Society of Medalists

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The Society of Medalists was established in 1930 in the United States to encourage the medallic work of superior sculptors, and to make their creations available to the public. The Society of Medalists was the longest running art medal collector's organization in the United States and released 129 regular issues on a twice yearly basis from 1930 to 1995, as well as special issues marking the Society's 20th, 40th, and 50th anniversaries and the United States Bicentennial in 1976. Much of the inspiration for the Society came from the earlier Circle of Friends of the Medallion, which also issued medals on a semi-annual basis from 1908 to 1915. All issues of the Society were struck by the Medallic Art Company, originally located in New York City

Society of Medalists Issue 2, Dionysus and Satyrs Treading Grapes, by Paul Manship. 1930 bronze.
Society of Medalists Issue 4, Charles A. Lindbergh Lone Eagle Allegory, by Frederick MacMonnies. 1931 bronze with gold patina.
Society of Medalists Issue 5, Whatsoever a Man Soweth That Shall He Also Reap, by Lee Lawrie. 1932 bronze
Society of Medalists Issue 29, Inspiration Aspiration, by Richard Recchia. 1944 silver
Society of Medalists Issue 31 Flag Raising on Iwo Jima and For Conquer We Must
Society of Medalists Issue 37 John the Baptist and Salome
Society of Medalists Issue 47 Fish and Dry Fish Lure
Society of Medalists Issue 59 Apache Fire Dancer and Buffalo Hunt
Society of Medalists Issue 80 Space Control Room and Astronaut on Moon
Society of Medalists Issue 101, Unicorn and Medieval Procession, by Marcel Jovine. 1980 bronze.
Society of Medalists Issue 111, Man bursting the Bounds and Back of Man, by Donald De Lue. 1985 bronze.
Society of Medalists Issue 120, Man is Strength Woman is Love and Beauty, by Keiichi Uryu. 1989 bronze.
Society of Medalists Issue 125, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, by Don Everhart III. 1993 bronze.

Many of the early contributors to the Society of Medalists were prominent American sculptors of the first half of the 20th century. Lee Lawrie was well known for modernistic art-deco works like the Statue of Atlas in New York City and the Sower atop the Nebraska State Capitol, while artists like Lorado Taft represented a more classical ethos. Others concentrated more, although not exclusively, on medallic art, such as John Flanagan (designer of the Washington quarter dollar) and Laura Gardin Fraser. The artists who created the series represented a wide variety of styles and expertise.

The Society of Medalists issues covered a wide variety of themes during its sixty-five years of existence. Because the artists were allowed to select their subject matter, many of the medals are topical. Those of the 1930s frequently serve as commentary on the experiences of the first World War, and anticipate the destruction of the second. Religion often serves as a theme, with interpretations of biblical scenes prevalent throughout all decades. Art, science, and nature also provided inspiration for artists and their medals'.

With two exceptions, all issues of the Society of Medalists were initially manufactured in bronze. Issues 28 and 29, created during World War II, were first produced in silver. During the 1970s the Society undertook a program to restrike its earlier issues in silver. The advent of a spike in silver prices late in the decade, coupled with a low level of demand for the new issues, led to the demise of the silver restrike program by the early 1980s.

The Society of Medalist represents an interesting and accessible collecting opportunity. All of the issues are available on the secondary market, with both specialized dealers and internet auction services serving as important sources. Collectors value the medals in their original boxes, complete with the descriptive pamphlets that accompanied them.

In 2010 the American Numismatic Society published the authoritative reference and history of both the Circle of Friends of the Medallion and the Society of Medalists, American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by well known numismatic scholar David Thomason Alexander. In 2018, the Medallic Art Company declared bankruptcy and its assets were liquidated. The American Numismatic Society acquired Medallic Art's archive of historic medals, including records, dies, and examples of the Society of Medalists.

Issue Year Sculptor Obverse Reverse
REGULAR 1 1930 Laura Gardin Fraser Hunter and dog Ruffled grouse
ISSUES 2 1930 Paul Manship Dionysus Satyrs treading grapes
3 1931 Hermon A. MacNeil Indian prayer for rain Hopi snake dance
4 1931 Frederick MacMonnies Charles A. Lindbergh Lone Eagle allegory
5 1932 Lee Lawrie Whatsoever a man soweth That shall he also reap
6 1932 John Flanagan Aphrodite Torch race
7 1933 Carl Paul Jennewein Gloria Fama
8 1933 Gaetano Cecere Pegasus and men No easy way to the stars
9 1934 Herbert Adams Boy fishing Little fish a prize
10 1934 Albert Laessle American-turkey Abundance-corn
11 1935 Lorado Taft Great lakes Five maidens
12 1935 Anthony de Francisci Creation Swirling universe
13 1936 R. Tait McKenzie Youth putting the shot Four runners
14 1936 Albert Stewart Ploughman and crosses Peace
15 1937 Robert I. Aitken Lovers All mankind loves a lover
16 1937 Chester Beach In peace fathers die In war sons die
17 1938 A. Stirling Calder Dance of life With pleasure and pain
18 1938 Gertrude K. Lathrop Conserve wildlife Antelope
19 1939 Edward McCartan Peace in the new world War in the old world
20 1939 John Gregory Cere's blessing Scarcity shall shun you
21 1940 Edmond Amateis Aesop's fable of hawk Dog and reflection
22 1940 Walker Hancock Two men building Overcoming adversity
23 1941 Joseph E. Renier Woman and child Prometheus
24 1941 Edwin Springweiler Arctic-polar bear Antarctic-penguins
25 1942 Janet de Coux Thou sluggard Go to the ant
26 1942 Brenda Putnam Man with airplane Bird in flight
27 1943 Anna Hyatt Huntington African elephant Water hole
28 1943 Carl L. Schmitz Freedom of speech and religion Freedom from want and fear
29 1944 Richard Henry Recchia Inspiration Aspiration
30 1944 Mahonri Young Riggers Riveters
31 1945 Rene P. Chambellan Flag raising on Iwo Jima For conquer we must
32 1945 Berthold Nebel Wounded soldier Atomic bomb explosion
33 1946 Joseph Kiselewski World peace Dove and olive branch
34 1946 Sidney Waugh Privacy makes innocent Nameless worthy
35 1947 Bruce Moore Eternal vigilance Destruction
36 1947 Henry Kreis Wise virgins Foolish virgins
37 1948 Michael Lantz John the Baptist Salome
38 1948 Thomas Lo Medico Pursuit of happiness Good will toward men
39 1949 Adolph A. Weinman Genesis Web of destiny
40 1949 Leo Friedlander Harmony Creates tranquility
41 1950 Donal Hord Man must sow To reap
42 1950 (in French) Cecil Howard Peace is life War is death
43 1951 Albert A. Wein God the creator Creating heaven and Earth
44 1951 Wheeler Williams Madonna and child Lamb
45 1952 James Earl Fraser Pony Express New Frontiers
46 1952 Karl Gruppe Eagle Boy Scouts
47 1953 Gifford MacGregor Proctor Fish Dry fly lure
48 1953 Peter Dalton Brotherhood Swords into ploughshares
49 1954 Abram Belskie Art goddess Sculptor's tools
50 1954 Ivan Mestrovic Socrates Plato
51 1955 Malvina Hoffman Races of man No man is an island
52 1955 Georg J. Lober Hans Christian Andersen 150th Anniversary
53 1956 John Angel Adam and Eve Annunciation of Virgin
54 1956 Paul Fjelde Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
55 1957 Pietro Montana St. Francis of Assisi at prayer St. Francis and leper
56 1957 Donald De Lue Creator of universe Creator of man
57 1958 Charles Rudy Year's at the spring Day's at the morn
58 1958 Jean de Marco Clown with horn Music and drama
59 1959 Allan Houser Apache fire dancer Buffalo hunt
60 1959 Katherine Weems Puma Wild fowl
61 1960 Leo Lentelli Romulus and Remus Constantine the Great
62 1960 Adlai S. Hardin Three wisemen Nativity
63 1961 Adolph Block Pilgrims landing Holy cause of liberty
64 1961 Nathaniel Choate Goliath David
65 1962 Oronzio Maldarelli Dancers Bathers
66 1962 Carl Mose This our heritage This our land
67 1963 Karen Worth To the stars Spirit of the space age
68 1963 Joseph A. Coletti Glory of God Great frigate bird
69 1964 Robert A. Weinman Honor to Socrates Light of knowledge
70 1964 Frank Eliscu Underwater swimmer Seascape
71 1965 Margaret Christian Grigor Alaska Hawaii
72 1965 Elizabeth Weistrop Sower of the forest Squirrels
73 1966 Robert Lohman Nature Creativity
74 1966 Ralph J. Menconi Thomas Jefferson Liberty
75 1967 Herring Coe Flying sauser Hippocampus and mermaid
76 1967 Donald R. Miller Five forms of life Wilderness is preservation
77 1968 Nina Winkel Girls dancing Boys building
78 1968 Terry Lies Medical research Spider and web
79 1969 Bruno Mankowski Paul Bunyan Johnny Appleseed
80 1969 Boris Buzan Space control room Astronaut on Moon
81 1970 Julian Hoke Harris Uncle Remus tales Brer Rabbit in briar patch
82 1970 Tom Allen, Jr. Flame of life Pro vita
83 1971 Hal Reed Four scientists Unleashing the atom
84 1971 Elbert Weinberg Pandora one Atomic cloud
85 1972 Sten Jacobsson Christ and multitude Pagan joys
86 1972 John Edward Svenson Chilkat Chieftain Indian carvings
87 1973 Mico Kaufman Youth with guitar Soldier carrying wounded
88 1973 Edward R. Grove Alphabets of the world English alphabet
89 1974 Laszlo Ispanky Girl in spring Youth in fall
90 1974 Stanley Bleifeld Chinese philosophers Chinese landscape
91 1975 Frederick Shrady Courage and hope Bird in flight
92 1975 Bruno Lucchesi Couple embracing Mother and baby
93 1976 Harvey Weiss Grasshopper Whale
94 1976 Anthony Notaro Pilgrims Mayflower
95 1977 Harry Marinsky Youth dreaming Castle in Spain
96 1977 Stephen Robin Tutankhamun Egyptian pectoral
97 1978 Robert Cook Music Dance
98 1978 Moissaye Marans Dawn Dusk
99 1979 Donald A. Borja Helios the Sun God Solar energy
100 1979 Linda Harper Laughter Tears
101 1980 Marcel Jovine Unicorn Medieval procession
102 1980 Edward Fenno Hoffman III Alice in Wonderland Winnie the Pooh
103 1981 Laci de Gerenday Cougar Deer in woods
104 1981 Elisabeth Gordon Chandler Visual arts Performing arts
105 1982 John Cook Faun with pipes Man with mask
106 1982 Don Everhart II Dance of the dolphins Dolphins leaping
107 1983 Joseph Di Lorenzo Excalibur Camalot
108 1983 Carter Jones George Balanchine Dancers
109 1984 Dexter Jones Clown Harlequin and Columbine
110 1984 Margaret C. Ellison Bands of living creatures Zodiac
111 1985 Donald De Lue Man bursting the bounds Back of man
112 1985 Richard McDermott Miller Girl escaping man Man capturing girl
113 1986 Marika Somogyi Woman looking in mirror Devel watching thru mirror
114 1986 Alex Shagin Children circling globe Earth from space
115 1987 Robert A. Weinman Cat and mouse Cat behind cheese
116 1987 Robert Cronbach Sunrise Moonrise
117 1988 Leonda Finke The Prodigal Son - departure Emotional Reunion
118 1988 Patrica Lewis-Verani Snow - Eskimo and dog sled Sand - Arab on Camel
119 1989 Nicola d'Alton Moss Charles Darwin Giant Galapagos turtle
120 1989 Keiichi Uryu Man is Strength Woman is Love and Beauty
121 1990 Eugene Daub Spirit of fire Depiction of ice
122 1990 Marcel Jovine Michelangelo's Creation Biblical prophesy
123 1991 Michael Meszaros Winding Staircase Staircase Looking Down
124 1992 Joseph Sheppard Icarus flight toward the Sun Icarus in free fall
125 1993 Don Everhart III Tyrannosaurus Rex Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil
126 1993 Karen Worth Adam and Eve Retribution
127 1994 Amuhullah Haiderzad The Old Kabul Bazaar
128 1994 Don Everhart II Set of six dinosaur medals Dinosaur fossils
129 1995 Geri Gould Last Supper Nativity to Resurrection
SPECIAL SP1 1950 John Flanagan Mark Twain Centenary
ISSUES SP2 1970 Julian Hoke Harris 40th Anniversary motif Athenian Owl
SP3 1976 Marcel Jovine Yankee Doodle Tricorner Hat
SP4 1980 Chester Martin Snail and Galaxy Five Decades
SP5 1980 Edward R. Grove Nature Montage 50th Anniversary Sculptors

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