Patrick McMahon, Director of Exhibitions and Design at the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston submitted the following notes on the leather medal pouch described in the last two issues.
Unfortunately family obligations kept me from attending the COAC conference and I hadn't seen an image of the Saint-Gaudens leather pouch until you ran it this week. You mentioned it in the summary of the conference the week before but it wasn't until I saw the actual image that the bell went off. We have one of these too.
The American Numismatic Society pouch
Our pouch came with a medal inside of it and the wear pattern on the pouch is consistent with the medal that was inside. But sadly we don't have — and we have never had — one of the inaugural medals. But like the ANS's example, there is a Louis St. Gaudens connection.
Our medal is Louis's Franklin Bicentennial Medal from 1906. It was purchased by Cornelius Vermeule at Christie's New York (Sale 6652, September 20, 1988) and given to our museum in 1989. It came with the pouch but the pouch is not illustrated or mentioned in the sale catalogue. There is a picture of both on our website if you enter the accession number 1989.843a-b into the search box under in the collections section:
The Museum of Fine Arts pouch
In the correspondence in our file Cornelius says that the pouch was designed by Augustus at the time he was working on the Eagle and the Double Eagle and that it was used for this medal. There is nothing else in the file to say where he got that information or whether or not he was speculating. But it does seem possible (since the brothers worked so closely together) that this pouch is for Louis's commission and not Augustus's. Perhaps it was used for both.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
SAINT-GAUDENS' 1905 ROOSEVELT INAUGURATION MEDAL LEATHER POUCH
Wayne Homren, Editor
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