The American Numismatic Society will tomorrow be awarding the Archer M. Huntington Award for excellence in numismatic scholarship to Arthur A. Houghton, III. Houghton is a distinguished scholar of Seleucid coinage, and a full rundown of his career and many publications can be found here. In this post, I wanted to offer a short history of the actual medal that is given to the awardees, the first of which was presented to Edward T. Newell in 1918.
The medal was designed by the Austro-American sculptor Emil Fuchs (1866-1929) and originally struck by the firm of Whitehead & Hoag, with later strikings done by the Medallic Art Company. The medal was first proposed at the 1908 meeting in celebration of the American Numismatic Society’s fiftieth anniversary as a way to honor those who had made a substantial contribution to numismatics. Archer Huntington both recommended Fuchs and provided some direction for the design, which he did not want to feature his portrait. The resulting obverse shows two workers standing on either side of a coin press, while a seated man in the foreground examines a coin with a magnifying glass.
The rather more elaborate obverse features a classically-garbed woman holding a scroll upon which the Society’s then new building on Audubon Terrace was pictured with text commemorating its fiftieth anniversary.
A solitary gold specimen was struck and presented to Archer Huntington, and both bronze and silver medals have been given to the awardees over the last hundred years. For more about this piece, and the many other medals struck under the auspices of the ANS, see Scott H. Miller’s new book Medallic Art of the American Numismatic Society, 1865-2014 (2015).