101792 | UNITED STATES. Columbian Expo bronze award Medal.
101792 | UNITED STATES. Christopher Columbus/Columbian Expo bronze award Medal. Issued 1893 as the official prize [awarded to Velhagen & Klasing] (76mm, 197.03 g, 12h). By A. Saint-Gaudens.
Columbus advancing facing slightly left onto land, extending arms and with head lifted toward the heavens; to upper right, arms of Spain above CHRISTOPHER / COLVMBVS / OCT XII / MCCCCXCII in four lines / Two nude female genii seated back-to-back, one trumpeting, the other inscribing globe between them; garlanded torch to left and right; below, Santa Maria left; all around central plaque reading WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION / IN COMMEMORATION OF THE / FOUR HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY / OF THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS / MDCCCXCII • MDCCCLCIII / TO [VELHAGEN AND KLASING] in six lines. Edge: Plain.
Eglit 90; Rulau X3. Gem Mint State. Rich brown surfaces with exceptional relief; includes original aluminum case of issue. Not often encountered this attractive, and very rare with the original box.
Velhagen & Klasing was a fairly major German publishing company in the 19th and 20th centuries, eventually garnering a large share of the textbook industry for German schoolchildren. Following World War I, the company benefitted from their publishing of atlases that, rather than ackowledging the post-war borders, focused on a pro-German, nationalistic representation of the borders that would incorrectly grow during the interwar period. During the lead-up to the quadricentennial of Columbus's initial contact with the New World, numerous medals were designed and struck, both in the United States—in conjunction with the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago—and abroad, sometimes for this event or for similar others. In this case, the illustrious sculptor-engraver, Augustus Saint-Gaudens—instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with American numismatics—designed the obverse of this official prize medal. Featuring a nude male on the reverse supplied by Saint-Gaudens, the design was later modified to feature nude females instead, with Charles Barber offering the finished product. Though the nude male design of Saint-Gaudens was viewed as a bit too provocative by the committee in charge of approval, the design with not one, but two nude females was gladly accepted by the panel.
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