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V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 31, August 2, 2009, Article 27

A PLAQUE OF THE SCULPTURED HEAD OF SAMUEL LACHMAN

Ira Rezak writes:
You've been recording a number of references to souvenirs of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. It happens that I wrote an article on one such, a plaque of unknown date. The article appeared in the American Numismatic Society Magazine for Winter 2006, Volume 5, Number 3, pp.26-33, under the title Ozymandias in San Francisco: A Medallic Memorial of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. It can also be found online at http://ansmagazine.com/Winter06/Ozymandias


Ira kindly forwarded a copy of his article, which is available in full on the ANS web site. It's a well written and researched piece about a unique piece of medallic art commemorating an unusual scene in the aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. -Editor
This article concerns a single medal—actually, a plaque (Fig. 1)—which I stumbled across five years ago in San Francisco while spending a final hour in town before heading off to the airport for a return flight home. Of course, there had been my customary earlier browsings here and there, but these had failed to turn up a single coin, token, or medal that might have served as a minor trophy or souvenir of my trip to the West Coast and to that wonderful and historic city.

Yet now, in the back of a showcase within a nondescript shop, the type that offers used costume jewelry and bric-a-brac rather than antiques worthy of the name, my eye fell upon something brown and metallic. I ended up buying it, a decision that has rewarded me with an adventure of research and discovery. It was a uniface plaque, six inches by eight, fairly heavy, bearing a scene of devastation.

Earthquake Lachman Medal


The inscription read: "The sculptured head in stone of Samuel Lachman (1824–1892) as it fell in the ruins of the Great Fire (1906) from the cornice of his firm’s building S.W. corner Market and Fremont Sts. San Francisco." The plaque also bore a clear artist’s signature: H. JAUCHEN.

Earthquake Lachman Head


To read the complete ANS Magazine article, see: Ozymandias in San Francisco: A Medallic Memorial of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 (http://ansmagazine.com/Winter06/Ozymandias)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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