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Unique Zachary Taylor Indian Peace Medal Portrait Cliche

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Unique Zachary Taylor Indian Peace Medal Portrait Cliche

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Details

1849 Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medal portrait cliche by Henry Kirke Brown. White metal (tin) and paper, 31 x 23 mm. Julian IP-29 (var). As made. When an item like this survives, it is both an extraordinary act of preservation and a magnificent historical accident. This, like any cliche, was produced for a very specific need in a particular moment, impressed from a die (or, in this case, a portrait punch) in a puddle of liquid metal for the sole purpose of allowing an engraver or die sinker an idea of what the incused tool's design would look like in the positive. This item, a nearly paper thin wafer of metal partially backed with the paper upon which it was poured and struck, was made before the dies for the 51 mm third size Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medals were completed on November 26, 1849. According to Prucha, "on November 15 the Mint reported the completion of the first and second dies and the expected completion of the third in another ten days." This portrait punch cliche was probably created in that timeframe. This portrait of Taylor was engraved by the highly regarded sculptor Henry Kirke Brown who, while a brilliant sculptor, was new to the die-making process. In fact, Prucha relates that his first attempt at the Taylor Indian Peace medal "had not been modeled on a disc with the proper curvature for use on the portrait lathe and the 'depth and steepness of the parts' made it unsuitable for reproduction on a die." So Brown was invited to the Philadelphia Mint to start over; it makes sense that they would take extra special care to make sure his portrait punches were properly made before finally sinking the dies. This piece is, undoubtedly, unique. Nothing similar has ever been sold or published, though full-die cliches of the medium size Andrew Johnson Indian Peace medals (provenanced to the estate of Anthony C. Paquet) appeared on the market nearly a decade ago, selling for a high four-figure sum. Any U.S. Mint cliche is an extreme rarity, and one from the Indian Peace medal series is particularly important. Further, Henry Kirke Brown is essentially uncollectible as a sculptor, though his most famous works have been seen by millions in places like Union Square in New York and Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. This piece was discovered in the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection of political items, secreted away among the Zachary Taylor political medalets and related pieces, its true nature and importance unknown and unappreciated. It belongs appreciated for what it is in an advanced cabinet of Indian Peace medals or U.S. Mint medals of the 19th century. The last example of a struck 51 mm Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medal in silver, sold in Stack's January 2009 Americana sale, brought just under $14,000.

Additional Information

Grading Service N/A
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 11006

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

Description

Details

1849 Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medal portrait cliche by Henry Kirke Brown. White metal (tin) and paper, 31 x 23 mm. Julian IP-29 (var). As made. When an item like this survives, it is both an extraordinary act of preservation and a magnificent historical accident. This, like any cliche, was produced for a very specific need in a particular moment, impressed from a die (or, in this case, a portrait punch) in a puddle of liquid metal for the sole purpose of allowing an engraver or die sinker an idea of what the incused tool's design would look like in the positive. This item, a nearly paper thin wafer of metal partially backed with the paper upon which it was poured and struck, was made before the dies for the 51 mm third size Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medals were completed on November 26, 1849. According to Prucha, "on November 15 the Mint reported the completion of the first and second dies and the expected completion of the third in another ten days." This portrait punch cliche was probably created in that timeframe. This portrait of Taylor was engraved by the highly regarded sculptor Henry Kirke Brown who, while a brilliant sculptor, was new to the die-making process. In fact, Prucha relates that his first attempt at the Taylor Indian Peace medal "had not been modeled on a disc with the proper curvature for use on the portrait lathe and the 'depth and steepness of the parts' made it unsuitable for reproduction on a die." So Brown was invited to the Philadelphia Mint to start over; it makes sense that they would take extra special care to make sure his portrait punches were properly made before finally sinking the dies. This piece is, undoubtedly, unique. Nothing similar has ever been sold or published, though full-die cliches of the medium size Andrew Johnson Indian Peace medals (provenanced to the estate of Anthony C. Paquet) appeared on the market nearly a decade ago, selling for a high four-figure sum. Any U.S. Mint cliche is an extreme rarity, and one from the Indian Peace medal series is particularly important. Further, Henry Kirke Brown is essentially uncollectible as a sculptor, though his most famous works have been seen by millions in places like Union Square in New York and Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. This piece was discovered in the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection of political items, secreted away among the Zachary Taylor political medalets and related pieces, its true nature and importance unknown and unappreciated. It belongs appreciated for what it is in an advanced cabinet of Indian Peace medals or U.S. Mint medals of the 19th century. The last example of a struck 51 mm Zachary Taylor Indian Peace medal in silver, sold in Stack's January 2009 Americana sale, brought just under $14,000.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service N/A
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circulated/Uncirc Uncirculated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 11006

Related Blog Article(s)

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

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