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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 3, January 18, 2009, Article 11


I belong to a lot of numismatic organizations, and one journal I particularly look forward to is The Canadian Numismatic Journal, the official publication of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association.

Edited by Dan Gosling, the journal always has an array of articles on an interesting mix of topics. The January/February 2009 issue has an article on a topic we discussed earlier in The E-Sylum - the late sculptor Dora de Pédery-Hunt. With permission, I'm publishing a few excerpts and images from From Exploring Dora - The Art of Dora de Pédery-Hunt [1913–2008] by Henry Nienhuis in the issue of -Editor

On September 29, 2008 the artistic world's light dimmed with the loss of a brilliant talent. At the same time the Canadian numismatic community lost a great medalist, perhaps the greatest our country has known.

In 1958, Alan Jarvis was instrumental in Dora receiving a $700 Canada Council grant to go to Europe for six months. This trip had a profound effect on her career direction. “It got me started”, she later confided. While in Europe she visited the World Exposition in Brussels.

There she was inspired by a fabulous collection of art medals exhibited in the Hungarian Pavilion. For an emerging artist, the field of miniature sculpture in the form of medals, small figures and plaques was ideal – not only was it very practical and cost effective to work with, it was also an untapped, if not under-developed, art form in Canada. In European countries, medal-making is included in the basic training of an art student; and medals are widely collected and constitute an important component of national art collections.

This was not yet the case in Canada, but de Pédery-Hunt would change this. One of her first commissions was a cast bronze medal she created for the Canada Council in 1961. She was a very prolific artist, creating hundreds of medals—many as private commissions, but many others were to celebrate her friends and family occasions. To give examples of the diversity, the National Medal Collection of Canada, housed in the National Archives in Ottawa, holds nearly five hundred examples of de Pédery-Hunt's work.

Throughout her success she remained kind-hearted with a great sense of humour, willing to donate her talents to a worthy cause.

One such example of de Pédery-Hunt's benevolence is the magnificently hand-detailed 1981 C.N.A. Convention medal; she donated her time and talent to design the medal as a favour to the incoming president, John Regitko, and the C.N.A.

Another example is the S.O.B. Numismatists* medal she created for Jack Veffer's tongue-in cheek society promoting camaraderie among numismatists. De Pédery-Hunt volunteered her talents to create an appropriately hairy medal, the only cost to Jack was dinner and the casting charges for each medal.

*For those who are not aware, S.O.B. stood for the Society Of Bearded Numismatists, the brain-child of Jack Veffer (ex. C.N.A. President) and Col. Grover Criswell. According to rumour, the society was the result of a discussion between Veffer and Criswell, one evening during an ANA convention, on ways to put fun back into an all too serious hobby. The society was founded about the same time that the bar closed for the evening.
Canada QEII by Dora Hunt

In 1967 she submitted a design for the Canadian centennial commemorative coinage. Her design was not chosen. Nor were her designs for the 1970 or the 1971 commemorative silver dollars. However, in 1976 her submitted design was chosen for the reverse of the Olympic 100-dollar commemorative gold coin.

She also designed the 1986 International Year of Peace 100-dollar gold commemorative coin.

Probably the most well known of her coinage designs is the obverse design for Queen Elizabeth II, often referred to as the mature or diademed portrait, which graced all Canadian coins for 14 years, from 1990 to 2003

I'd heard of the Society Of Bearded Numismatists, but wasn't aware of the medal. Interesting, and nicely done. Do any of our readers have this medal? R.U. an S.O.B Numismatist? -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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