Regarding Dick Doty's question about a medal in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian, NBS president Dan Freidus writes:
This may not really help Dick in his hunt to identify the Lincoln medal illustrated in last week's E-Sylum, but might be a useful hint for other researchers. When faced with a case like this, where I know there is an old reference in the field that might be online, I find an online search is often quicker than using my own library.
In this case, I knew of Zabriskie's work on Lincoln medals so I found an online version using Google. Archive.org is the site I chose to use since they often have multiple file formats. In this case, they have an online version with both page images and searchable text.
A quick search for "hand" or "1863" suggests it's not listed in Zabriskie (which is what I expected). But this all took under a minute while scanning the entire 28 pages of text on paper would have taken longer even if the book was already sitting on my desk.
Here's the link:
Ed Hohertz writes:
Could the medal have come from the Robert Hewitt Jr. collection?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Hewitt, Jr. was a successful real estate investor in Manhattan, New York, and a notable numismatist. Hewitt began collecting coins as a young man while serving a mercantile apprenticeship and compiled a comprehensive Abraham Lincoln medal collection considered by numismatists as one of the greatest of its kind. In 1908, Hewitt produced a medal to commemorate the centennial birth of Abraham Lincoln. Hewitt commissioned sculptor Jules Edouard Roiné of Paris for the design and the medal "offered a stinking frontal bust in high relief."
In 1918, Mrs. Hewitt donated the Robert Hewitt Lincoln collection to the U.S. National Museum (Smithsonian Institution). At the time of donation, the U.S. National Museum reported that the collection included "1,200 specimens of medallic souvenirs of President Lincoln, and includes medallions, plaques, medals, medalets, coins, tokens, and…campaign" items. Hewitt's extensive collection of Lincolniana provided both an important historical and artistic view of Lincoln.
In addition, Hewitt founded the important numismatic group the Circle of Friends of the Medallion in 1909 with other medal enthusiasts and produced the first privately created medal series in America. Also, Hewitt served as the Corresponding Secretary of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society (currently the American Numismatic Society) in 1868-69 and the Second Vice President in 1880-84.
Dick Doty writes:
Thanks for the idea, but both specimens were labeled FIC - found in collection, which is our polite way of saying we have no idea where they came from!
Ed Hohertz continues:
This medal was reported in 'Lincoln in Numismatics' in the Numismatist by Robert P. King and reprinted by the Token and Medal Society in 1966. Unfortunately, no date is given for the casting of the medal. The original articles ran in 1924, 1927 and 1933.
#228. Obv., On a plain field a clothed, bearded bust of Lincoln facing right.
Rev., An open hand is extended, showing broken shackles; above, in large figures, the date, "1863". Symbolic of the negro race, made free by the Proclamation of Emancipation signed January 1, 1863.
Copper (cast). Size 82 mm.
It is not listed by the 1863 date in the Biographical Dictionary of Medalists.
Dick Doty adds:
Thanks! Thing is, we wanted to use it in an upcoming book of Civil War-related objects, but if it's nowhere near the date it bears (and I don't think it is), then it can't be included. Pity; it's dramatic.
Thanks, everyone. Nice medal nonetheless.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: LINCOLN MEDAL ORIGIN SOUGHT
Wayne Homren, Editor
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