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Rombalds

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  1. I understand that the Paris mint introduced the Cornucopia (Corne d'abondance) edge mark in 1880. I also believe that in 1843 bronze medals were stamped CUIVRE on the edge and that in 1880, BRONZE was substituted for CUIVRE. My dilemma is this: I have medals with both the Cornucopia (suggesting a post-1880 date) and CUIVRE (suggesting a pre-1880 date). Any advice as to resolution? Thanks for any input …..
  2. I have just bought a silver medal that is really very black …. dare I say rather ugly? I would love to clean it but am fully aware that this is heresy or sacrilegious or both to a true medal aficionado. Is it really that bad to polish it just once? Its not hugely valuable (circa $45) and will be kept in semi-sealed plastic thereafter so will have minimal contact with the air. Thanks for any advice.
  3. This was an aluminium token I just bought on eBay. It is issued by what might have been the very first manufacturers of aluminium bicycles. Obverse: Lu-Mi-Num: Manufacturers of the Aluminum Bicycles. St. Louis Refrigerator and Wooden Gutter Co. It is in extraordinarily condition for its age (dated 1894, i.e. 114 years old); very bright with no imperfections. I am assuming that, as it is not of any great value ($15 - $40), there is no realistic possibility that it’s a copy/forgery. Not worth it. Any other comments, suggestions, ideas?
  4. Why were “Art Medals” issued in the first place? I have a small collection of athletic (cycling) Art Nouveau and Art Deco “Art Medals”. I have looked up the history of Art Medals but would be interested in your perspective on the subject. Clearly some medals are fashioned as bone fide art forms in their own right, especially those that are cast. However mine are ‘strikes” that might have been issued more than once. Why are they issued in the first place? They are not currency or tokens. They were rarely (if ever) given as prizes in competitive athletic events. Some can be considered as “art”, others are actually rather mundane. Some might have been commissioned to celebrate an event or an occasion. Some were subsequently purchased (after being struck) for that purpose also. However, these were presumably not very cheap to produce. Who funded their creation and why? The artist? The Mint? Any other thoughts?
  5. The single greatest reference work for collectors of “Art Medals” is the Biographical Dictionary of Medallists by L. Forrer. It was originally published in London (1902-1930) and later reprinted in 8 volumes by Spinks (London - 1965), Franklin (New York - 1970) and Baldwin/van der Dussen (Belgium - 1980). Original copies are very expensive and even the reprints runs to several hundreds of dollars. However, you might want to be aware that much of the work is freely available on line, courtesy of the University of Michigan at: http://www.digitalbookindex.com/_search/refsearchbiodict.asp Ironically, the online copy is not complete and the volume numbering is incorrect. Nevertheless, it remains a valuable resource.
  6. Good afternoon. I collect “Art Medals” and have tried to supplement my collection with biographical details of the artist/medalist. However, there are a few about whom I know very little. Can anybody add info. to these. I will be grateful for any additional information. A. Bessou. (not found in Forrer’s Supplement) Assumed French but no other data. Perhaps a jeweler rather than a medalist? Dates? Nationality? A. Erdmann. (found in Forrer) He appears to have modeled several of the medals issued by Antoine de Rivet and his signature occurs on various art medals (Forrer, Vol II). Is this the Swedish medallist Axel Erdmann (1873-1954) who was more a sculptor than an engraver? If not, then who !!!!! André Mery. Dates of birth and death unknown. Took part in the exhibition at Salon des Artistes Français in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1914. Any dates or other info.? Thanks again !!!!!
  7. I am sure you know this but just in case ......... forgive me if you already have this data. Rasumny, Felix (found in Forrer) Felix Rasumny (1869-1940) was a Russian engraver (born in Sebastopol) who emigrated to France as the Art Noveau culture spread beyond France. Entered the Ecole des Arts décoratifs of Paris. First exhibited at the Salon in 1887. Rasumny accomplished several major works (including the massive cast iron maquette celebrating the opening of Pont Alexandre III for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle), as well as being commissioned to design medals (both military and civil), jewelry, medallions, and even officially-minted coins during the French Third Republic (like the 1929 10-franc coin). Many of his medals were made in conjunction with the Paris Firm A. Duseaux and Co. Even though he began his career in the Art Noveau style (as trained at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs under such masters as Millet, Gauthier and Tasset), in later years he adapted to the geometric precision of the Art Deco style. Silver Medal at the 1900 Universal Exhibition.
  8. You might care to take a look at my modest collection of "Art Medals" from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods which have bicycles or cycling as a theme. Most date from the 1890 – 1935 time period. Go to http://picasaweb.google.com/WilliamTheRebel/Medals# and then click on “Slideshow”. Forgive my rather amateur photography ….. the bronze comes out rather yellow and the silver photos really do not do justice to the originals. However, I do hope you enjoy them.
  9. Can anybody please offer advice on Medals4Trade or other hosting sites? There was several great medal/coin/token websites out there; often cherished by the volunteers/enthusiasts that nurture them. One is Medals4Trade which has a great section for aficionados to upload and display their personal collection/s. I tried to register but never heard back from the webmaster/administrator with a confirmation email and there is no live “button” to contact same. Any ideas? Also, are there other medal/coin/token sites that allow you to display a collection?
  10. Ideas for photographing coins/medals. These are a few things I have learned. I would welcome more advice from any experts out there. I always use a plain background of a color that will compliment the medal, usually a pretty blue. For focussing, I experimented with using no macro, macro and super-macro. I found that generally the latter produced the best results though it excludes the option to use built-in flash. Camera shake can also be aproblem if not using a tripod. Obviously to photograph any edge marks, signatures etc., there is no real alternative to a high calibre macro. For lighting, I experimented with ambient light, spotlights, flash and angled flash. In generall, the ambient light produced the best results though the phrase “ambient light” can, of course, mean a whole range of conditions. I do not have a flash unit separate from the camera. Direct camera flash was hopeless (too much reflection) and angled flash distorts the circular nature of the medal. Interestingly, the flash results seemed to produce a more faithful result as far as the colour was concerned. Both the ambient light and the spotlight versions made the bronze of the medal very yellow and Photoshop did not improve it much. Next time I shall try making sure that the “ambient light” is primarily sunlight/daylight rather than electric light. Any comments?
  11. HINTS FOR BEGINNER MEDAL COLLECTORS. I am a newbie collector and am compiling a modest collection of Art Medals with bicycles or cycling as a theme. Mainly Art Nouveau to Art Deco in the 1880-1940 time-frame. Most are French. In corresponding with some dealers/collectors, I was able to distil some of their helpful replies to a few key bullets that might be of interest to others. Please let me know if you have other comments to add. PRODUCTION METHODS There are two primary methods by which medals are made: Strikes. This is the technique that is most widely used to make medals and coins. Struck medals are formed mechanically by the force of two engraved metal dies pressing the image onto a blank disc of softer metal positioned between. Struck medals can be mass-produced more easily than cast medals. Casting. Casting is generally considered to be the technique that has produced the finest in medallic art. A medal is cast by pouring molten metal into a mold and letting it solidify. The process begins with an artist's sketch from which models are developed. The models may be made from plaster, clay, wax etc. Casting of a medal is often accomplished by a specialist foundry. Preferred metals are gold, silver or, more commonly, a copper alloy such as bronze. OBVERSE/REVERSE The obverse and reverse sides sometimes have different artists. Good medallists were sometimes employed to make quality designs that were used for many medals which meant that overall costs were reduced and quality raised. FORGERIES In this particular market, unless a medal is fairly expensive, forgeries are relatively unusual. Rarely, there might be cast “forgeries” of particularly high-worth items. RE-STRIKES A re-strike is a medal that has been struck from the original dies at a later date. They are common in medals and are really not a problem. If the item is nice and sharp with crisp detail and free of edge nicks, a restrike is just as desirable as an original. It is from the same die and dies last a long time. For example, the Paris Mint commanded a medal to a medallist and purchased the right to strike the medal for eternity. They retained dies of medals dating back many years and sometimes produce restrikes to order. LARGE INITIAL INVENTORY A mint might produce thousands of a particular medal at one time while the engraver was still alive on “speculation” and thus have a large inventory that can sit and wait until a buyer comes up needing medals. It is therefore possible that a medal that was engraved by someone in the late 19th century yet was awarded in 1950. CLEANING Older strikes tend to have an age patina (through oxidation of the bronze), which applies to both bronze and silver medals, if they had not been cleaned. These are better left uncleaned; it may take years before an even patina comes up again. If cleaning is absolutely necessary, use only warm water and very mild soap to remove old grime. REFERENCES The web sites below have many useful references but the “bible” is “Biographical dictionary of medallists; coin, gem, and seal-engravers, mint-masters, &c., ancient and modern” by L. Forrer WEBSITES/EMAILS This is my current compilation of helpful websites. Some of the dealers and other collectors have wonderful advice on their sites. Category Source Web page Collection Benjamin Weiss www.historicalartmedals.com/default.htm Collection Jean-François Gruez http://pagesperso-orange.fr/zeurg/medailles_collection.htm Collection Jean-François Gruez (Dunlop medal) http://pagesperso-orange.fr/zeurg/med.htm?...9a.jpgbaudichon Collector/ enthusiast Art Nouveau and Art Deco medals www.finemedals.com/artists.htm Collector/ enthusiast Galerie-d-art www.galerie-d-art.info Collector/ enthusiast Iinternational Website of Art Medals www.artmedal.net/ Collector/ enthusiast Medals4Trade www.medals4trade.com/ Collector/ enthusiast Medals4Trade www.medals4trade.com/collections/ Collector/ enthusiast Medals4Trade – Blin cycling medal www.medals4trade.com/collections/displayimage.php?album=165&pos=13 Collector/ enthusiast Art Medal Site www.artmedal.be/ Dealer P&D Medallions www.pdmedallions.co.uk/index.htm Dealer Professional coin grading service www.pcgs.com/ Dealer AAA Historical Americana - World Exonumia www.exonumia.com/art.htm Dealer Charles Riley Coins & Medals http://www.charlesriley.co.uk/index.htm Dealer Simmons Gallery http://simmonsgallery.co.uk/ Dealer Timothy Millett www.historicmedals.com/ Dealer (eBay) Art medals http://stores.ebay.com/ART-MEDALS Dealer (eBay) Fine medals (Nicolas Maier) www.finemedals.com/ Forum Coin Community www.coincommunity.com/forum/ Forum Coin People http://coinpeople.com/ Forum Collectors Universe http://forums.collectors.com Mint Arthus-Bertrand (French jeweler) www.arthus-bertrand.com/home.php Museum British Museum Department of Coins and Medals www.britishmuseum.org/the_museum/departments/coins_and_medals.aspx Museum Victoria and Albert Museum (Art Nouveau and Art Deco medals) www.vam.ac.uk/collections/sculpture/bayes/modelling/nouveau_deco/index.html Reference Forrer: Biographical Dictionary of Medallists www.digitalbookindex.com/_search/refsearchbiodict.asp Reference AAA Historical Americana – mint marks www.exonumia.com/art/art_04.htm Society American Numismatic Society www.numismatics.org/ Society Medal Collectors of America www.medalcollectors.org/ Society Medallic Art Society of Canada www.nunetcan.net/masc/masc.htm Society Token and Medal Society www.tokenandmedal.org/index.htm
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