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A Couple Neat Links while Researching Medallic Arts ( + Laura Gardin Fraser)

philographerphilographer Posts: 1,310 ✭✭✭✭✭

I have an ancestor pictured on an award produced by Medallic Art Co. (a story for later), so I was doing a little searching into the company history...

Apparently, Medallic Art was purchased by Northwest Territorial Mint. During bankruptcy, its dies were purchased by the American Numismatic Society. Quick article here: https://coinsweekly.com/ans-acquires-archives-of-medallic-art-company/

More interesting though is this film of Laura Gardin Fraser at work on a medal. As you know, she designed the Oregon Trail half dollar.

The video shows her creating a medal in 1929 or 1930. It's been up for 3 1/2 years and has only 969 views. So posting here to give it some attention. It's fascinating! (Okay, the narration could be a little more energetic ;) )

https://youtu.be/oYCqJv5e10w

@keets have you seen this? ;)

He who knows he has enough is rich.

Comments

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    TomBTomB Posts: 20,737 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Elizabeth Jones really delivered that narration with a morphine drip kind of feel...

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
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    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

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    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found it interesting that instead of a galvano (copper electro-plated onto plaster) the reduction-lathe model in the video was made as a traditional bronze casting. I also note that a company called "Roman Bronze" in New York made the bronze casting in the video. I believe that my Broken-Sword Peace Dollar casting was made by them in 1921, on the order of Laura Gardin Fraser's husband (James Earle Fraser).

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    291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would like to have attended the 1937 dinner!

    All glory is fleeting.
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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting video, thanks for posting it. Sure is a low energy narration....Cheers, RickO

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    GoldenEggGoldenEgg Posts: 1,924 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dcarr said:
    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

    Would the medal in the video have had this flange, even though it was struck in a collar? I too would like to see this process.

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    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GoldenEgg said:

    @dcarr said:
    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

    Would the medal in the video have had this flange, even though it was struck in a collar? I too would like to see this process.

    You can see the flange on a medal at 25:00 in the video. Then shortly after at 25:06 the medal suddenly has no flange and it is being sandblasted.

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    GoldenEggGoldenEgg Posts: 1,924 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dcarr said:
    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

    Here is a video showing how they trim the flange at the US Mint today. I imagine that the exact process has changed throughout the years....just as the “finishing” process has changed as well.

    Some will cringe when they see them taking sandpaper to the surfaces of the freshly-struck medal!

    https://youtu.be/fM8LJ0Ehdfw

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dcarr said:
    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

    I find this part of the medal making process fascinating. I just picked up a mated pair. A fully finished medal and one with the flange intact.

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    mannie graymannie gray Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    Interesting video, thanks for posting it. Sure is a low energy narration....Cheers, RickO

    Apparently she didn't even have enough energy to blink her eyes.... slightly unsettling.....

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    heavymetalheavymetal Posts: 570 ✭✭✭✭

    <<<Apparently she didn't even have enough energy to blink her eyes.... slightly unsettling.....>>>

    Not blinking was one of the techniques used by Anthony Hopkins to bring Hannibal Lector to life on the big screen.

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    gscoinsgscoins Posts: 288 ✭✭✭

    To a complete novice to the process of creating a medal (like me), the clarity of Ms. Jones' presentation was excellent.

    Thanks for posting this film!

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    BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 7,413 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've posted these before, but they're appropriate here too. What a team they were!

    Pete

    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
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    davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Executive Director Kagin of ANS gives a talk to Massachusetts Historical Society about their purchase and what they got. A massive undertaking and interesting video from 11/10/2018.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=5LprGkLpWjU&t=709s

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dcarr said:
    The one step that I've never seen shown in this video (or any other) is the trimming of the edge on the struck medals.
    As struck, the medals have an outer flange (which is a gap between the dies that provides a space for metal to move to).
    The flange is cut off using a lathe, I assume. But I'd like to see this process and how the medals are mounted in the lathe.

    That is an interesting question. In 1982 I was in Danbury, CT to visit a friend who worked for Johnson & Jensen, and Dick Johnson got me a tour of Medallic Art while I was there. I did not see any medals being trimmed, but when we were done they gave me an untrimmed bronze strike of the upcoming Boston ANA convention badge. When I got back to Colorado Springs I gave it to the Museum. Should still be there.

    Now, as I recall the broadstruck medal was not round. Because of the metal demands of the design, the flange was wider in some areas than in others. This could be ground away on a lathe, but how do you clamp the medal into the lathe hard enough to not move without smashing the design?

    Speculating with reckless abandon, I could see some sort of Rube Goldberg lathe which incorporated a pair of dies to hold an already struck medal and protect both faces while the lathe trimmed away everything outside the dies. I highly doubt that they did this, but I have no idea what they actually DID do.

    TD

    P.S.: Many medals are broadstruck, i.e., without a collar, to make it easier to bring up the relief. Collars restrict the movement of metal, which is why most 1921 Peace Dollars and many Walking Liberty halves have weak centers. The same holds true to many Mercury dimes, and the only 1945-P dimes known with full bands are a few pieces which were broadstruck.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great thread and thanks for posting the video links.

    Here's a quick description and rough photo of a favorite recent acquisition when the opportunity presented itself as a private collector to purchase an item which should also be in a museum. A 1920 James Earle Fraser uniface reverse 120mm x 130mm silver plated bronze obverse transitional die trial of the 83mm diameter Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association Medal of Honor which was awarded struck in 13 & a 1/4 ounces of gold by Medallic Art Company.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!

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