The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 18, May 1, 2005, Article 12


Dick Johnson writes: "In response to Larry Mitchell’s item in
last week’s E-Sylum, our opinions differ on the utility of his
recommended reference work on engravers. Stauffer, Fielding
& Gage's "American Engravers Upon Copper & Steel" just
does not cover the field adequately.

Stauffer concentrated on engravers of prints and engraved
plates. Thus he lists "flat engravers" and the only coin and
medal engravers (that is, diesinkers) were those who did
both forms of engraving. (I have faced this problem
throughout my research in this field.)

Fielding is excellent and went trough three editions before it was
added to Stauffer and Gage for the three-volume 1994 edition
Larry recommends. Fielding’s best edition was published in 1965
by James F. Carr for the additions and corrections from the
catalog card notations in the New York Public Library. Fielding
was also used as a basis for the Opitz directory published in 1984.

All of these however – Stauffer, Fielding, Gage and Opitz –
have all been supplanted by the monumental work of Falk
(see below).

Among 806 books listed in the bibliography for my upcoming
coin and medal artists directory I list 33 directories of artists,
and 19 directories of engravers. (Most of these have fewer
than 100 coin and medal artists cited.)

Here are some statistics on the number of citations to artists
of selected published works of these 49 directories in my
databank compared to my total number:

Johnson 3,356
Falk 1,035
Fielding 367
Groce & Wallace 306
Pessolano-Filos 262
Kenney 144
Stauffer 19.

Stauffer is among the lowest of the group. (Although I must
admit he includes all the early paper money engravers which I
do not cover and not included in this count.)

In contrast, my directory so far lists 3,356 artists of
American diesinkers, engravers, medalists and sculptors
of coins and medals.

Falk is highly recommended. His directory, "Who Was Who
in American Art" contains 65,000 American artists in three
volumes. Among those are the 1,035 coin and medal artists.
It is fairly recent, published 1999, but is rather expensive,
$300. Without question it is worth it for the extensive coverage
and determined scholarship with facts you will not easily find
elsewhere. (I have an extra set, mint in unopened box, if anyone
is interested.) Falk’s new publishing firm will publish my

Fielding was comprehensive and fairly accurate. Once it was
out of copyright it was merged and updated in the three works
listed above.

Groce & Wallace cuts off at the Civil War, it lists only American
artists prior to 1864 with 306 coin and medal artists listed.

Pessolano-Filos concentrates on U.S. Mint engravers and coin
designers. All 262 are cited, but the compiler was a little loose
with his facts. (Wayne Homren has copies for sale.)

Kenney’s work was published in Coin Collector’s Journal and
reprinted as a separate pamphlet. He listed 105 coin engravers.
Thanks to the ANS I had access to Kenney’s manuscript card
file for an additional 39 more artists.

Larry’s recommendation of Stauffer, Fielding & Gage sells for
about $125. My directory will have ten times as many artists
listed – with brief biography, full list of their work, extensive
citations to auction sales, numismatic and art references, plus
a bibliography of each artist – at a fraction of that cost.

In the meantime buy a Falk if you can afford it, a Fielding if
you must, and one or two of the others, but just forget Stauffer.

I will repeat the offer I have made earlier in E-Sylum. Until my
directory gets published, I will offer to supply a printout of the
artist entry in my databank on any one artist, particularly for
someone who is researching an American coin and medal
artist. My rules are as follows: if less than six lines I will send
this by email; over six lines I will print out and mail. (Send your
address.) If over five pages (2 ounces) I charge for postage.
Some artists are embargoed because of file size (example:
Victor D. Brenner is 40 pages long). The information is for
your personal use. You cannot photocopy or give the
information to another person. Contact me at:
dick.johnson at "

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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