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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 9, February 28, 2010, Article 18

THE MICHAEL HALL COLLECTION OF RENAISSANCE AND LATER MEDALS

The News-Antique.com web site has a lengthy article about the upcoming sale of the Michael Hall Collection of renaissance and later medals. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

American born Art collector and connoisseur, Michael Hall, is to sell his exceptional collection of renaissance and later medals in three parts through London based coin dealer and numismatic auction house, A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. Michael Hall has a phenomenal expertise and an enormous breadth of knowledge and appreciation of art across the spectrum. He has inspired top curators and helped enhance a surprising number of museum collections with subject matter ranging from European tapestry to classical bronze sculpture.

His interest in the artistic nature of numismatics began in the early 1930's and was heavily influenced by his father who introduced him to many of the great exhibitions that have inspired his collections of art and medals. From early childhood Michael was collecting coinage and was inspired by sculptural artists. He was drawn to the truly international style of American born memorial artist and medallist Augustus Saint-Gaudens who famously designed the iconic twenty-dollar "double-eagle" for the US mint in 1905-1907, which is still considered the most attractive American coin.

Michael has owned several versions of his Diana in bronze which he describes as ‘svelte and magical' as well as his medallion of Robert Louis Stevenson that depicts an ailing Stevenson propped up in bed writing. He and his father continued to collect American coins in all denominations for more than twenty years. Described as French ‘but still so very American'

In 1945 Michael went to study at UCLA, but really only ever wanted to establish a career in the film industry. His first job was to be coaching Orson Welles to speak with a proper German accent for [a role] in 1946. Shortly afterwards Michael was cast in his most famous role as the son of Frederic March and Myrna Loy in the famous film "Best Years of Our Lives".

On the day of the premier he remembers an invitation for his father and himself to join President Harry S. Truman for lunch at the White House where he had a charming encounter with Mamie Eisenhower who afterwards dropped the duo at the National Gallery. He describes this as ‘a magic and momentous day in my young life', and one that would shape his numismatic future. It was there that Michael first encountered the magnificent Kress medal collection.

He and his father were gravitated to a dark room sparkling with captivating metallic medals of the early Italian Renaissance. From then on his attention and passion guided him towards collecting these wonderful miniature masterpieces of sculpture. They stayed for hours gazing at the collection until the museum closed and they dressed to got to the premier.

The collection included pieces by the celebrated artist and medallist, Pisanello. Michael describes seeing the artists work for the first time, ‘Pisanello's genius, his brilliant use of perspective in miniature bas relief pleased us more than any American coin ever had.' Antonio Pisano, called Pisanello, is heralded as the originator of the modern medal and is perhaps its greatest advocate of that form of art. Born in Italy in 1395 he was one of the most eminent painters of the early Renaissance and is famous mainly for his portraits and depictions of animals.

To read the complete article, see: The Michael Hall Collection (http://www.news-antique.com/?id=790851)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BALDWINS TO AUCTION MICHAEL HALL COLLECTION OF RENAISSANCE MEDALS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n51a26.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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