Jump to content
CoinPeople.com

An Unknown Mule By Champney Circa 1870's


Recommended Posts

IMG_2811.jpg01052-large.jpg

IMG_2814.jpg

 

Mule by Champney of Apollo Belverdere paired with a Russian Imperial Eagle with crest of Kazan copper 39mm.

 

George Francis Champney was an american who devised a method of producing dies from an existing coin or medal, be it gold, silver, iron etc. Very briefly, his method consisted of attaching a coin to a very heavy hammer(1,500 to 2,500 lbs.) & from a great height(50 ft.) driving the coin into a heated soften block of unhardened steel. Removing the coin, then hardening the block thereby producing a die which could then be used to create an exact match of the obverse or reverse of the original coin.

 

During the 1870's & into the early 80's(10 to 12 years) he travelled across europe to demonstrated(& sell the right to use) his method to government mints, including England, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, Russia etc.

 

He would mainly use 2 same sized different local pieces to produce an unique mule(no chance of sleight of hand deception) to show case his method. He was not an engraver, but a mechanical-die-sinker producing dies from existing coins/medals.

 

Champney received the Imperial Order of Saint Stanislaus from the Tsar of Russia and was also paid the equivalent of 700 GBP(which was a fair sum then) for his process. The French & Dutch paid him 400 GBP each. The British declined his offer to use his method for 4,000 GBP. I do not know if any other of the other countries he visited(Germany, Italy, Belgium etc) paid to use his method.

 

The dies he made for the Russian Mint made from 30,000 to 70.000 impressions compared to the 6,200 impression made using their normal dies.

Reference: Drop Forging, Die Sinking......Woodworth 1911.

He took out his patent in the US in 1872 & in England in 1875. The Germans also paid £700. This medal is the only one that I am aware of that was made by Champney all his other mules were coins & most were roughly the size of a dime. No mint is known to have used his method extensively.

 

"As might be guessed the very smallest and faintest marks on the original were reproduced with absolute fidelity in the Champney dies and a die struck from a $5 gold piece with Champney in sunk letters was absolutely faultless in every detail under the microscope and the die of the Head of Rubens had a perfect polish in every detail"

 

So sometimes he added his name in sunken letters to the die thus produced(before hardening of course) which would translate to raised letters on any piece struck from the die. This did not mean he was the engraver of the coin/medal with his name upon it, just his method was used. He could also(in my opinion) 'fill' any letters on the die before hardened so removing a name.

 

This, though not identical, seems to be a variant of the medal he used for the obverse: It is Diakov 754.3. 1868 Imperial SPB Academy of Arts. Two award medals combined into one - Rzhevskaya award and Demidov award. 38 mm. by V. Nikonov. Rarity in copper R1.

diakov754.jpgdiakov754.jpg

 

This is just a similar Eagle used on the reverse

nda2av.pngNormally the Russian Eagle has George and the Dragon on the crest, this has the 150px-Kazancoa.jpg

Coat of arms of the Russian Kazan Governorate (1730)

Zilant is a legendary creature, something between a dragon and a wyvern. Since 1730, it has been the official symbol of Kazan. This winged snake is a part of Tatar and Russian folklore and is mentioned in legends about the foundation of Kazan.

 

Champney was in Russia in 1876, where he produced a mule from an Italian 20 lire obverse & a Russian 20 kopeck obverse. So I think that this medal mule is from around that date, seeing as both medals he used for it are Russian ones, though I have not been able to locate the exact medals used.

 

See how close they are from the following pictures layering Champney's over Nikonov's the middle picture show both signatures.

diakov754202.jpgdiakov75423.jpgdiakov75424.jpg

The Brooch is the clearest difference between them.

 

Why would Champney remove a signature and replace it with his own? Well if you wanted to change the year on a coin or the inscription on a medal, just by using Champney's method to produce an exact image in a die, then filling in the old date/inscription, punch the new date/inscription you have the die to produce what you want with the very minimum of skill & time required.

LINK to Champney's Method, start at page 74.

 

Thanks to all those on the Russian Coin Forum for their help: grivna1726, alexbq2, Steve Moulding, one-kuna & IgorS plus, via IgorS, M. Diakov author of corpus on Russian Imperial Medals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Forrer misspelt Champney as Champeny and he also thought his patents were for the prevention of copies being made of coins, instead of being for the making of exact dies from an existing coin.

 

Champney received the Imperial Order of Saint Stanislaus from the Tsar of Russia and was also paid the equivalent of 700 GBP for his process. The French & Dutch paid him 400 GBP each. The British declined his offer to use his method for 4000 GBP. I do not know if any other of the other countries he visited(Germany, Italy, Belgium etc) paid to use his method.

180px-Stanislaus.jpg Imperial Russian Order of St.Stanislaus, Grand Cross (1860's to 1870's)

 

Another mule by Champney(unfortunately not mine), struck in Russia using an Italian 20 lire obverse & a Russian 20 kopeck obverse.

b1731.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

These, one plain edged, one reeded, went for a hefty price

http://www.icollector.com/Russian-Coins-an...-of-20_i8745839 SOLD 15,000.00USD + (2,250.00) buyer's premium + taxes, fees, etc..

 

http://www.icollector.com/Russian-Coins-an...-of-20_i8745840 SOLD 13,000.00USD + (1,950.00) buyer's premium + taxes, fees, etc..

I wonder what my Champney mule is worth?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another fascinating and educational post Constanius.

 

I have come across muled jetons before that had (until now) defied my understanding of how they had come about. For example, the young Victoria bust on the obverse of a `to hanover' type jeton muled with a Russian imperial eagle reverse. On the back of your post, it now seems to me to be highly likely that this has been a `Champney' style creation.

 

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...