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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 33, August 13, 2006, Article 12

VOCABULARY WORD: TONDO

Dick Johnson writes: "The circular relief mounted on the Woodrow Wilson
Bridge, despite its portrait and lettering, is not a "medallion."
Instead, the correct term for such use, particularly in architecture,
is a "tondo."

While the definition of "medallion" is not set in stone, a medallion
in numismatics ranges from 3 1/8-inch (or more exactly, 80mm) to about
12 inches (30.5 cm). Thus numismatic medallions often have two sides.
Circular reliefs larger than 12 inches USUALLY have only one side --
they must be mounted on a flat surface.

Obviously, these medallions are not die struck, but must be made by
other means, casting or electroforming. Casting is virtually unlimited.
Electroforming is limited only to the size of the tanks in which they
are made.

A relief item larger than 12 inches is usually called a "circular
relief" or "plaque" if square or rectangular (above 24 inches the
latter is more of a "tablet").

The above terms do not apply to the oversize models or patterns
from which dies are cut. A 14-inch pattern (as a galvano) ideally
reduces down to a 4-inch medallion or a 3-inch medal. Its 14-inch
size is not a "circular relief," it is the end product that
determines the precise term."

[Many thanks for keeping me honest - I wasn't quite sure of the
"medallion" term, but didn't know what the correct term was.  Now
we all do!  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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