Last week Dave Bowers wrote:
I have an inquiry. In studying a die made for the International Peace Jubilee in Boston in 1872 I cannot decipher the engraverís name, which is reproduced on attached pictures. Can anyone help?
Part of this looks like "RANDALL" to me, but it sure is hard to read. Any other guesses? Anyone know for a fact who the engraver was?
Well, Dick Johnson came through for us, submitting the following.
Dave Bowers sent a scan of a signature on an 1872 International Peace Jubilee shell in last week's E-Sylum asking for the identity of the signature. Editor Homren suggested D. RANDALL.
I searched my databank of American Artists and found a Randall that fit the correct time and place (the Rule of Propinquity). Unfortunately I had no full name nor dates. I had recorded, however, two items by this engraver, both from 1875, and both listed as Holland 4 and 5 from an article in American Journal of Numismatics. This was listed by H.W. Holland in "American Centennial Medals" in the January 1876 issue of AJN.
Also I had a citation by Storer to each of these medals, one in his medical medals, and one in his Massachusetts medals. I had cited that the name had also been recorded by Richard Kennedy in his manuscript cards at the ANS. The name Randall was recorded for only one diesinker in the David Schenkman diesinker archives, recently acquired, but this was for a Randall in Los Angeles decades later. (Rule of Propinquity obviously ruled this out).
But Dave's request sent me deeper into my records. I had compiled a list of all engravers and diesinkers of all kinds and stripes in New England. I had gathered these records for just such an inquiry. Sure enough I found a hit -- Philip G. Randall of Boston. He had been listed in a New England Business Directory of 1875. (Rule of Propinquity proved this was right on target!)
But what were those letters at the end of the name that looked like FNO. FECIT didn't fit. Then I recall how Juniors signed their name in the 19th century JNO.
Sure enough the signature on Dave's piece is P. G. RANDALL JNO for Philip G. Randall of 41 Arch Street, Boston who was active 1872-75.
This does bring me to offer a service to anyone who has an obscure signature, initials or monograms-- on American items only! -- for possible identification. Send a scan, drawing or description as best you can. I will attempt to identify the engraver or sculptor of your numismatic item from my 3,587-artist databank and my other records. Limit 3 at any one time.
If you have a lot to identify buy my book, Monograms of American Medallists, $45 postpaid. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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