US Coins

E-book on Hall of Fame medals offered free on Newman Numismatic Portal

Longtime numismatist, researcher and author David T. Alexander has written a new e-book on medallic art that currently is only accessible online through the Newman Numismatic Portal, but may become available in print in a limited press-run, according to the author.

The 298-page Medals of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University may be accessed online for free at https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/565080.

Alexander says he is studying the possibility of creating a limited number of printed copies in the future. He may be contacted at Alexander.numismatics@gmail.com.

Genesis of book

A founding member of Medal Collectors of America and Coin World columnist for “The Research Desk,” Alexander spent years researching the Great Americans at New York University series, culminating in his new reference.The 1960s triggered a resurgence in medallic artistry, which Alexander notes in his new work.

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans was inaugurated at the Bronx campus of New York University in 1895.

The Hall of Fame received endless requests for miniatures of the busts, which could not be provided. Portrait medals, on the other hand, offered an economically feasible solution, and the HOF medal series was born. Designed by 43 of America’s leading sculptors, each medal would portray a Hall of Fame honoree with a reverse emblematic of his or her contributions to the 15 included fields.

The medals were offered in three sizes and two metals: 44.5-millimeter .999 silver and bronze versions, and 76-millimeter bronze medals.

Each bore a bas-relief portrait and the artist’s concept of the honoree’s achievements. All were struck by Medallic Art Co., which Alexander describes as America’s premier producer of the highest quality art medals. The medals were distributed by Coin and Currency Institute of New York.

The 1960s medal boom quickly subsided and the Hall of Fame series faded from public view after 94 types had been struck, according to Alexander.

Examples of the medals issued are illustrated and described in detail by Alexander. 

Imagery includes the edge devices employed for the medals, produced by Medallic Art Co. 

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