The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 31, August 4, 2019, Article 25


Jeremy Bostwick of Numismagram forwarded these interesting selections from his August upload of new medallic art to his website. In addition to the highlights below, one will notice a particular focus upon aviation-themed medals, an array of artistic nude medals and plaques (drawing upon Neo-Classical, Art Deco, and even modern art styles), and a small group of higher grade World War I-related pieces. Please visit for all of the new items. -Editor

Amundsen & Ellsworth silvered bronze Medal

Amundsen-Ellsworth silvered bronze Medal

100668 | NORWAY & UNITED STATES. Roald Amundsen & Lincoln Ellsworth silvered bronze Medal. Issued 1925. Commemorating the northernmost latitude attained by air at that time (72mm, 167.27 g, 12h). By C. Pillet in Paris. Amundsen and Ellsworth placing Norwegian flag upon ice floe; 88º NORD to lower left / AMUNDSEN–ELLSWORTHS • POLFLYVNING • 1925, the Dornier Do J N-25 flying right over cracked ice. Edge: «triangle containing JtB» BRONZE. Joos a.462. Choice About Uncirculated. Pleasing matte surfaces with some scattered marks and scuffs. An extremely rare aviation type, especially in silvered bronze. Ex Michael Joos Collection. $595.

The accomplished explorer Roald Amundsen, having led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1906 and to reach the South Pole in 1911, set out to reach the North Pole in 1925. Accompanied by American Lincoln Ellsworth and four others, Amundsen first attempted to reach the North Pole by air in two Dornier Do J flying boats, the N-24 and N-25. The expedition reached 87º 44' N before landing each plane a few miles apart. In the process, the N-24 was damaged, and required over 3 weeks of repairs, with the crew nearly depleting their rations. The repairs complete, the pair of planes successfully took off and returned to their home base.

The following year, Amundsen led another expedition, this time able to fly over the North Pole in the airship Norge, becoming the first of two men (Oscar Wisting being the other) to reach both geographic poles of the earth. Richard E. Byrd had reached the North Pole by air three days prior, but this feat his long been disputed as Byrd's journal entries appear to have been altered and his actual accomplishment in doubt. This medal commemorates Amundsen's 1925 expedition—though not successful in reaching the North Pole fully, it represented the further north which a journey had reached by air at that time.

An excellent medal, quite spare and desolate like the pole itself. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
100668 | NORWAY & UNITED STATES. Amundsen & Ellsworth silvered bronze Medal. (

Richard E. Byrd Bronze Medal

Richard E. Byrd Bronze Medal

100669 | UNITED STATES. Richard E. Byrd bronze Medal. Issued 1929. Commemorating his (alleged) feat of being the first to reach both the North and South Poles by air (82mm, 206.31 g, 12h). By J. Kilényi and struck by Whitehead-Hoag. Ford trimotor flying right, surmounted by eagle perching right / Head of Byrd left, wearing aviator hat and among the clouds; in five lines below, COMMEMORATING THE CONQUEST OF THE POLES / BY REAR ADMIRAL RICHARD E. BYRD / AND HIS ASSOCIATES / PRESENTED BY / THE AERONAUTICAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF AMERICA; below, two globes featuring the North and South Poles, respectively. Edge: WHITEHEAD-HOAG, light stain. Joos a.635; Marqusee 217. Choice Mint State. Satin brown surfaces. Very rare aviation type. Ex Michael Joos Collection. $795.

One of the most decorated airmen in American history, Richard E. Byrd claimed to have been the first man to reach both of earth's geographic poles by air, but the account of his reaching the North Pole has long since been in doubt. Setting out from Spitsbergen in the Josephine Ford (a Fokker F.VIIa/3m monoplane), Byrd and his co-pilot, Floyd Bennett, allegedly completed their goal in a 15+ hour roundtrip on 9 May 1926. A few days later, fellow explorer Roald Amundsen would reach the North Pole by air with his crew aboard the airship Norge. Byrd returned to the United States a national hero, but doubts began to emerge, as Bennett's apparent confession to a fellow aviator, Bernt Balchen, revealed that they had not, in fact, fully reached the North Pole. Released in 1996, Byrd's journal entries revealed erased coordinates that would belie the claim that the journey was successful. Nevertheless, when Byrd reached the South Pole in 1929, even more fanfare followed as, in the minds of many, he had become the first to reach both poles by air—the cause for the issue of this medal.

Interesting medal, if dubious history. I especially like the obverse. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
100669 | UNITED STATES. Richard E. Byrd bronze Medal. (

Leda and the Swan Plaque

Leda and the Swan Plaque

100739 | FRANCE. Art Deco uniface bronze Plaque. Issued circa 1922. "Lèda et le Cygne" (61x100mm, 282.14 g). By A. H. Lavrillier. Leda left, with knee set upon draped base, being seduced by swan to left / Blank. Edge: «cornucopia» BRONZE. Maier 313. Gem Mint State. Brilliant bronze surfaces, with a charming antiqued nature. An exceptional and classical Art Deco design. $595.

An iconic mythological scene represented since antiquity in various sculptures and paintings, Lavrillier has portrayed it here in the Art Deco form of his time. It portrays a wondrous, erotic dance between Leda (a mortal) and a swan (Zeus, the king of the gods, in disguise).

Unusual subject - a great Art Deco medal. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
100739 | FRANCE. "Lèda et le Cygne" uniface bronze Plaque. (

Boston Whist Gaming Counters

Boston Whist Gaming Counters

100740 | GERMANY. Set of four silver Jetons or Gaming Counters for Boston Whist. Issued circa 1840. By Loos in Berlin.

1). (26mm, 5.57 g, 12h). ICH FORDERE (I bid [the trick]), gentleman seated left at table, with grip of cards and playing an A♤ / SIMPLE; 5•6•7/8•9 above, alternating groups of three and four pellets below. Edge: Plain. Hasselmann 0393 var. (brass).

2). (26mm, 5.53 g, 12h). SIE MACHEN FARBE (you reveal the trump), gentleman seated right at table, laying down his grip of cards / DOUBLE; 3•4• above, group of three and four pellets below. Edge: Plain. Hasselmann 0392 var. (same).

3). (26mm, 5.51 g, 12h). ICH LACHIRE (I send a signal), gentleman seated left at table, revealing his grip of cards to us / TRIPLE; 1•2 above, one and two pellets below. Edge: Plain. Hasselmann 0391 var. (same).

4). (26mm, 5.51 g, 12h). ICH INVITIRE (I invite [you to follow suit]), gentleman seated right at table, with grip of cards and playing uncertain card, possibly a 3♧. Edge: Plain. Hasselmann 0394 var. (same).

All pieces: Mint State. Highly prooflike, with some scattered hairlines and a few spots. Includes metal case. Very rare and interesting piece of gaming history, especially so attractive and with original case. Compare to a similar set, though struck in tin-silver, with more contact marks and rub, and without the case, which realized just under $300 (after buyer's fee) in Höhn 77 (19 April 2013), lot 338. $295.

Whist is a trick-taking game played in pairs and with a standard "French-style" 52 card deck, immensely popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Countless varieties on the standard game exist, one of which is "Boston" whist, which was played in the west outside of Great Britain and involves an element of bidding to further augment skill in gameplay. Due to the nature of scoring, some form of notation was required, and tokens provided a popular means. The various reverses of the present pieces display the point scenarios, while depicting jovial aspects of the game on their obverses. Additionally, containers for the pieces were also produced, allowing the owner to conveniently bring their tokens to the table for use. These sets represent a 19th century analog to a contemporary chip set brought for a spirited night of gameplay.

An interesting and unusual group. -Editor

To read the complete item description, see:
100740 | GERMANY. Set of 4 silver Jetons or Gaming Counters for Boston Whist. (

E-Sylum Rare Coin Strategies ad01 1st Issue Free

Wayne Homren, Editor

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