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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 28, July 9, 2006, Article 25

KING VICTOR EMMANUEL III AND VICTOR DAVID BRENNER

Leon Worden writes: "Interesting to see the reference to Victor Emmanuel
III in the last eSylum.  Emmanuel was the cover boy of the March 1909
edition of The Numismatist, in which publisher Farran Zerbe announced
the Italian monarch's acceptance of an honorary membership in the
American Numismatic Association, calling him "the most distinguished
figure in the numismatic world."

Zerbe, ANA president, had extended the invitation to the king by
letter dated Dec. 15, 1908. Victor Emmanuel "was unable to give it
his immediate attention," Zerbe writes, because the king had his
hands full: On Dec. 28, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed at least
100,000 of his subjects. But within weeks, on Jan. 17, a royal
minister dispatched a letter stating that the king "has learned
with lively satisfaction" of Zerbe's invitation and "has accepted
to become an Honorary Member of the American Numismatic Association."

The news trumped what might otherwise have been the lead story of
the March edition, a feature on a Russian immigrant named Victor
David Brenner. Under the headline, "A New Type Cent Soon to be
Issued -- Will Bear Lincoln's Head," the accomplished sculptor was
asked why he chose to submit a design for the nation's (then)
lowest-denominated coin.

"You see the life of a coin is twenty-five years, according to the
law," Brenner replied, "and the time for the cent and the five-cent
piece has expired. It seemed to me that the nickel already had a
very practical design" -- this was the Liberty head -- "and so I
turned my attention to what would be the most fitting for the one-cent
coin. Naturally, the portrait of Lincoln suggested itself, this being
his centennial, and besides, I was going to make an anniversary medal
for my friends and my mind was full of Lincoln."

Brenner had worked for a year on a popular medal of Lincoln's bust
that he modified for the coin. Asked to compare the two, Brenner said,
"The [medal], yes, it is good, but this one [the coin] is more intimate,
deeper, more kind and personal. It is closer to the man; it makes you
feel that you are sitting with him in his library. When it is finished
I shall be nearly satisfied with it."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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