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The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 25, June 19, 2016, Article 12

MORE ON THE HALL OF FAME MEDALS

Hall of Fame for Great Americans cover Regarding the designers of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans medals, Rich Jewell writes:

Harry Waterson was the only one(so far) who discovered the additional sculptor/engraver. Edmondo Quattrocchi did the George Westinghouse sculpture & medal (1955 & 1963).

Good work, Harry, and another example of the the power of The E-Sylum and its knowledgeable readers. Thanks! -Editor

Dick Johnson adds:

Rich Jewell noted some interesting facts about the Hall of Fame series in last week's E-Sylum. There is a reason why two artists did two medals for the series: the Mary Lyons and Gilbert Stewart medals were assigned to Laura Gardin Fraser, who designed and started the models but died before they were finished. Art Director Julius Lauth at Medallic Art Co. selected another artist to finish the models. He choose Karl Gruppe because his style was similar to that of Laura Gardin’s.

I wrote a brief history of the series for Joseph Levine for one of his auction catalogs. This can be found on the Newman Portal. Presidential Coin & Antique Auction #65, March 20, 1999, page 101, lot 543. The lot contained 95 medals in bronze 3-inch size, which sold for $1,800.

Thanks, Dick. Here is the first part of the text of that lot description, takem from the Newman Portal. -Editor

A SET OF NEW YORK UNIVERSITY HALE OF FAME MEDALS, 1963-1975. The Hall of Fame medals have been described by D. Wayne Johnson as, “One of the most popular portrait series of medals in the world. The Hall of Fame series honors the most famous Americans chosen by a select group of judges and sponsored by New York University. The first election was held in 1 896, and elections were held every four years thereafter.”

"Bronze statues of the honorees were installed along the col- onnade at the University’s Morningside Heights campus. In 1962 a coalition was formed to sponsor and market fine art medals to honor these same famous Americans. The coalition consisted of New York University, the owner of the Hall of Fame, the National Sculpture Society, who would furnish at art committee, the Medallic Art Company, which would manufacture the medals, and the Coin and Currency Institute which would market the medals.”

Over the next 1 3 years, 96 medals were created by 42 sculptors, predominantly members of the National Sculpture Society/ While the design was left to the artist, each submission had to pass the approval of the Art Committee composed of at least five of their sculptural peers. Rules for the medal design were simple. It had to be a portrait on the obverse, significant scene from that subject’s accomplishment for the reverse, and the full lettering on either side: Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University.”

"Medals were struck in two sizes. A large 3 inch (76mm) size in bronze only, and a small 1 3/4 inch (44mm) size in bronze and silver. The silver was serially numbered.”

“In the 1980s New York University sold their Morningside Campus to City College of New York. The status of the Hall of Fame was in limbo for awhile. Since that time no elections have been held, no new statues erected or medals issued. However, visitors to New York City can still travel to Morningside Heights and walk the Colonnade, viewing the magnificent statues overlooking the Hudson River. Or they can own a set of a fine art medals created by some of the most talented medalists of the 20th century.” The set of medals offered here are all of the 76mm size and are all in uncirculated condition. Included are 94 of the 96 medals in the series.

To read the Presidential auction catalog, see:
Hard Times Sale (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=511514&AuctionId=511917)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON HALL OF FAME FOR GREAT AMERICANS MEDALS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n24a14.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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