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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 30, July 25, 2010, Article 12

ROBERT READY AND SONS, ELECTROTYPISTS

Last week Charley Marsteller asked about Robert Ready and his sons, who were electrotypists for the British Museum in the late 19th-early 20th Centuries. As usual, E-Sylum came through with some great information. -Editor

Dick Johnson writes:

The British Museum hired a sealmaker, Robert Cooper Ready (1811-1901) in 1859 to make copies of coins, medals, seals and gems in their collections. He started replicating these by casting but quickly turned to electroforming -- then a new technology -- to make the objects because of the sharper detail he could obtain by this process. Forrer called him a pioneer in reproducing coins and medals by electrotype.

In his lifetime Ready made over 22,000 of these objects. He trained his sons, Augustus P. Ready and Charles Ready, to carry on after him. They continued these replications for another decade into the 20th century.

Dozens of authors have written on electrotypes in the numismatic field --both those made in museums and made privately -- in addition to the technical electroforming literature in the metalcasting field. I have attached a 3-page list of these to be forward to Charley Marsteller for his research.

Jim Duncan of New Zealand provided Charley with a copy of an article he'd written on the Readys in 1991 for MINTMARK, a publication of the Numismatic Society of Auckland. In it he quotes the entry on Ready in Forrer's Encyclopedia:

“READY, ROBERT COOPER. (Brit) modeller, and sigillarist and electrotypist, born at Norwich, 28 June 1811; died at Camden Town, London, 15 May 1901.

From his early youth he had a penchant for medieval seals and in the ‘40s he found himself relying entirely on the work in connection with these and kindred objects of glyptic art. He worked in Norwich and Cambridge, and finally combined his private practice with an appointment which he took up at the British Museum in 1859 and held until within 4 weeks of his decease. He was a pioneer in the work of reproducing coins and medals by the electrotype process, and had among his clientele several of the Royal Houses of Europe.

A medallic portrait of him was modelled in 1879 by G A Carter, and the gem engraver Luigi Isler cut his intaglio portrait.”

Philip Mernick writes:

Harry Manville's Encyclopedia of British Numismatics, Volume IV (2009) has quite a lot of information on Robert Cooper Ready and sons Charles Joseph, Augustus Papworth, and William Talbot Ready.

Charley adds:

I have just located a book by B.V. Head "A Guide to the Select Greek and Roman Coins Exhibited in Electrotype" published by the Department of Coins and Medals sometime before 1923 (exact date not listed).

It says in the introduction: "Mr.Ready, Electrotypist, British Museum, supplies single electotypes (obverse and reverse) of any of the coins described in this Guide [790 coins], at 2s. 6d. each [I was born too late!]. Complete sets for museums, schools, &c, classified and labeled, in cases lined with velvet, as in the British Museum, can also be obtained from him."

No doubt Mr.Ready would deliver them personally to you, also!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: ROBERT READY AND SONS, ELECTROTYPISTS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n29a13.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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