David Fanning forwarded this press release about a blockbuster lot in their upcoming New York numismatic literature sale. Thanks!
KOLBE & FANNING TO OFFER RARE PAMPHLETS BY AUGUSTIN DUPRÉ IN THEIR NEW YORK AUCTION
Among the highlights of Kolbe & Fanning’s January 10 New York Book Auction is an exceptional volume of pamphlets by Augustin Dupré regarding his
role in French coinage, from the library of the author. The volume, lot 112 in the sale, comprises five publications by Dupré, some of them annotated
in his own hand. The volume as a whole is inscribed by Narcisse Dupré, son of Augustin, and is in an early 19th-century binding.
The five pamphlets are a remarkable source of information on Dupré’s efforts on behalf of the redesign of French coinage during and after the
Revolution. Three of them consist of versions of his Observations présentées au comité des monnoies de l’assemblée nationale (1790), with the
first two versions being annotated by Dupré in anticipation of the printing of the final edition. The volume also includes Dupré’s 1791 Réponse à
l’écrit de M. Beyerlé ... dénonçant la fabrication des pièces de 15 sols and a 1792 publication written with Bertrand Verlac, Observations
rélatives au Mémoire que la Commission générale des monnoyes...
Dupré (1748-1833), remains one of the most important engravers of French coins in modern history, and his designs for early U.S. medals (mostly
notably the Libertas Americana) have ensured his lasting fame in the western hemisphere. An engraver by trade, Dupré began to work on medals in the
early 1770s and quickly became adept. Notable works include several classic medals of the Comitia Americana series: those for Nathanael Greene, John
Paul Jones and Daniel Morgan, as well as the related Diplomatic Medal and the Libertas Americana medal.
During the French Revolution, he became interested in applying his ideas to the new national coinage. Dupré wrote his October 1790
Observations addressed to the Comité des Monnoies de l’Assemblée Nationale. In early 1791, the Assembly adopted some of Dupré’s ideas and
initiated a contest for new coin designs under the eye of painter Louis David. Dupré won the competition and became the 14th graveur général des
monnaies on July 11, 1791. His neoclassical designs would win him fame and admiration that continue to this day.
Dupré’s rise to prominence in a period of political upheaval made him enemies, and he was seriously threatened during the Terror when he was
denounced by one Beyerlé, who accused Dupré of producing inferior coinage. In Dupré’s Réponse, he not only defends himself, but insists on
reforms he had proposed earlier. The final work present in the volume was written with Bertrand Verlac, an influential "homme de loi" and functionary
with the Ministry of the Navy. It is a detailed response to a report to the Convention Nationale on the redesign of the coinage. Written at the
height of the Revolution, it is an important statement of Dupré’s beliefs and artistic vision.
All five of these works are rare, being known primarily from institutional holdings and being virtually unknown on the secondary market. They were
generally unheard of by modern numismatists until the April 2, 2014 sale of the Dupré archives by Bonhams in New York, of which this was part.
Kolbe & Fanning’s public auction will be held on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The sale will be
held in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention. Printed catalogues have been mailed to established clients. A PDF of the
catalogue has been posted to the Kolbe & Fanning website at www.numislit.com. Prospective bidders may also access the live online catalogue and
register to bid through auction.numislit.com. Please contact David Fanning at email@example.com for more information.
I passed the press release on to Joel Orosz today for comment. -Editor
This archive provides an extraordinary opportunity to learn, at first-hand, the numismatic philosophy and coinage artistry of one of the seminal
influencers of American numismatics, Augustin Dupré. One of Dupré's countrymen, Jacques Barzun, famously wrote, in God's Country and
Mine, "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball." I would say that whoever wants to know the heart
and mind of early American coinage had better learn about Dupré.
Amen! Congratulations in advance to the new owner of this numismatic treasure. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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