 18, 1914, and to the Exhibition of March 26 to May 15, 1914 ( Adelson pp. 175-177).

Fuchs's second medal on behalf of the American Numismatic Society was struck in 1909 to mark the Hudson-Fulton Celebration (catalogue no. 42). Issued in conjunction with the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission, it was struck in six sizes in a variety of medals, and might rank as the most common of all United States commemorative medals, with a total of 124,698 struck. The obverse portrays Hudson and his men on the deck of his ship, the Halve Maene , while the reverse depicts allegorical representations of Steam Navigation, History and Commerce beneath a portrait of Robert Fulton ; in the background are views of New York in 1807 and 1909 ( Adelson pp. 177-178).

Fuchs went to great lengths to insure the accuracy of design of this medal including several trips to Holland to obtain official sanction for his portrayal of the Half Moon. Surprisingly, the greatest difficulty seems to have come from the name of the ship; after the determination that the proper spelling was 'Halve Maene,' dies were prepared, only to have papers received from Holland illustrating the reproduction of Hudson's ship, the 'Halve Maen.' Frantic cables to Dutch authorities confirmed their original determination that the name of the ship should include the final 'e' ( Adelson pp. 179-180). Similar problems arose with the depiction of the Claremont; after the plaster models were delivered to the die sinker, they were altered twice as changes were made in the construction of the replica of the ship ( Adelson p. 180).

In 1913 Fuchs was commissioned to design a medal in memory of John Pierpont Morgan , who had died earlier that year (catalogue no. 43). According to the Society's annual report for 1913, the medal was issued in recognition of Morgan's work in support of art (ANS Proceedings , p.12). Struck in the exceedingly low relief which characterizes many of Fuchs's medals, the obverse depicts the facade of a building with four columns; from a niche in the center descends Art; the allegorical groups on either side represent painting and sculpture. On the reverse, flanked by allegorical figures representing Fame and Industry, is a plaque with the simple inscription JOHN/PIERPONT/MORGAN . The single gold specimen was presented to Mr. Morgan's family and resides in the famed library today; additional specimens in bronze and silver were, as usual, available for purchase.

For a number of years Fuchs divided his time between England and the United States . He had previously suffered verbal attacks as a foreigner when he was commissioned to design the new postage stamps for Edward VII . Now, even though a naturalized British subject, he suffered even more as a result of the anti-German feeling prevalent after the start of World War I. In this he was not alone; even George V was not exempt. H. G. Wells , who had urged the formation of Republican societies, referred to the Court as "alien and uninspiring." In his characteristic bluntness, the king remarked "I may be uninspiring but I'll be damned if I'm an alien!" ( Edwards p. 300). Fuchs decided to wait out the war in the United States . When, after the armistice he had written to a friend 3 to see if popular feelings had changed, he was advised to wait a year or so ( Fuchs p. 175). By that time, Fuchs had become engaged in another project and eventually gave up the idea of returning to England , 4 and was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1924 (Petition).

The end of World War I was marked not only by Fuchs's disappointment in not returning to England , but also by a commemorative plaquette issued by Cartier (catalogue no. 44). World War I changed the popular notion of war from that of a gentlemanly pursuit to an act of horror. This change is reflected in Fuchs's work; whereas the Boer War medal depicts war and its resultant deaths in sentimental terms, the World War I medal depicts it as something more graphic and personal.

Even though he was now living in a republic, Fuchs had not given up on his attachment to the upper class, producing medals for the Cartier and Heinz families, as well as a number of corporate pieces. One of these, for the H. J. Heinz Company, was struck in gold for presentation to those employees who had served the company twelve years (catalogue no. 46). First issued in 1922, over 500 medals were issued the first year ( The Numismatist , May 1922 p. 235).

In 1926 Fuchs produced two medals for the New York Times; one was for The National Oratorical Contest on the Constitution of the United States , open to all students in secondary schools (catalogue no. 55). The country was divided into seven regions, each under the sponsorship of a different newspaper. The region for the New York Times consisted of the Metropolitan area and parts of New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut . Students in each of 64 districts submitted essays on any of ten subjects related to the Constitution, with each school picking its own winner. The winners would then compete at the district, regional, national and international level. Although cash prizes were awarded to all winners at the district level and higher, medals were presented to the winners at each school.

According to the report on the oratorical contest, response to the contest was one of optimistic enthusiasm; of the 417 schools entered, only 275 produced actual candidates for competition. Nationally, an estimated 15,000 students participated. Although a number of suggestions were made that separate contests be held for boys and girls, the idea was rejected; to quote the report "But the holding of dual contests would be a tremendous, if not unworkable, proposition. Boys and girls nowadays are supposed to enjoy equality in all things - why not in competition?" (Report "Separating Boys and Girls").

The second Times medal, for the Intercollegiate Current Events Contest (catalogue no. 56), was instituted to "stimulate undergraduate interest in what is going on in the world outside college walls as such happenings are reflected in the printed news from day to day." The winners in each school were awarded a medal and $250, and the intercollegiate champion $500. Eleven schools participated in the first year of competition, increasing to 19 schools for the second year in 1927 ( New York Times , Nov. 7, 1926 p. 4).

Although he achieved a moderate success in the United States , Fuchs never attained here the social position or happiness he enjoyed in England . In fact, although the idea of writing his memoirs emerged, at the earliest, in 1924, Fuchs makes little mention of his work after 1914. There are, however, hints of his becoming less fashionable. 5 In addition, the times were changing, and Fuchs did not appreciate the new art, claiming that "In the present tendency in sculpture in America I notice a leaning of a group of gifted young sculptors towards Byzantinism, if I may so call it. I believe it is as great a waste of their energies, their time and their talents as it was for Thorvaldsen and Canova with their imitations of classicism" ( Fuchs p. 238).

On January 13, 1929 Emil Fuchs shot and killed himself in his studio and apartment at the Hotel des Artistes in New York City. He had been unsuccessfully operated on for stomach cancer the preceding June, and although the exact nature of his illness was kept from him, Fuchs knew he was dying. He left a note to his sister which read: Dear Renee : You can see with your own eyes that I am going down every day. You would not like to see me wasting away much more. As it is now, I am already a burden to myself and a burden to my surroundings. There are moments in life when we have to accept in humble resignation what is decreed to us. To live longer would only mean prolonging my agony. Fondest love. Your brother, EMIL

Upon his death, Fuchs was described by his secretary as "modest, sensitive. He would never consent to have his picture taken. He would not even sit for a portrait for any of his best artist friends. I only know of one picture of him—although there are probably others—and that is a snap shot I made of him myself" ( New York Times Jan. 14, 1929 p. 1).


All pieces illustrated are from the collections of the American Numismatic Society and that of a private collector, with the exception of catalogue no. 53, which is reproduced from Cartier 1921, pi. 103. ANS pieces with an accession number beginning in 1940.100 are from the bequest of Robert J. Eidlitz .



1. General Sir Arthur Ellis

Obv.: Bust right.

Rev.: AE monogram; to the left is a crescent, to the right a cross,

and below, the date 1898.

AR, AE 28mm.

IECM 31.

ANS 1940.100.627 .

General Sir Arthur Ellis was an equerry to King Edward VII . In 1898 Fuchs presented a bracelet containing this medal to the General's daughter as a wedding present. Ellis liked it so much that he ordered more to be struck and inserted in small gifts, such as ashtrays and ink stands, which he distributed to members of the royal family and royal household.


2. Sir Ernest Cassel

Obv.: Bust left.

Rev.: Bust of Maude Cassel right.

AR 22mm.

IECM 32 (obverse only); also see No. 9.

ANS 0000.999.48552 .


3. John S. and Winston S. Churchill

Obv.: Bust of John right .

Rev.: Bust of Winston left.

AE gilt 26mm.

IECM 15 ( John ); IECM 34 ( Winston ).

ANS 1940.100.2284 .


4. Anthony and Evelyn de Rothschild

Obv.: Bust of Anthony right.

Rev.: Bust of Evelyn left.

AR, AE 31mm.

IECM 1 ( Anthony ); IECM 8 ( Evelyn ).

ANS 1940.100.2287 .

5. Madame K

Obv .:?

Rev .:?

AR 33mm.

IECM 19.

This medal is known from a listing in the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals; no other details are known.



6. Edward , Prince of Wales

Obv.: Bust left.

Rev.: Autograph inscription: A.E. / Sept: 9/99.

AR 27mm.


ANS 0000.999.16991 .

Having received an ashtray containing the medal of General Sir Arthur Ellis as a Christmas present, the Prince of Wales went to Fuchs's studio in June 1899 to commission a similar medal of himself.


7. Edward , Prince of Wales

Obv.: Bust left (as No. 6).

Rev.: Prince of Wales plumes; 1899 below.

AE 27mm.

Private collection.

8. Princess Henry of Battenberg

Obv.: Bust left.

Rev.: Autograph facsimile: Beatrice.

AR 28mm.

IECM 25.

Beatrice was the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert . At the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals, a cast bronze version measuring 110 é 93 mm was exhibited (IECM 26).

9. Maude Ashley

Obv.: Bust right.

Rev.: Autograph inscription: Maudie / Xmas 99.

AE 23mm.


Private collection.

Maude Ashley was the daughter of Sir Ernest Cassel and the mother of Edwina Ashley , wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten .

10. Admiral Lord Charles Beresford

Obv.: Bust left.

Rev.: Standing female on hill overlooks harbor with ships; next to her a second female, seated, examines a plan.

AU, AR 32mm.

IECM 16.

Private collection.

11. Mrs. M. V.

Obv.: Bust nearly right.

Rev.: Autograph inscription: Héléne / 1899.

AE 32mm.

Private collection.

The subject of this medal is probably Helene Vacaresco ( Elena Vacarescu ) who was Maid of Honor to the Queen of Rumania , and Rumanian delegate to the League of Nations. She also authored several books on Rumanian folk songs, as well as other topics. ( Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., s.v. "Vacarescu.")

12. Count Seilern

Obv.: Bust right.

Rev.: —

AR 28mm.


13. Miss Woerrishofer

Obv.: Bust right.

Rev.: —

AE gilt 28mm.

IECM 29.

ANS 1940.100.2282 .


14. P.H./S.H.

Obv.: Bust of P.H. right.

Rev.: Bust of S.H. left.

AE gilt 29mm.

ANS 1940.100.2285 .

15. George Hartmann

Obv.: ?

Rev.: ?

AR 31mm.

IECM 10.

16. Robert Hartmann

Obv.: ?

Rev.: ?

AR 29mm.

IECM 30.



17. Queen Victoria

Obv.: Veiled bust left.

Rev.: Facsimile autograph and date 1900. Victoria RI. 1900.

AR, AR gilt, AE gilt 35mm; AR 27mm., AE 23mm.

Baxter 286; BHM 3659; IECM 29.

ANS 0000.999.37948 .

18. Entry of the Reign of Queen Victoria into the New Century

Obv.: Crowned bust left. VICTORIA / R I / 1900.

Rev.: Winged female standing on a globe, holding a tablet bearing the Queen's signature.

AR, AE gilt 76mm.

Baxter 285; BHM 3658; IECM 28.

ANS 0000.999.37938 .

19. Entry of the Reign of Queen Victoria into the New Century

Obv.: Similar to No. 18.

Rev.: Similar to No. 18.

AR 45mm.

The dies for this medal can be distinguished from those for the larger medal by the placement of the signature on the reverse.


20. Alexandra , Princess of Pity

Obv.: Bust left within a circular medallion surrounded by a square border decorated with floral sprays and bows. THE PRINCESS OF PITY 1900; Facsimile autograph at base of neck.

Rev.: Within a circular medallion are the standing figures of Faith, Hope and Charity; without is a border of floral sprays and bows.

AR 70 é 70mm; 40 é 40mm.

Baxter 287; BHM 3665; IECM 27.

Private collection.

Note: This also exists as a circular medallion without the ornate border.


21. Termination of the South African War

Obv.: Winged female figure attends a fallen soldier. TO THE / MEMORY OF THOSE / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR / QUEEN AND COUNTRY; on a plaque below: SOUTH AFRICAN / CAMPAIGN / 1899 1900.

Rev.: Bellona standing, sheaths her sword; in the background are troops marching towards ships in the harbor while in the distance is the rising sun inscribed PAX.

AR, AE 70mm; AR, AE, WM 53mm; AE, WM 45mm.

Issued by The Mint, Birmingham .

BHM 3679; IECM 33.

Also see No. 36.

Private collection.


22. Field Marshal Lord Roberts

Obv.: Facing bust.

Rev.: Winged Victory, carrying sword and flag, walking right.

AR, AE 23mm.

BHM 3731.

ANS 1940.100.792 .

Although Brown attributes this and the following medal to 1901, in which year Roberts was created an Earl and Knight of the Garter, I have placed it under 1900; the date on the medal itself. A number of pieces, such as the 1902 coronation medal, indicate a design which predates issuance; in such cases I have placed the medals in the year of the event noted. However, in cases such as the Roberts medals, where there is no clear indication of a specific event, I have used, when indicated, the date placed with the artist's signature.

23. Field Marshal Lord Roberts

Obv.: Facing bust.

Rev.: Fame, standing on the prow of a ship, blowing a trumpet.

AR, AE 31mm; AE 23mm.

BHM 3670; IECM 17.

ANS 1940.100.791 .

24. General Sir George White

Obv.: Bust right.

Rev.: Autograph inscription: HONISTE PARTA / GEORGE S / WHITE / 1900.

AR, AE 31mm.

BHM 3671; IECM 9.

Private collection.

25. Madame Ephrussi

Obv.: Bust left.


AE 23 é 32mm; AR 27mm.

IECM 18.

ANS 1940.100.2286 .

26. General Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Obv.: Facing bust of Baden-Powell wearing a hat.

Rev.: Lion on mountain overlooking a field; at its foot is a flag inscribed MAFE TO / BADEN / POWELL / THE HERO OF / MAFEKING / 1900.

AE 31mm.

27. Royal Smithfield Club

Obv.: Bust of Edward , Prince of Wales left. H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES . / PRESIDENT SMITHFIELD CLUB CENTENARY 1898.

Rev.: Bust of John Charles , Earl Spencer left. JOHN CHARLES EARL SPENCER PRESIDENT 1825 - 1845.

AU, AR 53mm.

Pinches p. 171.

Rev. by W.Wyon.

28. Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce


Rev.: Four line inscription within a wreath: SOCIETY / OF ARTS / MANUFACTURES / AND COMMERCE; below: FOUNDED 1754. INCORPORATED BY ROYAL CHARTER 1847.

AR, AE 55mm.

BHM 3687A; Pinches p. 174.


29. Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Obv.: Bust of Edward VII left. EDWARD VII R & I. PATRON . MDCCCCI.

Rev.: As No. 28.

AR, AE 55mm.

BHM 3714; Pinches p. 174.

Rev. by L. C. Wyon.

Private collection.


30. King Edward VII Medal for Art, Science and Music

Obv.: Conjoined crowned busts of Edward VII and Alexandra left within a border composed of laurel.


Rev.: Allegorical representations of Art, Science and Music rest on a fountain inscribed TRUTH AND BEAUTY, all within a border of laurel.


AR 35mm.

IECM 23.

ANS 0000.999.42598 .

31. Duke and Duchess of York Visit to the Colonies

Obv.: Conjoined busts of the Duke and Duchess left.

Rev.: A crowned anchor, superimposed on which is a rose within a garter.


AR, AE 27mm.

BHM 3722; IECM 24.

Private collection.

According to Fuchs, three hundred silver medals were struck, many of which were inserted in the presents distributed during the tour (Fuchs p.124). Brown (No. 3929) lists a medal bearing this obverse for the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to India in 1906; the reverse bears the inscription INDIA/1905-6 surrounded by T R H GEORGE PRINCE OF WALES & VICTORIA MARY PRINCESS OF WALES .



32. Coronation of King Edward VII

Obv.: Conjoined crowned busts of Edward VII and Alexandra left within a border or laurel surmounted by a crown.

Rev.: The Royal cypher within a border of laurel surmounted by a crown.

26 JUNE 1902.

AR, AE 30 é 32 mm, oval.

Wollaston 33.

ANS 0000.999.71335 .

The official medal awarded to those who took part in the coronation ceremony. Suspended from a dark blue ribbon with a central scarlet stripe and a thin white stripe at either end, 3,493 were struck in silver and 6,054 in bronze. The medals were struck by Elkington & Co. The design was influenced by a bronze medal issued to Napoleon's former soldiers.

33. Coronation of King Edward VII

Obv.: Conjoined crowned busts of Edward VII and Alexandra right within an ornamental border composed of a rose, thistle, shamrock and laurel.

Rev.: The royal cypher within an ornamental border composed of a rose, thistle, shamrock and laurel.

AR 34mm.

Struck by Elkington & Co., this medal is suspended from a dark blue ribbon with a thin white central stripe and a scarlet stripe at each end. It was awarded to Lord Mayors, Provincial Mayors, Scottish Provosts and other civic officials who took part in the coronation celebrations. Wollaston reports 353 medals were awarded to Mayors and 63 to Chairmen of County Councils (Wollaston p.86).


34. Coronation of King Edward VII

Obv.: Conjoined crowned busts of Edward VII and Alexandra right.


Rev.: Britannia seated with a shield displaying the royal arms and the date 26 June 1902; in the background is Westminster Abbey.

AU, AR, AE 64mm; AU, AR, AE, gilt WM 38mm; AU, AR, gilt AE, AE, WM 32mm; AR, AE 20mm.

BHM 3772; Baxter 288; IECM 4.

ANS 0000.999.42553 .

This medal was extremely popular, with 950,000 having been sold at the time the coronation was postponed due to the King having been stricken with an attack of appendicitis. As a result, orders for 40,000 were cancelled. The 64mm medal is also seen with the date of the actual coronation, 9 August 1902. The obverse was paired with many local reverse dies, and the large number of medals ordered presumably includes these.

35. St. John's Ambulance Brigade Medal for South Africa , 1899-1902

Obv.: Bust of Edward VII left.


Rev.: A shield bearing the cross of St. John having, in alternate quarters, a lion or unicorn. Above: SOUTH AFRICA 1899 1902; on a ribbon below: PRO FIDE PRO UTILITATE HOMINUM.


AE 38mm.

Joslin 129.

Awarded to members of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade who saw service in the Boer War, 1899-1902; 1,871 were issued.

36. Termination of the South African War

Obv.: Similar to No. 21.

Rev.: Similar to No. 21.

AU, AR, AE 70mm.

BHM 3876.

Issued by Elkington.

ANS 1940.100.2290 .

This medal differs from No. 22 in that the obverse has the dates 1899 1902, and the QUEEN AND COUNTRY has been replaced by KING AND COUNTRY.



37. Earl Grey , Governor General of Canada

Obv.: Conjoined busts of Earl and Countess Grey .


Rev.: Coat of Arms of Earl Grey .


AU, AR, AE 51mm.

Clowery 109; Marqusee 183; Pinches p.20.

Albert Henry George , Earl Grey , was Governor General of Canada 1904-1911. According to Freeman Clowery (Medals of the Governors General of Canada , 1981) medals were struck at both The Mint , Birmingham and Jacques Parcy , France ; approximate mintage figures are 35 gold, 385 silver and 490 bronze.


38. Motor Yacht Club of England

Obv.: Seated Female looking at an automobile in the distance.


Rev.: Britannia, seated, holds a tablet.


AR 55mm; AE 23mm.

IECM 22.


39. Hispanic Society of America Membership Medal

Obv.: Two seated females representing art and literature on either side of a plaque inscribed with the Society's seal and the inscription THE / HISPANIC / SOCIETY / OF / AMERICA ; in the background is the rising sun.

Rev.: Seated female instructs youth by pointing to a globe; in the background is the Statue of Liberty.

AR, AE 76mm.

Baxter 289; IECM 12; Marqusee 184.

ANS 1940.100.62 .

At the institution of this medal, the Society consisted of up to 100 members drawn from the corresponding members who may not exceed 300. The medal was awarded from November 1906 to 1924 in silver to members and in bronze to corresponding members (HSA p.38).



40. Hispanic Society of America Medal of Arts and Literature

Obv.: Inspiration, seated, surrounded by eight female figures representing the arts.


Rev.: Winged female seated on a sarcophagus kisses a standing female.


AR, AE, silvered AE 101mm.


Baxter 290; IECM 11.

ANS 1943.30.1 .

Awarded since 1907 to "men and women distinguished in the field of Hispanic art, history, or literature" (HSA p. 38). Early issues were struck by Tiffany & Co., while later ones by Medallic Art Co. The single silvered bronze specimen examined was struck by another mint, probably Arthus-Bertand in Paris.



41. American Numismatic Society Archer Milton Huntington Medal

Obv.: Two male figures standing on either side of a coin press; a third is seated in front examining a coin..


Rev.: A standing female holds a scroll upon which is a representation of the Society's building and the inscription IN COMMEMORATION / OF THE / FIFTIETH / ANNIVERSARY / OF THE / AMERICAN / NUMISMATIC SOCIETY; to the left is the date 1858 and to the right 1908. Above is the legend THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY.

AR, AE 68mm.

Baxter 291; IECM 3; Marqusee 182.

ANS 0000.999.4326 .

Originally struck to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the American Numismatic Society and to honor Archer Milton Huntington , one gold medal was presented to Huntington; eleven silver and 25 bronze medals were struck by Whitehead and Hoag. Additional bronze medals were struck and presented to contributors to the Exhibition of United States and Colonial Coins, January 17 to February 18, 1914, and the Exhibition of March 26 to May 15, 1914. In addition, since 1918, a silver specimen has been awarded to individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement in numismatic scholarship. Later medals were struck by the Medallic Art Company.



42. Hudson-Fulton Celebration

Obv.: Henry Hudson and sailors on the Half-Moon watch the hoisting of a heavy article from outside the ship.


Rev.: Three seated female figures representing Steam Navigation, History and Commerce; above is a portrait of Robert Fulton . In the background are views of New York in 1807 and 1909. ROBERT FULTON / 1765 1815 / FIRST USE OF STEAM NAVIGATION / ON THE HUDSON RIVER / 1807.

AR, AE 101mm; AU, AR, gilt AE 76mm; AR, AE 64mm; AR, AL 51mm; AR, AE, silvered hard metal 38mm; AR, silvered hard metal 32mm.

Baxter 99; IECM 14; Marqusee 186.

ANS 0000.999.4357 .

The 76 mm medals were issued by the American Numismatic Society. Two gold medals were struck and presented to the presidents of the American Numismatic Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An additional eight medals were struck in virgin Alaskan gold by Tiffany & Co. for presentation to the heads of nations represented by warships at the Hudson—Fulton celebration, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands , Germany , France , Italy , Mexico , and the Argentine Republic; the edge of each was engraved "To the Government of (name of Government) from the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission, September 25 - October 9, 1909" (Hall 1112). The design was adopted by the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Committee for the official medal; a total of 124,698 medals were issued. Apart from the eight gold presentation medals, all were struck by Whitehead & Hoag . The accompanying chart ( fig. 7 : Hall p. 81) indicates the sizes, compositions and uses of each. The single 76mm gilt bronze specimen known to the writer is marked SAMPLE BRONZE on the edge.

Officially, there is no obverse or reverse. According to Edward D. Adams "By reason of the importance and distinctive character of each design, neither supplementing the other, and because the events commemorated occurred two hundred years apart, the faces of the medal do not properly come under the customary designation of obverse and reverse. There is no reverse to describe or illustrate the obverse; each side is complete by itself. Chronologically the Hudson side would be the obverse and the Fulton side the reverse. Practically this technical relation will change according to the artistic tastes or sympathies of the observer. In order to facilitate the exhibition and examination of each side, from time to time, as may be desired, some of the cases prepared by the Commission for the presentation examples have been made to hang or stand, so that the medal may be reversed in position" (Hall p. 82).


fig. 7



43. John Pierpont Morgan Memorial Medal

Obv.: Facade of a building with four columns; from a niche in the center descends Art. To the left is a group representing Painting while to the right, Sculpture.

Rev.: Figures representing Fame and Industry on either side of a tablet inscribed JOHN /PIERPONT/MORGAN.

AU, AR, AE 90x73mm.

Baxter 292; Marqusee 188.

ANS 0000.999.4394 .

A single gold medal was struck and presented to Mr. Morgan's family; it now resides in the Morgan Library. An additional 100 silver and 200 bronze medals were struck by Whitehead & Hoag . The medal was issued by the American Numismatic Society in recognition of Mr. Morgan's support of the arts. Several unadopted patterns with varying inscriptions are known to exist.



44. Peace Treaty Commemorative

Obv.: A nude female, kneeling, looks upward; in the background a man strikes the Liberty Bell while a crowd looks on. PEACE.

Rev.: Two nude males fighting.


AU, AR, AE 46 é 70mm.

Marqusee 190.

Private collection.

Issued by Cartier, the bronze medals were priced at $10. and the silver at $20. Fuchs had previously submitted a design to the American Numismatic Society for its Peace medal. The Society eventually awarded the commission to Chester Beach. Although there is no documentation to support this theory, it is possible that this medal reflects that rejected design.


45. Coolidge Tablet

Obv.: A triptych; in the center panel is a 23 line inscription beneath a lyre. In the left panel is a chamber quintet, while in the right, a standing woman holding a sheet of paper; seated before her to the left is a woman, and to the right a woman and child.

Rev.: —


AE 208 é 122 mm (reduction).



46. H. J. Heinz Company Medal

Obv.: Portrait of H. J. Heinz right.


Rev.: A tablet, suitable for engraving, within a decorative border.


AU 35mm.

Private collection.

First issued in 1922, this medal, struck by the Medallic Art Co., was awarded in 14K gold to those employees who served the company for 12 years. In its first year, more that 500 were issued. ("Recent Medals by the Medallic Art Company," The Numismatist, 35, 5 [May, 1922], p. 235).

47. Howard J. Heinz

Obv.: Bust of Heinz , right.


AE 32mm.

This undated, uniface medal bears a bust similar to that on the company medal; Heinz died in 1919. ( The New York Times , May 15, 1919). This medal probably dates from the time of the previous medal.

48. Howard Heinz

This and the following two medals are listed among those exhibited in the 1923 National Sculpture Society catalogue; no other information is known. It is presumed that these were made at about the same time as the Heinz Company medal. Howard Heinz was the son of H. J. Heinz .

49. Jack Heinz


50. Rust Heinz


51. Mme. Pierre Cartier

Obv.: Bust right.


AE, cast.

This medal, which dates to ca. 1922 was listed in the 1923 National Sculpture Society Exhibition Catalogue, as was the following medal.

52. Marion Cartier

Obv.: Bust left.


AE, cast.

53. Robert W. Hunt Medal

Obv.: Bust of Hunt within a medallion, left; on either side a female figure.


Rev.: Workman standing before machinery.

AR 100 é 70; 75 é 52mm.

Baxter 294; Marqusee 189.

ANS 1940.100.485 .

The Robert W. Hunt award was established in 1920 by Hunt's partners and employees to commemorate his contributions to the steel industry. Originally awarded by the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, it is now administered by the Iron and Steel Society.


54. Mother and Child

Obv.: Mother holding a child.


Iron 260 é 196mm.

ANS 0000.999.48555 .



55. National Oratorical Contest

Obv.: A seated female tying a fasces; in the background is a map of North America.


Rev.: Seven line inscription within a plaque with space for the engraving of recipient's name; above are medallions bearing portraits of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington , while below is Independence Hall.


AE 45 mm., looped for suspension.

Private collection.


56. Intercollegiate Current Events

Obv.: Female figure holding a lamp over her head, standing between globes showing the eastern and western hemispheres.


Rev.: Medallion bearing a seven line inscription with a cartouche to engrave the name of the recipient; on wither side are representations of agriculture and industry.


AR, AE 89 é 61 mm.

Baxter 293.

ANS 1940.100.64 .


57. International Philatelic Exhibition

Obv.: America , descending steps leading from the Capitol; on either side are figures representing the nations of the world.

Rev.: View of New York City.


AR, AE 86 é 54mm; rectangular with arched top.

Private collection.



58. Audrey Hollander / Noel Hollander

Obv.: Bust of Audrey , right.


Rev.: Bust of Noel , left.


AR gilt, AE 32mm.

Private collection.

This was struck by the Medallic Art Company, probably in 1921.


59. Liston L. Lewis

Obv.: Standing female holding a plaque inscribed LEX; on either side sits a female figure.


Silvered AE (uniface) 115 é 77mm.

ANS 0000.999.48553 .

This plaque was inserted in the base of a bust of Lewis .

60. Medal For Devastated France

Although Fuchs included a sketch for this medal in his 1921 Cartier Exhibition, no indication of a struck medal has been noted.


I would like to thank the following people for their suggestions and assistance: Paul Bosco , Dr. Marcus Burke of the Hispanic Society of America , Christopher Eimer , F. Gordon Frost , Anne Holbach of Cartier , Dr. John Kleeberg of the American Numismatic Society, Lawrence G. Kuhn of the Iron and Steel Society, Mary McCaffery of the New York Times Archives, Roslyn Miller , Robert Mueller , Christine Nelson of the Pierpont Morgan Library , Normand Pepin , Joel Rosenkranz , and Dr. Alan Stahl of the American Numismatic Society.

I would also like to thank John Daniels and Lance Rogers for keeping my computer working.

End Notes

South African War medal.
April 6, 1908.
Lulu (Lewis) Harcourt.
The death of Lewis Harcourt and the expiration of his lease on his studio were critical factors in this decision (Fuchs p. 177).
"After my return to the United States I felt that the time had come when I should get away as much as possible from commissions" (Fuchs p. 226).

List of References

Adelson 1958 . Howard L. Adelson , The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1958. New York .
ANS Proceedings 1914 . The American Numismatic Society, Proceedings of the Fifiy-Sixth Annual Meeting. New York .
Attwood 1992 . Philip Attwood , Artistic Circles; The Medal in Britain 1880-1918. London .
Baxter 1987 . Barbara A. Baxter , ed., The Beaux-Arts Medal in America . New York ,.
Belden 1915 . Bauman L. Belden , ed., Medals and Publications of the American Numismatic Society. New York .
BHM. Lawrence Brown , British Historical Medals, 3 vols. London , 1987-95 .
Cartier . Exhibit by Cartier firm: The Works of Emil Fuchs. New York , 1921 .
Clowery 1981 . Freeman Clowery , Medals of the Governors General of Canada. Sherbrooke .
Edwards 1984 . Anne Edwards , Matriarch; Queen Mary and the House of Windsor. New York .
Fuchs 1925 . Emil Fuchs , With Pencil, Brush and Chisel; The Life of an Artist. New York .
Hall 1910 . Edward Hagaman Hall , The Hudson-Fulton Celebration , 1909 . Albany .
HSA 1954 . Hispanic Society of America , A History of the Hispanic Society of America Museum and Library, 1904-1954. New York .
IECM. Agnes Baldwin [Brett], ed., Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals, The American Numismatic Society, March 1910, rev. ed. New York , 1911 .
Jones 1985 . Mark Jones , Emil Fuchs in England . The Medal, 6. (Spring): 23-29.
Joslin 1988 . E. C. Joslin , et al., eds., British Battles and Medals. London .
Marqusee 1995 . Susan Luftschein , ed., One Hundred Years of American Medallic Art, 1845-1945; The John F. Marqusee Collection. Ithaca .
National Sculpture Society. National Sculpture Society, Exhibition of American Sculpture. 1923 .
Petition. Petition for Naturalization, District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York , 1924 .
Pinches 1987 . John Harvey Pinches , Medals by John Pinches. London .
Report. Report: National Oratorical Contest Conducted by the New York Times, January 24 to May 14, 1926 . Copy of typescript obtained from the New York Times Archives.
Wollaston 1978 . Henry Wollaston , British Official Medals for Coronations and Jubilees. Long Eaton nr. Nottingham .

Charles De Kay and the Circle of Friends of the Medallion: Aesthetic Taste in America

Susan Luftschein

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

The turn of the twentieth century in the United States saw an unprecedented rise of interest in medallic art. One of the most intriguing manifestations of this interest was the formation of a group called the Circle of Friends of the Medallion, organized by Charles De Kay and Robert Hewitt Jr. in 1909. The Circle was an organization with one goal in mind: to support the production and appreciation of medallic art. Or in the words of Charles De Kay, "It has been the aim of the founders of this little circle to call the attention of American sculptors and art amateurs to sculpture in the miniature, with the hope that in the course of time improvements will be made in our coinage and our monuments" (De Kay). The background of the Circle has been detailed before; I intend to concentrate on the role of Charles De Kay in its founding, and more importantly, its character as regards the dissemination of aesthetic taste in the United States during the early years of the twentieth century.

To briefly summarize the history of the Circle: Robert Hewitt , real estate speculator, long-time numismatist, and one of the founders of the American Numismatic Society, came up with the idea of issuing a series of medals which probably developed as a result of his travels to Europe and from the success of his private issuance of a Lincoln commemorative medal bound in a book. In Europe he was able to see the products of two societies, the Société des Amis de la Medaille Franéaise in Paris , and the Société Hollandaise Beige des Amis de la Medaille d'Art in Brussels, both of which issued medals in this fashion. At some point, and the details are sketchy, Hewitt and De Kay came together, and began working on a project that would culminate in the Circle. De Kay was the perfect person to work with Hewitt . He was very well known in New York literary and cultural circles. He was a graduate of Yale, wrote poetry, served as the literary and art critic for the New York Times from 1877 to 1894, and had a second career as a frequenter and founder of clubs. Among those he was influential in founding were the Author's Club in 1881, the Fencers' Club in 1888, the National Sculpture Society in 1893, and the National Arts Club in 1898. While Hewitt provided the funds for the organization, De Kay was responsible for publicity, and authored most of the texts that accompanied each issue. He provided the contacts and the organizational know-how to launch the fledgling Circle.

De Kay and Hewitt envisioned a charter membership of several hundred individuals interested in small sculpture and medallic art. It was intended that the membership would receive medals and perhaps little bas-reliefs or statuettes. An early announcement of the Circle stated, "Such small portable works for the library and office do more than monuments to give people a feel for sculpture and form the habit of looking at art works with understanding and appreciation" ( Art News 1910). The name for the organization was chosen to reflect the hope that "from a modest beginning it may extend its influence in all directions, like the widening circle a stone makes when it plumps into still water" (De Kay 1913). De Kay wrote of the Circle at the time of the issuance of Isidor Konti's medal in honor of the Home, Little organizations of this kind, of which the public rarely hears, perform a serious work in the encouragement of art. Though it may be true that the great artists of the Renaissance flourished principally by reason of the support received from munificent patrons—aristocrats of Church and State—in our different times it is very appropriate that the individual patron should be partly relieved by an organization of patrons working for the best interests of art, with the wisdom which mutual council gives (De Kay).


The first medal was issued in September 1909, to coincide with the Hudson-Fulton Celebration; the second appeared in May 1910. In total, 12 medals were issued, approximately two per year (see Appendix). 1 The works were distributed to the membership of the Circle, who paid ten dollars a year in dues, and received their medals bound in a book with accompanying text written, for the most part, by De Kay . 2 By April 1910, the charter membership had reached 448, and included individuals from a wide variety of cultural and social spheres. Among its distinguished members were Alexander Graham Bell, inventor; Archer Milton Huntington , philanthropist; Louis Comfort Tiffany , artist and designer; Leonard Forrer , numismatist; R. Tait McKenzie , sculptor; and four of the artists who created medals for the circle, to name just a few.


The process of selecting a design for issuance in medallic form was left in the hands of the Circle's Art Committee. The Committee would choose a subject, and then ask a particular sculptor to work up a design. If that sculptor saw something in the subject, he would make a sketch; if not, he would come up with his own subject and design. As De Kay wrote, "The object is to get the best a man has in him" (De Kay 1913). The choice of sculptors was by commission, not by competition.

De Kay's motives in co-founding the Circle were many and varied. He was concerned with the role of artists in contemporary American society, the role of art in the same, the aesthetic education of the public, and the furtherance of an appreciation of sculpture, specifically in the form of medallic art. In one of the many articles he authored, De Kay discussed the role of artists in contemporary society. The problem for our artists consists in making their products popular in the higher sense, not vulgarly popular, but adapted to the present needs of their fellow-countrymen. Portraits and mural paintings ordered by municipality or private citizen meet this problem so far as they go. But their scope is very limited....[T]he ordinary well-to-do citizen is far from feeling the need of sculpture and painting as an integral part of the surroundings of his home. One reason for this fact is the aloofness of painters and sculptors from the daily life of the communities in which they live....Our artists should realize the situation and meet it. For one thing they should react against their very unfortunate but very natural ten- dency to segregate themselves into small circles, or retire entirely to themselves in their studios. They should remember that, no matter what particular phrase or school of art they admire and try to work in, there is a larger aspect of the problem in which these things sink to the second plane ( De Kay 1900a, 23).

In other words, De Kay believed artists must learn to embrace other disciplines/professions and their practitioners. Doing so would enable them to stay in touch with the tastes of their audience, thereby remaining viable. By creating works like medals to be distributed to a wide audience, sculptors would literally be making themselves more relevant to contemporary American society.

De Kay realized that there were two sides to this discussion. He also believed that lay people needed to become involved in aesthetic appreciation. Therefore, to explain his interest in the founding of an organization like the Circle, De Kay wrote, Although the issuing of medals has increased greatly in this country in recent years, sculptors feel the need of a wider education of the public in that branch of their art. Such organizations as the Circle of Friends of the Medallion and the Numismatic Society, while their medals appeal especially to the artist and the collector, also hope to foster a proper interest and appreciation among laymen. For a collection of medallions and other small bas-reliefs is apt to promote a taste for and an understanding of sculpture ( De Kay ).

In publication after publication De Kay tried to impress upon numismatists the aesthetic value of their treasured objects. In order to fully appreciate medals, their clubs and societies should look at them from the viewpoint of the artist. To illustrate the importance of an aesthetic appreciation of medals, he made pointed references to the societies in Paris, Brussels and Vienna as precursors to the Circle. What would make the Circle different however, was the mounting of the medals in a book, which not only made the works easier to forward to the membership, but was also done for the convenience of those without a wall-case or other piece of furniture designed for displaying medals.

The role of medallic art in daily life was a topic that occupied much of De Kay's time. He wrote, It is indeed remarkable what a hold small sculpture—whether in the round or in high relief or in plaque and medal—has taken on modern life.... Perhaps the growth of great cities has something to do with [the increase of interest in small works]. Certainly it has become more and more costly to own city homes which have sufficient wall space for large paintings....But even small easel pictures find scant wall accommodation in the homes of the cliff-dwellers' of New York . There is still room, however, for a fine medallion or medal, a bit of animal bronze, or a figurine for the mantel or table ( De Kay 1909, 25).

Obviously, De Kay saw medallic art, in which he had a vested interest, as a way of introducing art into the home. This is just another example from De Kay's writings that illustrate his many motives for co-founding the Circle.

As part of his role within the Circle, De Kay authored many articles publicizing the medals. One of the more interesting was published in the Numismatist in 1913. De Kay offered these words: [The] seven pieces [issued so far] are truly works of fine art wrought by our own sculptors, each working according to his own method. The result is no stereotyped series, but in every instance the expression of a separate individual....There is no other society like the Circle which devotes itself to the spreading of a love of sculpture in relief among amateurs and stimulates artists to work in this charming branch ( De Kay 1913a, 136).

In the same spirit of publicity De Kay also published articles on Isidor Konti and Sigurd Neandross , two of the medalists commissioned by the Circle. Konti's medal, issued in 1910, was described by De Kay as striking the fancy of connoisseurs. "Konti's medal has made a very real appeal....[T]hough the subject lends itself easily to dramatic treatment, the sculptor...has been particularly fortunate in the simplicity and sincerity of his work" ( De Kay ). Sigurd Neandross , who designed the 8th issue in 1913, was a sculptor whom De Kay greatly admired. "He belongs to the rarer kind of sculptor who makes one think....He is a sculptor with temperament who goes his own way, endeavoring to express lovely and innocent and poetic feelings to the best of his ability through his chosen art" ( De Kay 1914, xxii.).

He also discussed some of the other medals in articles devoted to such topics as "fine art in medals." Of the power of John Mowbray-Clarke's Saint Brendan to appeal to the public he wrote, "The sculptor...has imagined the doughty Saint as a man better suited to steer a ship and swing a spear than to expound the Christian faith to men and women of peace." Of Victor David Brenner's Motherhood medal he had this to say: "By bringing out the Motherhood medal the Circle seems to wish to accentuate the policy of departing now and again from the custom of reserving medals and plaques as honors for individuals. It is well to remember that sculpture on a small scale has a wider scope than merely portraiture or the commemoration of events in history" ( De Kay 1911,21). The first medal issued by the Circle was obviously dear to De Kay's heart, and he wrote of it, John Flanagan's Hudson-Fulton medal, "Here we find, in the delicate modeling of Fulton's profile, the contrast between Elizabethan ruff and Georgian jabot , the dignity given to the lettering; how differently from a painter a sculptor will treat a theme" ( De Kay 1909, 25). This last comment was directed at the official medal of the Celebration, by Emil Fuchs . De Kay does not seem to have approved of Fuchs's medal; he wrote, the official is pictorial and popular, while the Circle's will appeal to those who have learned by study to appreciate the sculpturesque side of such small works of art. Viewed from the sculptor's camp, the modelling of the Fuchs medal is soft and evasive in form, while the Flanagan attacks the problem and carries it out to the best of the sculptor's ability. The painter tries skillfully to evade the difficulty of human figures and draperies, and enlists interest in the general picture; the sculptor, while he does not solve these problems at all points in the very best way, does not avoid the issue, but meets them as they rise ( De Kay 1909, 25). De Kay's comments on the Circle's medals reveal a not unexpected bias in their favor; at the same time, however, they express a heartfelt belief in the relevance of the Circle and its mission.

Of interest is how De Kay came to be so actively involved with the Circle. As mentioned, De Kay was a strong force in the organization of a number of institutions in New York in the late years of the nineteenth century. Two of these organizations, the National Sculpture Society and the National Arts Club, figure prominently in this investigation.

The National Sculpture Society, of which almost all of the Circle's medalists were members, was conceived as a counterpart to the specialized artists' clubs and societies that set exhibitions as their priority, and as a professional society that could control quality and set standards. Because of its priorities, personalities, and relationships with other organizations, it relied on the involvement of non-sculptors. De Kay was instrumental in convincing sculptor Frederic Ruckstull help him develop the idea for the Society after hearing of an "altercation" over the poor placement of Ruckstull's works at a Society of American Artists exhibition. Ruckstull had persuaded De Kay that sculpture shown with painting would never receive the kind of installation it deserved. In turn, De Kay became convinced that a sculpture society that held its own exhibitions would solve these kinds of problems, and convinced Ruckstull to help him organize it. In order to recruit members they needed to overcome the sense of individualism felt by American sculptors. De Kay and Ruckstull were afraid that the idea of a society devoted exclusively to sculpture would sound too commercial and nonprofessional and it would be impossible to get sculptors to join. After securing the cooperation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens , Olin Levi Warner and John Quincy Adams Ward, De Kay became the primary force behind the organizational drive. He sent invitations to prospective members, inviting them to an organizational meeting at the home of his brother-in-law and Century editor Richard Watson Gilder . As a result of his efforts, the Society became a reality on May 30, 1893. 3 Of primary interest is the fact that De Kay was instrumental in pushing lay participation. As Michelle Bogart has pointed out, "An American sculpture society could not be like those of Europe ; it had to be in keeping with the distinctive social and political framework of a democratic republic to advance truly national forms of artistic expression" (Bogart 1989, 53). The American artists' organizations that were forming during these years were closing the gap between art and the larger public, both well-to-do and working class. This broad public was, in De Kay's view, the American audience for art. A society like the NSS, with lay members who were asked to share the burden of "keeping their society alive" better suited, in De Kay's view, the social and political ideas of Americans. These lay people would act as the backing for the artists, drumming up support, acting as spokesmen. In defending the NSS De Kay wrote, "What country other than ours has arrived at any period at such a pitch of the cultivation and subdivision in the cultivation of the fine arts as to establish a separate society for sculptors, and to give independent exhibitions of sculpture without the aid of painting or some other of the more popular arts?...We are better off as we are than France or Germany , and the proof is that the biennial exhibitions of the National Sculpture Society surpass anything the old countries have to show" (De Kay 1898, 140). The presence of laymen within the Society was of primary importance to De Kay . He wrote, "With a wider and deeper feeling for the arts, the world of amateurs will take more interest in bronzes for the decoration of houses within and without....To aid the spread of this taste is one of the objects of the National Sculpture Society, which seeks to encourage the making of figurines and small groups that come within the means of people of moderate fortune...." ( De Kay 1895, 112).

The second, and more relevant, organization which De Kay was instrumental in founding was the National Arts Club. More relevant because, for its entire existence, the Circle was headquartered at the Club and, in fact, the Club was designed with artists and lay people equally in mind. The Club was conceived in a conversation between De Kay and John DeWitt Warner , President of the Reform Club of New York , after a February 1898 meeting of the National Sculpture Society, of which they were both members. De Kay , while serving as the American Consul-General in Berlin from 1894 to 1897, had noted the eagerness of European governments to encourage, through exhibitions, the application of art to industry in order to enable them to keep in touch with movements in other countries. By June of 1898 the National Arts Club was incorporated.

The United States was, in the late years of the nineteenth century, a recent entry into the arena of the application of art to industry. No American museums were devoted to it, there were no societies to look after the interests of those practicing it. The National Arts Club was founded specifically to remedy this situation. The mission of the Club was threefold: first, to champion applied and decorative arts; second, to create an organization that crossed existing arts organizational boundaries; and third, to encourage the participation of lay people in the arts community. One observer wrote, There are abundant purposes a truly National Arts Club might cherish, abundant aims it might set before it. There is the encouragement of industries on which art has been expended, leaving the fine arts to the established societies and clubs. There is the giving of exhibitions of special work, at which employers of skilled labor could see which designers and workers are inventive and talented, and artists and art students pick up suggestions for bread-winning. There is the binding together with the bonds of a common interest the art lovers of the whole country, enabling men and women from San Francisco and New Orleans when visiting New York to find themselves in congenial atmosphere, if they are amateurs themselves, and giving manufacturers of the most varied sort ideas how to handle their products so as to surpass their rivals abroad ( Critic 1899, 350-351).

The National Arts Club was founded in an effort to bring the layman in touch with the connoisseur, and the artist and craftsman with both. A 1909 article in the Craftsman discussing the Club cited Victor David Brenner as an example of the ideal member. "Ever enthusiastic, sincere, and a loyal and hard worker, his influence is widely felt as something constructive and in accord with the Club's ideals. On the walls of the club rooms hangs a permanent exhibition of Brenner's work, which cannot but have an uplifting influence upon medallic art in this country" (Teall 1909, 613). We can extrapolate this praise of the influence of Brenner's work to those lay people who visited the Club and could not help but see the artist's work so prominently displayed. The singling out of Brenner also indicates the importance of medallic art within the Club. We can only credit De Kay with fostering this atmosphere.

The role of the artist within the larger artistic community, and the Circle of Friends, was a problem that De Kay often wrote about. The lack of recognition of American artists, caused by their self-segregation, was the cause, De Kay believed, for our disadvantageous position when compared to Europe . "The prestige of European art is against us;...the American artist and artisan must exert themselves more than their European brothers" ( De Kay 1900, 85). And yet the fact that art was not so familiar in the United States gave Americans an advantage, a greater freedom of mind from prejudice and tradition. "In other words, the United States should be a very open field for experiments in the fine arts, and especially in the industrial, because the innovator here should find less of tradition, less of prejudice to encounter" ( De Kay 1900, 85). De Kay saw the trend in Europe toward centralization of the arts, specifically the role European governments played; the situation in this country, however, was different. There was just as much activity to be found in Chicago , Boston , St. Louis , etc. as in New York . Annual exhibitions and exhibition organizations were, De Kay believed, a hindrance because they tended to substitute official and routine art for the natural expression of a nation. Also, one large exhibit, like those held by the Royal Academy in London , or even the National Academy of Design in New York , compelled the formation of huge exhibitions which defeated their own object by their very size. Traditional European shows catered to a specific audience, one very unlike that to be found in the United States. "What we are after in the United States is to close the gap between art and the great body of people, not merely the wealthy, or the well-to-do, but the anxious, hard-working public" ( De Kay 1900, 89). But art would never be healthy here until the public recognized artists the way it did lawyers and merchants. "What we should do is to look about for some kind of an organization that exactly fits our ideas, social and political, and appeals to the sentiments and habits of thought of our own people, and avoids any clash with the opinions of the public at large, in so far as no artistic principle is involved and the concession can be made with dignity" ( De Kay 1900, 90). The success of the NSS could be found in its appeal, from the start, to the lay public. The National Arts Club was the next step. "It shows that Americans are realizing very keenly the honor which great artists confer upon the country, and their duty in assisting the development of the national arts on the broadest lines" ( De Kay 1900, 95).

By headquartering the Circle within the National Arts Club, De Kay was declaring not only the validity of medallic art, but also the relationship between medallic art, as the representative of the "fine" arts, and applied art. De Kay was quoted by the Times as saying, "It is for the art lovers of this great city to call attention to the neglect of these forms of art which, for reasons that I need not specify, are ranked by so many people lower than what are called sometimes, the pure arts, such as easel painting and sculpture, and I maintain that even those who strenuously deny that they are art lovers, or know anything about art, should feel it their duty to help art lovers to correct this neglect because it has become a matter of patriotism" (NYT 1899, 5).

No understanding of the impact of the Circle of Friends of the Medallion can be gained without thoroughly examining De Kay's general aesthetic attitudes, available to us, fortunately, through the numerous articles published by De Kay on both non-medallic and medallic art.

To appreciate what De Kay has to say about medallic art and the sculptors who practice it, we must look briefly at his comments on artists in general. He believed, and rightly so, that artists in the United States did not hold the position in society that they should. "So little weight do artists...carry in the general estimation that it is very common to see long accounts in the papers of monuments and wall paintings opened for the first time to public view without a mention of the men who designed them" ( De Kay 1900a). The social status of artists was lower in the United States than in Europe because they were neglected and overlooked. Only a small segment of the population had the aesthetic knowledge to appreciate and understand the output of Americas artists. "...Painting and sculpture, like music, must be enjoyed for their own sake, on their own merits, after considerable acquaintance with the best ancient and modern examples and with the distinct perception that they are things by themselves, have a language of their own, and to be truly relished must have from their admirers just as true and faithful service as lovers of other arts give to their special affection...." ( De Kay 1900a).

The example of the Circle of Friends of the Medallion in regards to De Kay's ideas about organization among artists is instructive. The choice of sculptors who were almost primarily known as medalists, and the awarding of, with one exception, only one commission to each artist, was a way of creating variety, of introducing a large number of practitioners to a wide audience. By commissioning so many different sculptors, the Circle was attempting to elevate the role of the sculptor within American culture. The choice of subjects also serves the same purpose. The subjects of the Circle's medals ran the gamut from commemorations of historic events ( Mowbray-Clarke's Centennial of American and British peace) to portraits of relatively obscure historical figures ( Louis Potter's Abdul Baha ) to difficult to classify subjects ( Brenner's medal celebrating Motherhood.)

The social set which De Kay frequented was hinged around his brother-in-law, Richard Watson Gilder . For this group, art served an indispensable purpose in a materialistic age. It had to be beautiful, in "good taste," and exist independent of any moral message. The style favored by Gilder, De Kay and their circle was a realism tempered by idealism, a not uncommon preference of the period. In an 1890 article on Albert Pinkham Ryder, an artist whose work fit their description perfectly, De Kay wrote, "But perhaps American art, like American mechanics, literature, politics, has a mission of its own. Perhaps it may teach the great lesson in the Fine Arts which the United States is teaching in many other fields — individuality, freedom, rejection of authority of any one school." 4 We can easily apply this attitude toward art to the campaign De Kay successfully waged to incorporate art more fully into American life, of which the Circle was the ultimate expression.

De Kay's attitude toward medals was gleaned from a number of sources; one of the more interesting was his interest in quality over quantity. In writing about the sculpture for the new Appellate Courthouse in New York City De Kay stated, "Size alone does not give importance; on the contrary, by enlarging a figure its effect is sometimes lessened" ( De Kay 1901, 1797). The same sentiment about the disparity between size and quality appeared in an article on miniature painting published in 1901. How many of us stop to remember that 'miniature' the word has nothing to do with size in its original meaning?...[T]his matter of size has always acted as a slur on the esteem in which miniatures have been held, very much as the material in which a work of art is fashioned has always affected men's estimate of the artistic quality belonging to a given object. It is hard for the average man to understand that a medal in bronze may have higher artistic quality than the same medal cast in gold, or a carving in wood surpass in beauty the same object in ivory ( De Kay 1901a, 333).

It is interesting that De Kay would make pointed reference to medallic art in an article on painting; whenever he had the chance to act as a booster for medals, he seized the opportunity. And while he never comes right out and says so, his comment on size in the previous quote can also be construed as being directed at critics of medallic art. Later in the same article on miniature painting he writes that medalists must "pack much in little room and remain true and graceful, thoughtfill and artistic....The medalists of the old school are still shaking their heads over innovators who model medals large and reduce them to medal size and treat the old stiff rules of medaldom with scant respect in more than one regard" ( De Kay 1901a, 336). The issue of size was one that intrigued De Kay. "It is not easy for a man engaged in monumental work to change off to modelling in very low relief and meet the other requirements that a medal forces upon him....[H]e must have the habit of seeing things on the medallic scale; he must have the practice of subtle planes" (De Kay 1907, 158). In yet another article he writes, "Bronze is apt to be associated too closely with monuments that stand in public places, because the enjoyment of small bronze-work is not general. The lover of bronzes, however, regards size no more than does the lover of paintings. He finds a zest in figurines or medallions or small objects...." (De Kay 1895, 111). It seems obvious that De Kay's priorities during the early years of the twentieth century, even before the founding of the Circle, were toward spreading art and culture to the general public through the use of small, intimate, and therefore easily digested works like medals, and medals created by sculptors who were ardent students of the craft of working in miniature, a scale appropriate to the medium.

De Kay had a special, and obvious, fondness for medals. Two aspects of these small bronzes that especially pleased him were the commemorative nature of medals and the variety of colors that could be applied. Medals, along with coins and tokens, "...[have] kept the record of men and peoples utterly vanished from history" (De Kay 1895, 110). They were another way of recording history, an important part of De Kay's aesthetic, and yet they functioned and appeared differently than coins and tokens as historical markers. Their commemorative function worked within, not separately from, an aesthetic one, unlike tokens and coins, and this made them unique. As for color, "A collection of bronzes satisfies the love inherent in mankind for form, and pleases not a little his love of color. From bright green to bright yellow, from brown to black to invisible green or blue, there is a great range of colors for the skilled collector" (De Kay 1895, 112). This emphasis on the range of colors possible with gold, silver and bronze was another attempt at convincing the public that medallic art was indeed a worthy branch of the arts, comparable to painting for variety and emotional expression.

De Kay believed that medals also played a significant role in influencing popular taste. Medals had, in the past, suffered the reputation of "things of use" rather than things of beauty. He hoped the Circle would remedy this. One of the goals of the Circle, for De Kay, was to teach the public about the inherent beauty of these small sculptures. "It is still a small band of amateurs who encourage the passion, and not all of these can shake off the collector's tendency to value an object for its rarity or historical worth more than for its intrinsic beauty; but no one can indulge long in the passion without making comparisons between one medal and another...and gradually separating in his mind those which please the aesthetic side of him from those which merely excite his interest for other reasons" (De Kay 1907, 153). The Circle would awaken in its members the aesthetic "passion," the ultimate complement to the historical, long the sole province of medals.

The relationship between the design of medals and coins was obvious, De Kay believed. Medals have long had an influence on coinage, and the best example of this was France . "We may safely reason that neglect of medallic study in the United States is responsible for the flat and tasteless appearance of our own coinage...." (De Kay 1907, 154). Another reason for the founding of the Circle was to elevate medallic art to a level where the general public would realize that our coins needed the same kind of aesthetic attention as medals, or small sculptures. The only American, De Kay believed, who had made a thorough study of medals was Victor David Brenner , who was commissioned to design the fourth issue for the Circle. Coin designers, of which Brenner was one, had different problems to solve than medalists, and it was to Brenner's credit that he was able to switch roles so easily.

Brenner's example was perfectly suited to illustrate the importance of medals in the education of the public about aesthetics. A sculptor who could so easily and expertly switch genres, teach in both, and write eloquently about the processes, was the embodiment of the type of artist De Kay championed. "It is strange that a country in which education engages so much thought and ability as does ours should fail to perceive the value of medals as a means of instruction and lay so little stress on them. They do not teach history alone, but when designed by the proper hands they teach art" (De Kay 1907, 162). By studying medals, the public would naturally learn to appreciate larger works. "The value of such portable small sculpture is not easily overrated; it leads to the...thousand and one sculptured objects which add so much atmosphere to a room furnished in the common way with pictures only..." (De Kay 1907, 163). In De Kay's mind, medals formed a stepping-stone to some of the most refined pleasures in the world.

The Circle of Friends of the Medallion folded just after the onset of the First World War. The reasons for its disappearance are not known, but can certainly be surmised. First, De Kay and Hewitt never reached their goal of 1000 subscribers, so it is possible that it was not financially feasible to keep the Circle going. Second, the nation's attention was beginning to focus on the war in Europe and America's looming role in it, leaving very little time and thought for personal consumption of art. Third, the slowly growing interest in modernism and its highly subjective styles may have begun to undermine the traditional, i.e., social, value De Kay and Hewitt attached to medals, and art in general. However, De Kay's contributions to American aesthetic thought were invaluable. During his tenure with the Circle he produced countless articles, in addition to those cited, for many nationally prominent magazines and newspapers on a wide spectrum of artistic matters. It is inarguable that De Kay was one of the most influential cultural figures in the United States in the years before the First World War, and almost singlehandedly responsible for elevating medallic art to a popular level.

List of References

Art News. 1910 . Friends of the Medallion. New York American Art News. January 8, Microform, Archives of American Art, National Arts Club Records, Role 4264, frame 0162.
Bogart, Michele H . 1989 . Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City, 1890-1930. Chicago : University of Chicago Press.
Critic . 1899 . A Club to Advance Art Industries . The Critic 34:350-51.
De Kay, Drake [Charles] . New Medallions by Konti, first of our modern Benvenuto Cellini. Records of the National Arts Club, Archives of American Art, Role 4266, frame 447.
——. 1895. Bronze in the Fine Arts. Harper's Weekly 39 (February).
——. 1898 . The Citizens' Movement in Sculpture . Harper's Weekly 42 (February).
——. 1900 . Organization Among Artists . International Monthly 1 (January).
——. 1900a . Our Artists and the Social Fabric. New York Times 11 March:23.
——. 1901 . The Appellate Division Court in New York City. The Independent 53 (August 1): 1797 .
——. 1901a . The Miniator's Art. The Cosmopolitan 30,4:333.
——. 1907 . Arts and Crafts in America : Medals: Their Influence on Coinage and the Popular Taste. Putnam's Monthly 2 (May): 158.
——. 1909 . The Medals of a Festival. Harper's Weekly 53(25 September):25.
——. 1911 . Fine Art in Medals. Harper's Weekly 55(22 April):21.
——. 1913 . Little Sculptures for the Library. (March 1913 ). Clipping from the collection of D. Wayne Johnson , source unknown.
——. 1913a . Medals Issued by the Circle of Friends of the Medallion. The Numismatist 26 (March): 133-136
——. 1914 . Sigurd Neandross. International Studio 52(March):xxii.
NYT. 1899 . Arts Applied to Industries: Charles DeKay Points Out the Needs Essential to Progress. New York Times (4 April):5.
Teall, Gardner . 1909 . The National Arts Club of New York: Its Position as a Factor in the Encouragement of the Fine Arts, and Why It is Worth While. Craftsman 15 (February) :613.

End Notes

For more details on the individual medals and the circumstances surrounding their issuance, see D. Wayne Johnson , "Premature Circle of Precocious Friends," Coins (November 1976): 62-69.
Roiné's Lafayette medal, November 1911, includes a short account of the Marquis written by the French Ambassador, M. Jusserand . The Home medal by Konti is accompanied by poems by several writers.
See Michele H. Bogart , Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City , 1890-1930 ( Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1989), 53, for a detailed discussion of the founding of the National Sculpture Society.
Quoted in Albert Boime , " Ryder on a Gilded Horse," Zeitschrift fér Kunstgeschichte 56, no. 4 (1993): 565.


The sequence of issuance of the medals is as follows:


1. September 1909, John Flanagan , Hudson-Fulton Celebration


2. May 1910, Isidor Konti , Wanderer returns home


3. March 1911, John Mowbray-Clarke , Saint Brendan


4. May 1911, Victor David Brenner , Motherhood


5. November 1911, Jules Roiné , Lafayette


6. June 1912, John S. Conway , Charles Dickens


7. November 1912, Louis Potter , Abdul Baha


8. June 1913, Sigurd Neandross , The Ocean


9. December 1913, Rene Theophile de Quelin , John Fremont


10. June 1914, John Mowbray-Clarke , Centennial of US-British peace


11. December 1914, Paul Manship , New Netherlands 250th Anniversary


12. June 1915, Allen G. Newman , Joan of Arc .

Paul Manship's Medallic Mythology

Bob Mueller

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

Since the invention of money, the gods and goddesses, heroes and beasts of mythology have been portrayed on coinage to commemorate a particular event or associate a ruler with his patron deity. Nowhere was this more prevalent than in the coinage of ancient Greece resulting in some of the most beautiful designs ever produced in this medium. The primitive methods used to produce these coins dictated that the designs be engraved directly onto the dies at the actual size they were to be struck. When looking at these miniature works of art one is amazed by the fineness of detail and the ingenuity of the designers' use of iconography in so limited a space. Much later, during the Italian Renaissance, artists such as Pisanello , L'Antico , Fiorentino and Cesati used the creatures and characters of mythology on portrait medals to convey certain messages about their subjects. Meanings hidden to the ordinary person could easily be deciphered by their well educated aristocratic patrons. In twentieth century America , the sculptor Paul Manship was greatly impressed by the work of the ancient Greeks and the Renaissance medalists. Like them, he was an artist whose career was linked to wealthy patrons, those self-made tycoons who formed the apex of American society and manipulated the taste of the nation. Archeological discoveries in the nineteenth century infused these classic mythical themes with new vigor. Manship's mastery of archaic form, coupled with fresh originality and fluid handling of spatial relationships made him a favorite of Americas elite.

"His feeling for the sculptural medium also inspired unique achievement in medallic art. Following the introduction of mechanical means for cutting dies from larger models, medallists had departed from the appropriateness of scale that had been imposed upon the ancient die cutters... Manship revived the clarity of design and treatment that had been the charm of the Greek gems and coins as well as of the early Renaissance medals" (Hancock 1966). Manship himself expressed his unhappiness with the effects achieved by modern technology: "The mechanical reduction, which is to perhaps to be wondered at for its fineness, produces a result which is false and inartistic, because it is obviously not the direct work of the human hand. The beautiful coins of the Greeks and the artistic medals of Pisanello and his contemporaries were of necessity made at their final size. I believe that this mechanics in art is one of the reasons why the art of the medalist has sunk today to such a low state" ( St. Paul Pioneer 1915). This admiration and desire to achieve the "appropriateness of scale" influenced his methods in "the designing of modern medals, he carved the most intricate designs and exquisite lettering directly in the plaster mould (sic) ... Had Manship confined himself solely to making medals he would have achieved wide acclaim" ( Richards 1966).

Many collectors of medallic art are familiar with some of the works produced by this giant of American sculpture but very few realize how prolific a medalist Paul Manship really was. In his lifetime, Manship created well over a hundred medals, decorations and small bas-reliefs.

Mythological themes are no stranger in Manship's sculpture and are evident in such works as Centaur and Dryad, Infant Hercules Fountain, Diana and Acteon , Europa and the Bull and his most famous work, The Prometheus Fountain in New York's Rockefeller Center. Among his medallic efforts the best known is Dionysus , which was the second issue of the Society of Medalists. He also created two presidential inaugural medals: the first in 1931 for Franklin Delano Roosevelt , the second for John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1960, and although neither contains a mythological theme, they are noteworthy nonetheless.

For those not familiar with Manship and his work, we must take a brief look at the influences that moulded him as an artist. The most important was that he learned through the traditional apprenticeship, allowing him to acquire the techniques he needed to develop his own distinctive style and not be stamped in the mold of a particular school. Above all, he was a craftsman of the highest degree and tried to instill this quality in others throughout his career.

Paul Howard Manship was born on Christmas Eve , 1885 in St. Paul, Minnesota , the seventh child of Charles Manship and Mary Etta Friend. He first studied art at the St. Paul Institute where he decided to try his hand at painting. Discovering he was color blind, he switched to modeling in clay, and by the age of 15 decided to become a sculptor. Leaving high school at 17, he opened his own design business in St. Paul . For a year he did sign painting and lettering, which remained of great interest to him and shows strongly in his medallic work.

Manship went to New York in 1905 where he entered the Art Students League and after a few months of formal study, served as an assistant to Solon Borglum until 1907. In the autumn of that year he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he studied life modeling with sculptor Charles Grafly . From 1908 to 1909 Manship assisted Isidore Konti , who taught him the techniques of low relief modeling and persuaded Paul to compete for entry into the American Academy in Rome which he won. He was also greatly responsible for drawing Manship away from the influence of Rodin whose style was emulated by most of the sculptors of the period, thus giving him the freedom to pursue his own style which would in time set him above all his peers. Manship later acknowledged his debt and fondness toward the elder sculptor with one of his first portrait medals.

Manship's stay in Rome was probably the single most influential period in his life as well as his work. It would bear a significant impact on the way he viewed sculpture in general and how he interpreted that view in his own art. Surrounded by antiquity he was able to study and then synthesize the ancient forms to achieve a fresh new look which would become known as Archaism. Within a year of his arrival at the Academy, his work shows a dramatic change from the Neo-Baroque style he had previously been working in. During his fellowship he also made trips around the Mediterranean studying Archaic Greek, Minoan, Assyrian and Egyptian forms.

The lessons and inspiration derived from antiquity were not the only influences on the young sculptor. Also during his time in Italy , Manship was able to study the Renaissance masters Michaelangelo and Donatello as well as the medals of Pisanello and his contemporaries.


It was in Italy, the birthplace of modern medallic sculpture, that Manship created the first of what was to be many works in this genre. Frederic Crowninshield (1845-1918), a painter, had been associated with American Academy in Rome since 1900, and its director from 1909-1911. He resigned as the director following a merger with the School of Classic Studies, which he opposed, and as a farewell, the fellows presented Crowninshield and his wife with a plaque modeled by Manship.

The Crowninshield Medallion ( fig. 1 ) depicts the winged figure of Iris holding a trumpet-blowing putto in one hand and two doves in the other. Iris was the messenger of Zeus, along with Hermes, and was the faithful servant of Hera. She also helped the other gods, unharnessing their chariots and giving the steeds nectar and ambrosia. She is a fitting symbol for this tribute to Crowninshield who was a dedicated, faithful servant of the Academy and well liked among the fellows. Iris hangs her head in sorrow at the loss of one who embodied her role at the institution. The putto blows a fanfare in recognition of his accomplishments and loyalty while the doves symbolize an offering of peace and happiness for the couple. The medallion remained within the Crowninshield family until 1990 when it was sold at auction in New York .


After his return to the states in 1913, Manship had several highly successful exhibitions and won national acclaim becoming one of the hottest properties in the art world. Commissions flocked to him, among which was one to design the first gold Civic Forum Medal Of Honor ( fig. 2 ) to be awarded to George W. Goethals , Engineer of the Panama Canal. The obverse depicts Athena with a winged victory in her right hand and the torch of enlightenment in her left. In Greek mythology Athena is credited for giving many valuable services to mankind including the art of taming horses, invention of the potters wheel, the weaving of cloth and embroidery. The medal was given "FOR DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE" and was awarded to such notables as Thomas Edison (1915); Alexander Graham Bell (1917); Herbert Hoover (1920) and Richard E. Byrd (1930).

In the summer of 1914, the Manships vacationed in Italy with their friend Barry Faulkner , a mural painter, whom Paul had met at the American Academy. Ending their tour in Rome, Manship modeled the Infant Hercules Fountain and presented it to the Academy as his gift. Circling the base of the fountain are six low relief panels portraying the Labors of Hercules. They were not to be cast as individual plaquettes until 1955. All show Hercules wrestling with an opponent either animal or human in form. These are probably the most archaic in style of any of Manships medallic works and could be mistaken at first as works of antiquity.

One of these ( fig. 3 ) depicts the wrestling match between Hercules and Nereus, The Old Man of the Sea. The hero had to defeat this shape changing deity to discover the route to the Garden of the Hesperides in his quest to steal the Golden Apples of Hera. An early 6th century BC, black figure vase in the Louvre ( fig. 4 ), shows Nereus with a fish tail that sprouts the head of a lion and a snake, attesting to his power of mutation ( Boardman 1974, 223). By mid century, Nereus changed identity to Triton, which was probably more politically symbolic than a relation to any myth ( Boardman 1974, 223, n.2). Nereus appears on later vases but in full human form and with none of the manifestations of the earlier examples.


The Manships rented a house the next summer in Cornish, New Hampshire. Other artists had been attracted to the colony founded by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, among them were Stephen and Maxfield Parrish , Charles Adams Platt , Kenyon Cox and Thomas W. Dewing . There Manship started a series of portrait medals of his artist friends beginning with Barry Faulkner ( fig. 5 ). This is the first medal by the sculptor dedicated to an individual rather than an event or award.

The reverse of this medal portrays Orpheus and Eurydice with the inscription: "TO THE ULTIMATE DO WE PURSUE THE IDEAL". Orpheus, a son of Apollo, was renowned for his remarkable singing voice and mastery of the lyre. His music was so beautiful that wild beasts and even trees would follow him. He fell in love with and married the nymph Eurydice who was bitten by a snake and died. Orpheus, heartbroken, went into the Underworld to bring back his bride. His beautiful singing charmed Hades and Persephone into letting her return on the condition that he not gaze back at her until they were out of the Underworld. Orpheus in his impatience and fearing treachery on the part of Hades turned back to look and so lost his love forever.

Here Orpheus with his lyre represents artistic expression while Eurydice is the ideal to be pursued and attained. An artist will go through 'the gates of hell' to obtain the epitome of his art. But as in the myth, no matter what the effort, that goal can sometimes be lost in a moment of uncertainty. The pair are surrounded by a chain border, binding them together as an artist is bound to his art. This medal was closely followed by one honoring Maxfield Parrish ( fig. 6 ).

The Parrish medal is of particular interest as it is the first depiction of Pegasus in Manship's sculpture. The winged steed became a favorite subject of the artist and appears again in five other medals as well as numerous sculptures. Here Pegasus appears to be in the throes of trying to break free from the world below, even the bronze in which he is cast. The wings of the fabled steed are strikingly archaic in appearance and the stylized rays behind lend an urgency to the scene. In Manship's iconography, Pegasus represents artistic inspiration or a means of transport to higher realms. The latter is particularly appropriate in this instance as the paintings of Maxfield Parrish depict fantasy worlds, utopias bathed in ethereal light, or the fancies of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Pegasus becomes a means for the viewer to visit those realms so skillfully wrought by Parrish.

Seeing the two of these medals together is enough to confirm Manship's status as an heir to Pisanello in the finest traditions of medallic sculpture through his combination of fine portraiture and use of symbolism to reflect on the personality of the individual.


It was also in 1915 that The National Sculpture Society commissioned Manship to create a small bronze ashtray to be presented to its lay members. Although this work is not a true medal, during the year 1914-1915 there were 145 lay members in the NSS making this one the most highly produced reliefs by Manship to be discussed here. The artist chose the goddess Diana as the subject and created a gem in bronze that became the first of a series of small relief dishes illustrating mythological scenes and astrological signs.

Looking at the Diana Ashtray ( fig. 7 ), the viewer is first taken by the great illusion of motion and speed of the figures. Diana with her bow flies through the surrounding flora, her swiftness easily matching the speedy hound beside her. Her figure is freely modeled and extremely fluid in form, her long hair flowing in serpentine waves on both sides of her head and is reminiscent of early Minoan frescoes.

While Diana shows lithe gracefulness, the hound, in comparison, exudes pure physical power and lightning speed as he adoringly follows at her side. Both are encircled but not completely contained in a raised beaded border giving the illusion that they might at any moment leap from the confines of the bowl. This border is then contained within a second zig-zag motif just inside the rim and adding to the dynamic energy of the piece.

The figure of Diana appeared again in a later bronze ( fig. 8 ). Looking at both pieces together, the distinct similarities become very apparent. This small dish can be considered the earliest study for one of Manship's most popular and beautiful sculptures.


Appropriately, Manship modelled the St. Paul Institute Medal ( fig. 9 ), as that was where he received his first formal art training. The obverse portrays a kneeling Muse with her cithara , her right hand holding a winged victory bearing two laurel wreaths. On the reverse Pegasus appears again, high above the earth with a pattern of vertical rays rising behind. The almost Egyptian style of the kneeling muse on the obverse was several years ahead of its time as the revival of interest in Egyptian art did not fully occur until after the discovery by Howard Carter of King Tutankamun's tomb in 1921. Manship himself considered this piece a radical departure from his previous work ( St. Paul Pioneer 1915). I have thought to get away from the stereotyped models generally used in this connection to suggest the whole idea in an abstract manner, and so, instead of representing the figure of Art with a palette in one hand and a work of sculpture in the other, I have pictured, for the obverse of the medal, the Muse that inspires and extols, kneeling before the figure of Victory, who bestows the recognition of artistic accomplishment. But for the reverse of the medal, the idea of the Pegasus arising from the globe itself, appealed to me, apart from its decorative effect, as being suggestive of the flight of Fancy, and its vehicle of transport to the higher realms.

There was also a smaller study for the obverse of the St. Paul Institute medal of which only a few casts were made ( fig. 10 ). Although the modeling is more simplistic, the figure of the muse in this version seems more natural. You can sense the movement of the hand just having plucked the strings and you find yourself straining to hear the notes of the melody she sings towards the heavens, four stars twinkling above her head. The border of raised dots forms a halo, or glow, around the figures or could be interpreted as the vault of the heavens which, like artistic inspiration, knows no limits. It also creates the illusion of being reflected in a pool beneath the figures. The inscription forms a cradle which embraces the figures and solidifies the design.


Welles Bosworth, the architect, was the subject of another portrait medal. He and Manship had been friends since the sculptor's return from Rome in 1913, and it was through him that several important early commissions were received. The reverse of the Welles Bosworth Portrait Medal ( fig. 11 ) depicts a winged female figure kneeling on a plinth and holding a column in both hands. To the left, in Greek characters reads "EUPHROSYNE," one of the three Graces, whose name means "she who rejoices the heart." This symbolism has a double meaning here, the first is a reference to Bosworth's architecture which in its beauty and grace were a thing of joy to look upon. The second being to the great friendship shared by the two men which lasted their lifetimes.

Orpheus and Pegasus soar above the rising sun on the obverse of The Art Directors Club Medal of 1921 ( fig. 12 ). The Club, incorporated in 1920, was intent on bringing the art of commerce to the fore. In its first 20 years the ADC awarded 129 medals and the list reads like a Who's Who of artists and designers. Among the recipients were such notables as J.C. Leyendecker , Walter D. Teague , Norman Rockwell ; Rockwell Kent , Peter Arno , James Thurber , Edward Steichen and P. Horst .


As in the Maxfield Parrish medal, Pegasus flies over the sun; the pose and style are very similar, only this time the soaring steed faces left. His head is thrown back in joy as he listens to the wondrous song of Orpheus who rides bareback, playing his lyre. These two strong icons of artistic inspiration and expression are quite fitting for this award, bestowed for artistic merit.

Manship originally met John Singer Sargent in 1916 and became fast friends with the elder painter who even put the sculptor up in his London flat while on his way to serve with the Red Cross during WWI. It wasn't until 1923 that Manship created a portrait medal ( fig. 13 ), to honor his illustrious friend, the reverse of which portrays the slaying of Medusa by the hero Perseus.

The composition is complex but full of smooth flowing interactive curves. Perseus stands above the fallen Gorgon, his helmeted head turned away so as not to look upon Medusa's countenance. The right arm juts back at a right angle and holds the downcurving blade which draws the eye to the severed head held in his left hand. The corpse follows the bottom curvature of the medal, from the severed stump springs Pegasus whose upswept wings draw our eye back to the figure of Perseus. Encircling the figures, but not containing them, is a zig-zag border that adds to the energy of the scene. The inscription, "PEGASUS LIBERATED," pays tribute to this artist who was the embodiment of artistic inspiration as the greatest painter of his day. By the use of initials, "P.M. TO J.S.S. 1923," Manship reveals the casualness and the closeness of the friendship shared by the two men.


On August 15, 1927, Judge Elbert H. Gary , CEO and Chairman of the United States Steel Corporation; president and founder of the American Iron and Steel Institute; namesake of Gary , Indiana ; philanthropist and the single most powerful and influential leader in American industry, succumbed to heart disease at age 80. His vision and commitment are responsible for many things we take for granted in business today including fair labor practices, health and safety incentives, quarterly and annual reports to the public and an 8-hour workday. It was only appropriate that his creation, the American Iron and Steel Institute, create an award to truly honor his memory.

The obverse portrait ( fig. 14 ) was executed from a marble bust at the Gary residence in Jericho , Long Island . Manship achieves a marvelously strong profile relief of Judge Gary in his prime that projects the power, conviction and dignity of this great man. There are no other decorative elements save the identifying legend. None are necessary, as the portrait conveys all that needs to be said. There is some flair in the letterforms, especially the "R's" that add to the impression of this man's uniqueness.

The symbolism of the reverse is as strong as the portraiture of the obverse. Here Manship gives us a scene of Hephaestus resting at his forge. What more fitting tribute to a man who was this god's incarnation in modern industry, whose mills glowed like so many volcanoes across the nation? Two winged figures hover above his head with the victor's laurel signifying the award. The forge and anvil are traditional symbols for Hephaestus but are also symbolic of the Iron and Steel industry from whose fiery forges a modern industrialized America emerged. The rays around the god's head, aside from a reference to the genius of Judge Gary , himself connote the signal significance of the award and the distinction of the recipient. Finally, that the god is resting refers to the fact that this is a memorial to one who has passed on.


The Society of Medalists (SOM) was founded in 1930 with the promise of making available to the average citizen small bas-relief works of art by America's greatest sculptors at an affordable price. The second issue of the SOM, modeled by Manship, caused quite a stir in its depiction of Dionysus ( fig. 15 ), the god of wine, frivolity and drunken debauchery. Considering that this was during the height of Prohibition the subject matter didn't sit well with many people. Manship himself, in the brief accompanying message, considered that: "The medal is not conventional. It is subtly humorous and is symbolic of a present-day attitude toward certain restraints of the times. Thus it is commemorative of an era" (SOM 2).

Shortly after its release, an article appeared claiming that the medal had become a "matter of contention" between "Wets" and "Drys" in the membership of the SOM, it went on further to say that it knew of at least one member who threatened to resign if "any more insults to the Constitution are perpetuated in the name of art" (Art Digest 1931).


The SOM quickly released a statement to the effect that "the protests which had been received did not cite advocacy of Prohibition as the reason for disapproving the medal", and went on "that more letters of praise than censure had been received..." (New York Times 1931).

With this singular piece Manship reaches the epitome of his art in the interpretation of modern issues through archaic forms. He did not see the issue in terms of "Wets" or "Drys" but rather as a statement on the social issue of Prohibition and a reflection of its times.


Modern technology blends with ancient mythology on the Southern Railways Centennial Medal ( fig. 16 ) of 1930. A powerful locomotive bursts its way across the lower half of the medal, bolts of power fly from its wheels and a swift column of smoke streams from the stack. The tangibility of the power and speed that radiate from this image is astounding and to further emphasize these attributes the god Mercury flies above. Known for his swiftness as a messenger of the gods, Mercury was also the god of commerce. Upon his forward extended right arm is a miniature of "The Best Friend of Charleston," the locomotive whose historic (albeit short) run on Christmas day 1830 signaled the beginning of railroad transport in this country. 1 Adding to the atmosphere of the piece, the wavy rays behind symbolize the dawn of the new age that the steam locomotive brought to the economic growth of the nation. Two hundred of these much sought after medals were produced at a cost of approximately $900 (including dies) plus Manship's usual $2,500 fee (Manship, Letter).


Pegasus makes his final appearance, this time with Bellerophon the Carnegie Corporation Medal ( fig. 17 ). This award, created in 1934, was presented by the Carnegie Corporation in recognition of an academic contribution to the advancement of knowledge. Bellerophon, a great lover of horses was visited in a dream by Athena one night in which she told him where to find the winged steed Pegasus. Upon awakening he found a golden bridle left by the goddess and at a clearing, just as she had described, he found Pegasus, drinking from a pool of water. His stealthy approach went unnoticed until the last instant and Pegasus bolted, but Bellerophon just managed to slip the on the bridle which tamed the beast instantly. One day, according to Pindar, Bellerophon tried to reach Olympus on his fabulous beast, and Zeus in his anger at the mortal's impudence, flung him to earth, laming him for life.

The symbolism here is as well thought out as the composition. In this instance, Pegasus represents knowledge and Bellerophon, man's gaining of that knowledge. Their struggle attests to the fact that though knowledge can be gained, it can be flighty and elusive and its attainment is not always easy. The waves become the symbolic carriers of knowledge and ideas to all corners of the globe. Lastly there is the warning, though not seen, to those familiar with the myth that knowledge used toward the wrong ends is a dangerous thing and the consequences can be costly.


Manship's relationship with the Hercules Powder Company began in 1941 with a commission to create the John Wesley Hyatt Award to be given for distinguished achievement in the field of plastics. The company, a leading explosives and industrial chemicals manufacturer, was founded in 1912 by Russel H. Dunham . Dramatic growth and expansion during and after WWI allowed Hercules to become a major manufacturer of raw materials for the growing plastics industry. In 1945 Manship sculpted a statue for their corporate headquarters in Wilmington, DE and in 1951 was asked to create a medal commemorating Dunham's fifty years of leadership.

This 3 inch uniface medal ( fig. 18 ) depicts a strident Hercules wearing the famed skin of the Nemian Lion and carrying a club on his shoulder. Struck in gold and bronze issues by Medallic Art Company, 2 it is a relief miniature of the sculpture done six years earlier. Compared to his earlier medals this one seems very static in composition and has lost all the decorative brilliance for which he was so well known. This lack of a more involved composition may have been due to a hasty deadline. At this point in his career, Manship's popularity had greatly declined because of his association with the "academic" art establishment and his strong opposition of the avant-garde who were now riding the crest of the wave of popularity.


The last medal to be discussed here is the Century Association medal of 1955 ( fig. 19 ). Awarded annually to the Centurion by the Board of Management of the Club, the medal's obverse presents a standing Pallas Athena, patron goddess of literature, art and industry, helmeted and wearing the aegis over her chiton. In her left hand she holds the laurel of recognized achievement and with her right she touches the base of a lamp symbolizing knowledge and enlightenment. This lamp stands upon a pylon rising from the plinth upon which Athena stands. This representation, as Manship would have been aware, resembled the celebrated statue of the goddess by Phidas that was in the Parthenon. The reverse of this medal, as with so many of Manship's works of this period is a wonderful treatment of his seemingly endless array of a ribbons and panels. The dexterity and variety of these when viewed together is astounding. Originally conceived as an annual award, this medal has been presented only 13 times to date since its creation

The fifteen medals covered here merely scratch the surface of the sculptors success in this medium. But, they are indicative of the consistency of his creativity and his dedication to craftsmanship. They truly set Paul Manship among the great medallists of all time.


A special note of thanks must be given to John Manship , whose book Paul Manship (Abbeville, 1989) is the major source of biographical information on this renowned artist. His generosity in allowing me access to his father's personal documents and correspondence provided an invaluable source of information. He and his wife Margaret have been unending in their patience and support and I count their friendship as one of the treasures in my life. There are also two other publications that provide a wealth of information on Manship's work. The first is Paul Manship by Edwin Mirtha ( Macmillan , 1957) which provides a catalogue raisonne of the artists work up to 1957. The second is Paul Manship by Harry Rand ( Smithsonian , 1989) which gives an excellent critique on the artist's style and iconography and also has a chapter devoted primarily to his medallic work.

End Notes

The locomotive "Best Friend of Charleston" was given that name by local businessmen who saw it as the means of getting goods from the port city to the newly developing inland areas. It made its famous December 25th six mile run on the partially completed track of the South Carolina Canal & Railway Company. A contemporary account tells of the then dazzling speed of the train as it travelled "on the wings of the wind at the speed of 15 to 25 miles an hour, annihilating time and space and leaving the world behind...(the engine) darted forth like a live rocket, scattering sparks and flames on either side, passing over three saltwater creeks, hop, step and jump, and landed us all safe at the lines before any of us had the time to determine whether or not was prudent to be scared." Six months later the "Best Friend of Charleston" met its end when a fireman, annoyed at the hissing noise from the boiler, proceeded to hold down the safety valve. The resulting explosion blew him and the engine to kingdom come.
This medal is listed in Mirtha as being struck in gold and bronze issues. To date I have been unable to uncover much information on this piece. Dunham's fiftieth anniversary was played down in the company's newsletter, "The Hercules Mixer," with absolutely no mention of the medal. It is safe to say though that the gold example was for Dunham himself and that the bronze examples were struck for members of the Board of Directors.

List of References

Hancock 1966 . Walker Hancock, Paul Manship 1885-1966 . National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
St. Paul Pioneer 1915 . Manship Medal a Worthy Prize. St. Paul Pioneer , Feb. 20.
Richards 1966 . Betti Richards, Paul Manship . EVENTS The National Arts Club, March.
Boardman 1974 . John Boardman, Athenian Black Figure Vases. Thames and Hudson (World of Art Series), London .
SOM2. Enclosed "Message from the Artist." Society of Medalists, Issue 2.
Art Digest 1931 . Manship Medal a Bone of Contention. The Art Digest 5, January.
New York Times 1931 . God of Wine Stirs Medalists Society. New York Times , Jan. 8.
William Webb , The Southern Railway System: An Illustrated History. Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ontario 1986 pp. 9-10.
Manship, Letter. Letter of Nov. 17, 1930 from Manship to Fairfax Harrison , Esq., President of Southern Railways System, Washington DC.

The Art of Die-Engraving

Virginia Janssen

Coinage of the Americas Conference the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

Die-engraving for the production of coins and medallions is an age-old and increasingly rare form of art. Once, all coins were struck from hand-engraved dies, and the engraver held an honored position in government and in society. Today there are several ways to create minting dies that do not necessarily require the skilled hands of an engraver, and thus die-engravers have become almost as rare as the art that they practice.

It is part of the trade's mystery that very little written information exists to aid in the education of a would-be engraver. Die-engraving is passed from master to apprentice, a visual and manual training that can be acquired in no other way. They say that it takes seven years to become a competent die-engraver, but, as one who has struggled with this obdurate art form for at least ten years, I suggest that it takes much longer— perhaps a lifetime. In addition, there are few schools that offer this very specific training. Die-engraving could easily disappear without some conscious effort to continue it, to pass on a fascinating and intricate decorative art form.

The tools used by the engraver, ancient and unchanging, are relatively simple. Each engraver makes his own tools, as they are hand-held and so must fit each individual hand. Hardened steel chisels and a hammer are used to remove large amounts of steel from a steel die ( fig. 1 ). Small steel gravers or burins are used to remove small amounts of steel, and to add lines and details ( fig. 2 ). Hand-made steel punches have a design engraved on their faces, which is then hammered or "punched" into the face of the die. It is often true that one must make a tool to make a tool.


A die-block, or cylindrical piece of "soft" workable steel is placed in a vise called a graver's block. White paint is smeared over the surface of the die-block, and the design to be engraved is then transferred onto the face of the die, and traced again with a sharp metal scribe. This will serve as a map for the engraver. It is at this point that the work begins.


Each engraver has a slightly different way of approaching a job, and so I may only speak for myself. I begin with my chisels and a heavy hammer. Chisels and gravers both have different "faces," that are either round, flat, or v-shaped. Depending on the cut needed, I then hammer my chisel along within the design, removing the mass of the design. This may also be accomplished with a flexible shaft tool, or other similar mechanical grinding tool. The chisel can leave ragged marks in the steel, and these are then smoothed somewhat with a wide flat graver.

Fine details and lettering may be added with a small graver. As demonstrated by master engraver Ron Landis, lettering may also be added with individual letter punches. Punches guarantee a uniformity of image, and are particularly useful when a design element is repeated within the image.


Modern dies are created with a different method, and with the skills of another artist. As demonstrated by Laura Gardin Fraser in a recently restored video, "The Medal Maker," a die may be made from an original "sculpt" which is actually much larger than the finished product. Figure 3 shows the passage of an idea through design to finished sculpture. The artist's design is translated into a three-dimensional sculpture through clay and plaster. Lettering is usually carved into the negative plaster model, from which a positive is poured in plaster. This model is then cast in bronze at a foundry, or cast in a hard epoxy resin. The original must be made of some very hard material that will withstand a lot of machining.


The model is placed on a machine called a pantograph reduction machine (fig. 4). Two of the most common machines are the Janvier and the Augenstein, which vary slightly in design, but achieve the same result. A stylus traces the relief of the model in a series of concentric circles, moving slowly from the center out toward the edges of the model. At the other end of the machine's long arm, a steel cutter repeats the motion at a reduced ratio, thus creating a smaller version of the original model. This, when finished, will be the "hub" from which a negative die will be made. The hub is checked by the engraver for flaws, often left behind by the reduction machine, and then the steel hub is hardened. The hardened hub will be impressed into a "soft" piece of steel, thus creating the die from which a coin or medal will be struck. Figure 5 shows a hub, the "soft" steel that it will be impressed into, and the resulting die.


Historically, the striking of coins and medals has involved ingenious and not always efficient machinery. It is this requirement that makes the art of the struck medal different from other forms of sculpture; limitations are imposed by the capacities of the machine upon design and relief of modeling. The trick is to combine art, inspiration, and mechanical restraints into a very small beautiful space, and in the most successful of coins and medallions this always occurs. Figure 6 shows one such medallion.

At a workshop held in conjunction with the 1997 conference, a combination of both old and modern techniques in die-engraving and striking was demonstrated. I prepared an obverse die from a sculpt, and Ron Landis prepared a reverse die, engraved by hand. Playing with the "Coinage of the Americas Conference" theme, we both designed an image that had to do with North and South America . The obverse, reduced from a larger sculpt, shows a Liberty head mirrored by an aztec goddess head ( fig. 7 ). The reverse, hand-engraved directly into the steel die, juxtaposes an eagle with a phoenix-like bird. These two dies were struck together to produce small medals commemorating "the Medal in America," the theme of the conference ( fig. 8 ).


Through this demonstration we sought to answer some questions about the vanishing art of die-engraving. Only continued interest will help this art form survive as it always has, passed on from teacher to student, hand to hand.


Hand Engraving and Die Sinking

Ron Landis

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York

November 8-9, 1997

é The American Numismatic Society 1999

After several years of struggling to become a hand engraver, I found myself exploring many facets of this simple, yet challenging art form. In 1982, I acquired a small coining press and was inspired to create small medals which I peddled at Renaissance Fairs across the country, dragging several tons of minting equipment along to demonstrate with. Being a hand engraver of limited means, I created the dies the only way I knew how—the same way I engraved wax seals and signets, by cutting the design in reverse directly with hand held chisels called gravers.

Trying to stay true to the historic theme of the Renaissance period, I was compelled to try to make my coining demonstration as true to form as I could, and by 1991, had built a water wheel powered mint at the Texas Renaissance Festival. We demonstrated hammered coining methods as well as the "modern" milled coining techniques developed in the sixteenth century using screw presses, bellows blast furnace, drop hammer, hand cranked edge mill, and water wheel powered rolling mills to demonstrate roller milled coining.

In my initial research, I was surprised that there was really nowhere that was set up to show these obscure methods. I always thought that an art form that played such an important role in our development as a civilization should have a place to exist at a living history museum, like Colonial Williamsburg. After teaming up with my machinist partner, Joe Rust, we vowed to make it our responsibility to create a museum that would be a place where this, and other related technical arts such as paper making, printing, and bookbinding, can exist and thrive.

Hand engraving has been all but replaced with the advent of new technologies such as pantographs, reduction lathes, spark erosion technology, and computer guided lasers. In order for it to exist as a trade, it must be put in a historic context the same way Colonial Williamsburg provides an environment were silversmiths, broom makers, and other obsolete trades and folk arts can thrive.

It is important to preserve rare and historic coins, medals, currency, postage stamps, and other historic documents. Likewise, it is important to preserve the art forms that created these artifacts as a living, breathing part of our culture.

The art of hand engraving, although just a shadow of the thriving trade it once was, still has its place and still offers unique and rewarding opportunities for the artist determined to master these hard learned skills. There is still a demand for high quality stationary, wax seals, ornamental engraving on guns, knives, hollow ware, jewelry, musical instruments, and even motorcycles to name a few. The distinctive styles and delicate sharpness and human qualities of the hand cut line can be mimicked, but never truly captured by mechanical means. Portraits on paper currency are still engraved by hand in most countries for this reason. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a machine invented yet that can cut a line with the same delicate finesse as a true master engraver.

I'm straying from the subject of medals a bit, but there is a relationship between all these trades that I wanted to point out merely to entice medalists to ponder the depth of possibilities this traditional art form still has to offer. My personal interest is the historic coin making techniques developed from its earliest, and most primitive forms.

To my knowledge, there are no books specifically devoted to early die engraving techniques, so I am learning by trial and error, reproducing early coins using, as close as I can determine, the same techniques used to create the originals. In the process, we hope to parallel the developments that occurred in the early mints through the same sort of natural order of "evolution" as early mints did. We will never figure out all the exact methods and tools used in a given mint for a specific coin, but we can learn the general methods of given time periods, and thus gain an overall basic knowledge of the development of minting processes through hands-on trial and error experience.

My latest obsession has been to reproduce Early American coins. The techniques employed to produce dies for these coins were also used to produce tokens and medals of the period. The big difference between engraving a medal die and a coining die is that coining dies need to be reproduced quickly and with great consistency. Most mints developed a method of producing dies from hand-engraved punches so that the time consuming engraving process is only done once, and the dies could be executed from these punches by a die sinker. Therefore, individual punches are made so that Miss Liberty for example, looks exactly the same from die to die. The terms engraving and die sinking are often used synonymously, but in practice, they are really two separate operations most likely performed by two specialists in larger mints. In his "Treatises of Goldsmithing and Sculpture," sixteenth century goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini mentions the security feature of using punches as opposed to directly engraving dies; The tools used for this purpose have two names, in some instances they are called punzoni (punches), and in other cases madre (matrices), and of a truth they are the mothers that may be said to beget the figures and all the other things you fashion in the die of your coins. The men who did the best work in coining always did the whole of the work upon either the punches or the matrices, and never once touched up the dies with either gravers or chisels, for that would be a great blunder, as all the various dies necessary for making many impressions of the same coins, would be a bit different, and thus cause slight differences in the coins themselves, and that would be making thing easy for forgers, whereas coins well wrought in the way described could be less easily copied.

I am finding there are other advantages to making the main device punches from matrices. By engraving the reverse matrix, or master die, and then producing the positive punch from this master matrix, the steel can be worked back and forth in the same manner that modern coin sculptors work in plaster. Things like incised lettering and belly buttons, for example, can be added in the positive much easier and cleaner than trying to engrave all around the detail. Combined with several sets and sizes of letter punches, dies for simple medals and tokens can be quickly and easily executed with a sharpness of detail inherent to these methods.

When the New World mints of Spain began operating, they received from the mother land a mint "kit" so to speak. This kit contained not only a start-up set of dies, but all the punches to create new coining dies as needed. If a punch broke or wore out, a new one could be produced from the matrix which was a plate with all the letters and design elements used for a particular coin. This made it possible for the early Spanish Colonial Mints to operate without the skills of a master engraver. An apprentice with little or no artistic background can be trained to sink dies of a set pattern in a relatively short time compared to learning to engrave.

To demonstrate how quick die sinking really can be, I sunk a die at the Coinage of Americas Conference held at the American Numismatic Society in NY. I only worked on it about fifteen minutes, hastily composing a simple eagle design from feather punches, and adding the legend with letter punches. I then spent no more than a half hour finishing it up when I returned to Arkansas. So in less than one hour, I was able to create a die, designing it as I went. Had I spent more time, it would certainly have been better designed, but I only wanted to illustrate how efficient this method can be for producing simple token dies, for example.

Many early tokens and medals have been made using these basic techniques of die sinking, and often combined with direct engraving of the main device. Since medals and tokens are made on more limited runs than coins, in many cases, it is more economical to hand cut the main device directly into the working die, instead of spending extra time to create a master die, and device punch. When using these large punches, there is always extra time in the machine shop to turn the distorted die blank back to round after punching in a complete eagle, for example. In other words, engraving a large device does not mangle the shape of the die like applying 100 tons of pressure to stamp it in.

In doing our reproductions, I am always trying to figure out things like if a design element is hand cut in the die, punched in the matrix, punched in the punch or a combination. I am discovering there really are no rules for this, and I think all die sinkers and engravers gravitate to what they think is best to achieve the result they are looking for.

During my short apprenticeship under George Bickley, he was trying to get me to think beyond the basic rules that I learned in trade school. He explained that at some point you need to throw out the rule book and become the master of your own bench. The final result is what you are going after, and there can be different roads to the same destination. Engravers develop their own ways that work for them. This is why I don't like to think of myself as a master. As long as there is a new or better, or different way to do something, I remain a student, just scratching the surface (pun intended).

I enjoy exploring various kinds of numismatic engraving. One of my greatest loves is carving nickels . Based on the folk art of " Hobo Nickels ," this is a simple, spontaneous way of creating small medals from available pocket change. Many hoboes of the Great Depression used to recarve Buffalo nickels into various novel designs such as hobo heads, and then give these Hobo Nickels in exchange for favors received along the way. Although somewhat of a novelty, the original Hobo Nickels of yesterday are a uniquely American form of medal that has a charm all its own.

Carving nickels is an excellent way to learn portrait engraving. If you goof it up, you have only lost a nickel. Also, it is a very free form of medallic expression that does not require extensive equipment and dozens of highly technical steps to complete. The coin is carved, and then it's done. It also makes for a quick, convenient way to sketch medal designs in 3-D. Taking this concept of carved coins a step beyond the more primitive folk art of the hoboes, coin carving can be done on larger coins, or used to create medals by directly engraving the original from a solid block of metal, then molding and casting to duplicate the finished piece, thus returning us full circle to an earlier time when some medals were created this way. I love the way all this ties together.

Certainly the most challenging and rewarding aspect of my work at Gallery Mint is the early U.S. coin reproductions. Although I am often criticized for this type of work, it has taught me much about coin design and portrait engraving. I find that by copying the work of earlier engravers, I am gaining a better eye for sculpting portraits, just as when apprentice painters copied the work of their masters to learn color and composition. This is a demanding discipline that I find most rewarding. And let's face it, like all artists, I'm always copying something, whether it's my sketch on paper, a photograph of a coin, a profile of a person, or just an idea in my head. To me, the execution of these designs is the act of creating which is the real art. But using these quaint, antiquated methods is part of the ritual, an exercise that carries on a traditional art form that is thousands of years old, and makes me feel connected with something very basic and ancient.