Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss



Barber, Charles, E.: Charles E. Barber was born in London in 1840, the son of William Barber. He was appointed as sixth engraver to the United States Mint at Philadelphia in 1880 on the death of his father.

Barber, William: William Barber (1807-1879) was the fifth engraver to the United States Mint in Philadelphia. He was born in London.

Dupre, Augustin: Augustin Dupre (1748-1883) was a French goldsmith, medallist and engraver general of coins under the First French Republic. At the age of twenty he left his native town of St. Etienne and went to Paris. There he worked or an armorer and obtained the patronage of the Spanish Ambassador. The artist won his greatest fame as a medallist and coin engraver. He filled the office of Engraver-general of French coins from 1791 to 1803.

Duvivier, Pierre Simon Benjamin: Benjamin Duvivier (1728-1819), a French medallist, was the son on Jean Duvivier. It is said that Jean, fearing to be surpassed by his son, not only did not teach Benjamin medallic art, but actually drove him from his home when the son was caught copying a medal. Benjamin was taken under the protection of his brother-in-law, and on the death of his father, he devoted himself to the king’s service, becoming one of the favorite artists of the Court of Louis XVI. In 1774 Duvivier was given the office of Engraver at the Mint, formerly held by Joseph Charles Roettiers.

Ellis, Salathiel: Ellis lived in Toronto about 1858. He designed several medals, mostly engraved by C. C. Wright and J. Willson.

Furst, Moritz: Moritz Furst was born in Hungary in 1782 and studied at Vienna and Milan. In 1807 he went to the United States and was appointed Engraver at the Mint of Philadelphia, where he served from 1808 until 1838. His series of 27 medals, commemorating American successes during the war between England and the United States from 1812 to 1815, was struck by special resolution of Congress.

Nini, Jean-Baptiste: Jean Baptiste Nini was an Italian modeller and engraver. He was born in Urbino, Italy in 1717. He lived in Paris and died in Chaumont in 1786. He was noted for his skill as an engraver on glass and for his work in terra cotta.

Reich, John Matthias: John Reich (1768-1833) was a German born die-sinker who had come to the United States in 1800 at the age of thirty-two with hopes of finding gainful employment. Shortly after Jefferson became President in 1801, Reich appealed to him for help, and with his appeal he sent samples of his work. Jefferson suggested that Reich present himself to the Director of the Mint, Elias Boudinot. Boudinot was impressed with Reich’s work and hired him to work at the Mint.

Saint-Gaudens, Augustus: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1908) was born in Dublin, Ireland. His parents settled in America when Augustus was an infant. When he was thirteen he apprenticed with a stone cameo cutter, and by the time he was twenty he was already a master of low relief. Saint-Gaudens is considered to be the greatest of all American sculptors and is one of the preeminent sculptors in the world. Among his works are "Diana" which is on the tower of Madison Square Garden. His monuments of Lincoln and Sherman are considered to be the finest pieces of sculpture on the American continent. He is noted not only for his sculpture but also for his design of medals and coins, in particular his full-length figure of Liberty on the twenty dollar coin.

Scot, Robert (1740 - 1823): Scot (sometimes seen as Scott), born in the British Isles, was trained first as a watchmaker in England, then learned the art of engraving. He came to the United States in 1777, was appointed as the state engraver of Virginia and moved to Philadelphia sometime in 1781. In 1793, Scot was commissioned as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint in Philadelphia by Mint Director Rittenhouse to replace the recently deceased Joseph Wright. He remained in that post until his death in 1823.

Willson, Joseph: Joseph Willson was employed by the U.S. mint in the mid nineteenth century to design the reverse dies of the Indian Peace medals of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. Salathiel Ellis made the obverse dies for each of these medals.

Wright, Charles Cushing: Charles Cushing Wright (1796-1854) was an American draftsman and medallist of the nineteenth century and probably the finest die engraver the country has produced. He engraved the three medals struck at the United States mint by the American Art Union honoring prominent artists. He is also responsible for medals depicting a number of eminent American political and military figures and important historic events, the most noteworthy of which is his portrait of Washington, after the French sculptor and portraitist Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828), and the reverse of this medal illustrating the presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress.
LINK to a pencil drawing of C.C. Wright.