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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 22, May 28, 2017, Article 26

SAWYER NATIVE AMERICANS MEDAL GALVANOS

E-Sylum readers may be familiar with the magnificent uniface Native American medallic portraits by Edward Warren Sawyer. The Bonham's June 5, 2017 auction contains ganvanos used in the production of two of these iconic medals. Here are the lot descriptions. -Editor

GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO medal GALVANO OF SUNKA-HANSKA-OGLALA-SIOUX medal
Lots 264, 265

Lot 264: GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO

EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO
70 mm diameter, 93 mm diameter with frame. CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO around. At bottom left, GANADADO/ARIZONA/SAWYER/1904. One of the most famous medal series, but also one that no collector owns, is the series of Indian bas-relief portraits by sculptor Edward Warren Sawyer. The series is known simply as "Sawyer's Indians." They are known only in museums!

Sculptor Edward Warren Sawyer (1876-1932) in the early years of the 20th century traveled to the American West to live among the tribes of the American Indians. His goal was to capture portraits of prominent Indians. This was not an easy task as the Indians believed such reproductions also captured their spirit, thus they disliked, even prohibited, being photographed. Sawyer had to first gain their confidence – by living amongst them – then gently urging his chosen model to sit for him. Perhaps that action didn't seem to extract the sprit from the body he was modeling with his clay. It was not like a photograph. His subject could see the slow progress in replicating his features and his adornment in the slowly mounting clay. The result is a body of work unlike any other in American history or portraiture! Sawyer captured more than forty Indian images in highly realistic glyptic detail. They are preserved in two American museums – The Smithsonian Institution in their Numismatic Division Collections, and the American Numismatic Society – but notably, neither has the complete series,

To read the complete lot description, see:
EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO (https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24153/lot/264/)

Lot 265: GALVANO OF SUNKA-HANSKA-OGLALA-SIOUX

EDWARD WARREN SAWYER GALVANO OF SUNKA-HANSKA-OGLALA-SIOUX

70 mm medal, 93 mm diameter with frame. Obverse inscribed SUNKA-HANSKA-OGLALA-SIOUX around. Below left, MANDERSON/SO.DAKOTA/1912. To right, SAWYER. Housed in old wooden custom circular frame.

Edward Warren sawyer was a prominent sculptor and medalist born in Chicago March 17, 1876. He moved to Paris in 1912 and died in Toulon, France July 16, 1932. He is noted for preparing more than forty American Indian "bas-reliefs" from 13 Indian tribes. This example is one of a number of reliefs produced by the Medallic Art Company in galvano form for the artist. Sawyer exhibited five of these reliefs at the National Academy of Design, 1907, and nine at the International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals at the American Numismatic Society, 1910. One of his Sioux Indian Portraits was exhibited at F.I.D.E.M. Stockholm AF6 {1955} but the exhibit catalog did not specify which of the three Sioux portraits was shown. In 1931, he was awarded the J. Sanford Saltus Medal for Medallic Art by the ANS. (About Uncirculated)

To read the complete lot description, see:
EDWARD WARREN SAWYER GALVANO OF SUNKA-HANSKA-OGLALA-SIOUX (https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24153/lot/265/)

These are an amazing series of medals. I've been captivated by their stunning portraits since I first laid eyes on images of them. What an opportunity to acquire a great artwork and unique piece of numismatic history. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ANS PUBLISHES EDWARD SAWYER’S NATIVE AMERICANS MEDALS ONLINE (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n46a12.html)
MORE ON EDWARD SAWYER'S INDIAN MEDALS (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n47a16.html) Archives International sale 42 cover back



Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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