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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 19, May 9, 2010, Article 23

QUERY: FRANCIS SHALLUS, PHILADELPHIA ENGRAVER

American Gold 1700-1860 While sorting thru some things in my library recently, I came across a copy of "American Gold 1700-1800", a 1963 monograph by Peter Bohan based on a loan exhibition. While the exhibit focused on everyday objects such as snuff boxes, spoons, thimbles, rings and belt buckles, the monograph is in my library because of the medals. Three are illustrated and about eight in all are listed.

Two of the medals are attributed to Philadelphia engraver Francis Shallus. Has his medallic work been documented elsewhere? I was unable to find a single entry related to Shallus in NIP, the Numismatic Indexes Project.

Medal by Francis Shallus, 1807

One of the medals is dated 1807. The inscription "MRS RIVARDI'S SEM PHILADELPHIA 1807" refers to "Mrs. Rivardi's Seminary". On the obverse the name of Victorine Dupont de Nemours is inscribed. Victorine (1792-1861) was the daughter of E.I. du Pont. The medal was loaned to the exhibit from the Winterthur Museum.

Masonic Medal by Francis Shallus, 1812

The other Shallus piece is a Masonic medal dated 1812. It was lent by the Henry Ford museum. Below are a couple Internet references I found on Shallus. It's interesting to see his connection to Robert Scot. Can anyone tell us more about him, or provide images of his medals? The images in the monograph are small and unclear.

From "Ann Shallus's Circulating Library" by Karen Nipps (Library Company of Philadelphia), originally published in Journal of Library History, vol. 26, no. 4 (Spring 1991): 608-610.

Francis Shallus, engraver of the Shallus's Circulating Library bookplates, is first listed in the Philadelphia city directory as an engraver in 1797. Francis, son of Jacob Shallus (believed to be the scrivener who engrossed the United States Constitution), was a reputable craftsman and an active participant in Philadelphia's lively literary and publishing circles.

He is noted for being a principal engraver For Thomas Dobson's acclaimed 18-volume Encyclopaedia (1798), Benjamin Smith Barton's ground-breaking Elements of Botany (1803), and numerous other plate books; he did all forty-one plates for the 1818 Philadelphia edition of The Voyages of Captain Cook.

He engraved city views, maps, and atlases and also has been identified as the engraver of a number of medals, including ones for the Philadelphia Typographic Society and the Masons. He producer innumerable engraved trade cards and bookplates by fellow Philadelphians. He also executed aquatints and even tried his hand at publishing.

To read the complete article, see: Ann Shallus's Circulating Library (www.gslis.utexas.edu/~landc/bookplates/28_3_Shallus.htm)

From "A Checklist of the Work of Francis Shallus, Philadelphia Engraver" by Mary E. Holt, Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 4, (1968), pp. 143-158

During the 1790's Shallus worked for, and may have been apprenticed to, Robert Scot, the first engraver employed by the Philadelphia Mint.

To read the complete article, see: A Checklist of the Work of Francis Shallus (www.jstor.org/pss/1180492)

So, who caught the name of a famous U.S. numismatist on that Masonic medal? Who can tell us more about him? The date of the medal doesn't make sense to me, though - this must be a different person with the same name. Could it be the father of Mark Wilkes Collet (June 2, 1826 May 3, 1863)? -Editor

THE BOOK BAZARRE

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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