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Archbishop Ussher 1581-1656. RRR.

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When I purchased this over eBay it was one of 2 medals in a lot:

"2 large, heavy old medals struck in high relief. Essentially uniface, each is 40mm in diameter. A piece of faded paper is on the back of each, with even more faded writing" the picture was of just the obverse of both medals, no other info. Neither had any inscription engraved or a visible signature. I decided to google this one shown using 'ruff, gown & cap' & also 'pic' which soon led me to believe that this was Archbishop Ussher by William Stephen Mossop(1788-1827). They arrived today and the faded label on the back confirms that my assumption was correct, as does Mossop's signature on the arm.




Info from Barry Woodsides Irish Tokens http://www.irish-tokens.co.uk/frazer_all.htm#463


"ARCHBISHOP USSHER.- Bust of the Archbishop to right, with close-fitting skull-cap, large ruff and gown. On the arm "MOSSOP." No inscription. Size, 1·7. Struck in white metal by Mossop. BHM#1053 AE R. WM RRR. 43mm 1820. Though the descriptions state WM the metal seems to have a very high lead content.


In 1820 Mossop decided to produce a series of portrait medals of distinguished Irishmen, and of these he contemplated executing forty at least. There was the only one finished of the entire number of which he hardened the dies and struck impressions, that being of Henry Grattan. He prepared four others and almost completed them- Swift, Ussher, Charlemont, and Sheridan-but they were left without inscriptions, and when obtained by a Mr. J. Woodhouse, after Mossop's death, the steel dies were not annealed; hence the few impressions Mossop took from his soft dies were in white metal, and must be considered artist's proofs: they are few in number and seldom obtainable. Mr. J. Woodhouse had the dies annealed & struck bronze medals from them"


James Ussher (sometimes spelled Usher) (4 January 1581 – 21 March 1656) was Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625–1656. He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding 23 October 4004 BC. The first of his family to settle in Ireland was a Neville, usher to King John, who changed the family name from Neville to Usher, his office, not an unusual practice in those days & later an extra 's' was added.

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