The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 9, February 26, 2017, Article 24


In last week's issue I mentioned the book The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio. It made me wonder if there were many interesting medals relating to Shakespeare. Here are a few I found on the internet. Can anyone provide others, or identify a numismatic reference? Has anyone every built a collection or compiled a catalog of Shakespeare medals? -Editor

Dassier's Shakespeare Medal

Dassier's Shakespeare Medal obverse Dassier's Shakespeare Medal reverse

DASSIER, Jean: England, ca.1733, Bronze, 43 mm Obv: Bust of Shakespeare (Facing) GUILIELMUS SHAKESPEARE. Rev: Mountainscape with meandering river WILD ABOVE RULE OR ART Exergue: NAT.1564. From Jean Dassier's Series, The British Worthies. Ref: Med. Ill. i, 208/42; Forrer I, p.516 (Illustrated); Eisler I, 283/1; Thompson 39/01; Weiss BW372

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was the most celebrated poet and playwright of his time. His plays became known throughout the world and praised for their insight and use of the English language. Shakespeare was baptized at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. His father, John Shakespeare, was a burgess of the borough, who in 1565 was chosen an alderman and in 1568 bailiff. William married Anne Hathaway of Stratford at the age of 18. It is not clear how his career in the theater began, but from about 1594 onward he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain's company of players (called the King's Men after the accession of James I in 1603). They had the best actor, Richard Burbage; they had the best theater, the Globe; and they had the best dramatist, Shakespeare. He died in 1616 at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The portrait on Dassier's medal is taken from the Chandos picture, now in the National Gallery. The reverse is intended to characterize the genius and structure of the poet's works, coinciding with Johnson's opinion, 'The composition of Shakespeare is a forest in which oaks extend their branches, pines tower in the air, interspersed sometimes with weeds and brambles, and sometimes giving shelter to myrtles and roses, filling the eye with awful pomp and gratifying the mind with endless variety'. (from Thompson, p.39).

To read the complete article, see:

Boydell's Shakespeare Medal

Boydell's Shakespeare Medal

Thomas Banks' sculpture shown here on a medal. These medals were given to those who subscribed to an edition of Boydell's Shakespeare, 1803

To read the complete article, see:
William Shakespeare between Tragedy and Comedy (

1816 Garrick Stratford Jubilee Medal

1816 Garrick Stratford Jubilee Medal

Back in 1769 a bronze medal had been struck by Westwood of Birmingham to celebrate the Garrick Jubilee in Stratford. In 1816 when the first celebration was held on Shakespeare’s birthday, a handsome bill proclaimed that “A beautiful medal… manufactured by Otley & Dowler of Birmingham, representing the Immortal Shakespeare was available in Stratford from Mr Ward. ”

Birmingham continued to supply medals to commemorate Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations, and several examples are shown on the Windows on Warwickshire website. Gentlemen from Birmingham were members of the Shakespearean Club, and took part in the annual celebrations held in Stratford.

To read the complete article, see:
Shakespeare connections: Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham (

1864 Shakespeare Tercentenary Medal

1864 Shakespeare Tercentenary Medal obverse 1864 Shakespeare Tercentenary Medal reverse

Medal struck to celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of Shakespeare. The obverse features the bust of Shakespeare facing left and the inscription 'WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE BORN APRIL 23.1564. DIED APRIL 23.1616'. The reverse features an image of Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon with the inscription 'BIRTHPLACE OF THE/ IMMORTAL BARD/ STRATFORD ON/ AVON'. The inscription around the outside reads 'TERCENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF SHAKESPEARE/ APRIL 1864'.

To read the complete article, see:
Shakespeare Medal (

1964 Shakespeare 400th Anniversary Medal

1964 Shakespeare 400th Anniversary Medal obverse

A bronze medal commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, 1964. Made in the Soviet Union, designed by I. Daragan.

Marks & inscriptions
inscription : : obverse : head of Shakespeare to left, Globe Theatre in background right : 1564-1964 THE GLOBE, inscription : : reverse : lines from sonnet 54 as translated into Russian by Samuil Marshak (1887-1964) : Prekrasnoe prekrasnej vo sto krat, uvenchannoe pravdoj dragotsennoj (The beautiful is a hundred times as beautiful crowned by the precious truth), inscription : : reverse : Quotation from Sonnet 54 : O HOW MUCH MORE DOTH BEAUTY BEAUTEOUS SEEM/BY THAT SWEET ORNAMENT WHICH TRUTH DOTH GIVE, inscription : : reverse : William Shakespeare transliterated into Russian :,

To read the complete article, see:
Commemorative Shakespeare medal (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Kraljevich E-sylum ad22 Mickley

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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