Rare Anthony de Francisci plaque medal
There are not a lot of works by Anthony de Francisci that can be collected, other than the Peace Dollar.
I had seen a picture of one of these a few years ago, but I never thought I would ever find one.
I was recently looking around on the internet for something completely unrelated, and there it was. And offered at a good price too.
The William Lawrence Saunders Award medal, awarded by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, to Walter Hull Aldridge "For Achievement in Mining" 1933.
Only one of these medals was awarded per year, starting in 1927. The first one (the 1927 issue) is reportedly in the Smithsonian Institution. The 1928 award went to mining engineer and soon-to-be President Herbert Hoover. The whereabouts of that one are unknown to me.
Walter Hull Aldridge was a descendant of three important people:
1. Commodore Isaac Hull, Revolutionary War commander of the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides");
2. General William Hull, who fought with Washington at the battles of Princeton and Trenton in the Revolutionary War;
3. Commodore Perry, hero of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Upon graduation from college, Walter Hull Aldridge went to work for the Colorado Smelting Company. Throughout his career he worked at a number of companies involved with the production of silver, copper, coal, and sulfur.
The medal design has similarities to the Peace Dollar. The sun rays are very reminiscent of those on the reverse of the coin. The maiden's face, hair, and hair bun are just like the Liberty Head on the Dollar. It is very possible that the live model for both the coin and medal was Francisci's wife Teresa. The sculptor's initials "AF" are present in the small oval to the right of the far right sun ray.
The early medals are silvered bronze. The later issues are gold plated. The bottom edge is marked "MEDALLIC ART CO, NY". They measure 67mm wide by 89mm tall (and about 4mm thick). Once each year, a medal was produced by preparing a special die with the recipient's name and year, and then that die was used to over-strike an area of the larger medal on the lower reverse.