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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 46, November 15, 2009, Article 14

SUPPORTING THE MEDALLIC MEANING OF CLICHÉ.

Dick Johnson submitted this response to our discussion of the word "cliché". -Editor

First, I sincerely thank Serge Pelletier and Joe Boling for responding to my article defining cliché (which appeared in E-Sylum two weeks ago. As can be assumed, the word might be obscure to numismatists, but certainly not to medallists.

Dick Hanscom, whose inquiry launched the discussion on cliché, stated he could not find the word in Doty's or Carlton's dictionaries. True, these authors overlooked the word. Perhaps they had not encountered it that often. It is widely used, however, among medallists.

It is listed in Frey's Dictionary of Numismatic Names (page 50). Frey introduces the concept that the term is applied to electrotypes, and for the reason to show these side-by-side. I did mention this same reason in my article but did not mention electrotypes. All electrotypes are made one-sided (and joined to form a two sided item). Thus cliché could be applied to any electrotype before it is joined (but loses this distinction when so joined). Thus I omitted that concept in my article.

A TRUE cliché is what I defined in the article: Two blanks struck at the same time. I stand by every word in that article. It is this concept used by medallists.

Serge Pellletier mentioned the electrotype concept of cliché, his other definition is a lead proof or lead impression, splasher. This could be considered a lead cliché. So he is correct in his two statements in the broader use of the term.

On the other hand Joe Boling's definition of cliché's use in stereotyping is a homonym. Different meaning but spelled and pronounced the same. Here he also introduced cliché as a hackneyed phrase, another homonym of cliché. These are the etymologies you find in standard lexiconographies and dictionaries.

I did not have my tongue in cheek as suggested by Joe when I recounted the origin of the word tied to the sound of the press in striking true clichés in early days with the use of the screw press. My source is ironclad on that. After spending hundreds of hours in a pressroom in a medal manufacturing plant it is easy to connect the sound of the press to the product of a press. Thus the birth of the use of the term KLE-SHAY (the sound an early press made) with cliché.

All that does not eliminate the unique use of cliché among medallists, and I believe that is what Dick Hanscom was asking about. And that is what I wrote about in that article. I stand by every word in that article.

I appreciate two great numismatists commenting on this term. I hope they can accept the medallic concept of this word in what I defined in that article. Thank you, gentlemen.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON CLICHÉS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n44a07.html)



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Wayne Homren, Editor

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