The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 28, July 1, 2012, Article 20


Harry Waterson's latest research led him to the town of Cranford, NJ in search of a rare medal by Julio Kilenyi. This article was published in a local newspaper. Can anyone help? -Editor

cranford-civic-award-medal-by-julio-kilenvi Nearly 90 years ago Cranford Police Officer James Manning was honored for pursuing and capturing a speeding driver who had run down – and nearly killed – his fellow police officer, Edward Metzner, on the roads of Cranford.

On Dec. 14, 1922, Officer Manning was presented with the Cranford Civic Award Medal, an exquisite bronze medal crafted by famous medal sculptor Julio Kilenyi (1885-1959). Kilenyi was an American of Hungarian birth and descent who had sculpted medals for many notable occasions, including the 1932 Olympics and the opening of the George Washington Bridge in 1927. His medals are part of the collections of, among others, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. Today the whereabouts of this one-of-a-kind object are unknown. Numismatist Harry Waterson of Branson, Mo., a historian who studies medals and coins, has been dedicated to cataloging Kalenyi's medals since 2001. He's determined to find this medal.

"Kalenyi has produced many outstanding sculptures, and the Cranford Civic Award Medal was truly one of this artist's even better efforts," Waterson said. The historian has conducted extensive research, including working with the Cranford Historical Society, which "has been very helpful," he says. "They do not have an example of the medal and have exhausted their resources in trying to find one...I am hoping that a story in the Chronicle might help flush one out."

The medal awarded to Officer Manning expresses the idylls of Cranford: The front displays the Rahway River and the Cranford Casino, surrounded by beautiful oak trees, and the back displays the personification of Victory (a woman holding a scroll revealing "Civic Award" in her left hand).

The awarding of the medal was reported in the Cranford Chronicle on Dec. 14, 1922. "The medal is about the same size as a silver dollar and bears the inscription 'James Manning: Exceptional Courage, December, 1922'," the article states.

Various coin shops in the Cranford area have been contacted as well, but no one has yet been able to locate the Cranford Civic Award Medal. Should anyone have any information about this valuable piece of Cranford history, contact Waterson at or 417-336-9417.

To read the complete article, see: Historian searches for nearly century-old Cranford relic (

I asked Harry about his research and he provided the following background. Thanks, and good luck! -Editor

I am compiling a catalog of the medals of Julio Kilenyi and this piece has turned out to be especially elusive. The only picture of it is in the Feb, 1923 issue of The Numismatist. On the 1st of May I called Andy Dickes the Collection Manager at the ANA but he has so far not turned up an example in the ANA collection. My assumption being that deLagerberg gave a specimen to the ANA in 1922.

Kilenyi must have thought well of the piece because he exhibited it twice. It was in the 1922 Winter Exhibit at the National Academy of Design and the 1923 National Sculpture Society Exhibition at the ANS. After exhausting all the usual sources I decided to cast the net as wide as I could and dropped a note to the editor of the Cranford Chronicle. He assigned the story to Rebecca Lugara who wrote the fine article you found. I am very grateful for her writing and to her editor for publishing what she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Alpha Chi Omega Plaquette was one phone call to the archivist of the fraternity, Vicky Harrison, and I had all the information. She sent me excerpts from their in house publications, two examples to study, and a list of awardees to date. On the list was Condoleezza Rice in 1990, and it is being awarded again this month at the Alpha Chi Omega convention in St. Louis July 13-16. Over time, the plaquette has been struck by at least four different makers and one of them replaced Kilenyi's name with their own. Vicky Harrison wrote me that she plans to restore Kilenyi's name on the plaquette the next time it is awarded. I did not solicit that but it pleased me greatly.

I am hopeful the Chronicle article will be successful and flush out the story of the Cranford Civic Award and possibly even an example. I really want to see what Kilenyi was obviously so proud of.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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