Dick Johnson forwarded this query, which poses an interesting question to E-Sylum readers. -EditorThe classified advertisement in the recent issue of TAMS Journal was innocuous enough. The bold face type stated: "Would anyone challenge the statement" and it continued "there are more medals and coins (combined) of Martin Luther than anyone else in history."
Well, that's a challenge I like and is an ideal one for E-Sylum readers. Whose portrait has appeared on coins and medals more than any other?
The ad was signed "Fred" and he gave his email address. Fred is Reverend Fred Schumacher and he is a longtime collector of Martin Luther coins and medals. There is empathy involved here; he is a Lutheran minister - no surprise that he would collect Martin Luther.
Forty years ago I was selling Luther medals to Rev Fred. It is good to learn he is still active and still collecting (and proves the longevity of one's collecting topic!). I believe the last time I saw him was at Medallic Art Company when the firm struck a Martin Luther medal for him.
That is the reason he is asking the question. There are so many Martin Luther medals, and there are so many events in Luther's life that it seems like there is a Luther anniversary every few years or so. Ideal for issuing another Luther medal or coin, and the trend continues!
His query reminded me of a list I compiled years ago when I was a medal dealer. I titled it: World's Most Popular People Whose Portrait Appears on Medals (Or medals issued in their honor). A candidate made the list if a book was published listing the medals of one person. Here was my list:
Then I listed some contenders; these would undoubtedly appear somewhere in the next ten slots: Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Robert E. Byrd, Albert Einstein, Lafayette, Theodore Roosevelt, Shakespeare.
I listed three women on medals in no particular order: Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, Maria Theresa.
I added a footnote that will please Rev Fred: Medals still being issued of Martin Luther (who someday may surpass Lincoln).
Since these are only portraits on medals, what would the list be if you factored in coins? Here is where E-Sylum readers come in. With your extensive knowledge of portraits on coins, what would be your top ten portrait list?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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