Collection of medals and tokens issued by printers, books...
Collection of Medals and Tokens issued by Printers, Booksellers, and others in the Book Arts
Henry Morris of the Bird & Bull Press spent many years putting together a collection of medals and tokens related to the book arts. The collection resulted in a number of books published by him:
1988. Morris. FIRST FINE SILVER COINAGE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SAN SERRIFFE
1989. Morris. TRADE TOKENS OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS & BOOKMAKERS
1991. Harris. ART OF MEDAL ENGRAVING
1992. William Blades. NUMISMATA TYPOGRAPHICA, THE MEDALLIC HISTORY OF PRINTING.
1996. RARITIES OF NUMISMATA TYPOGRAPHICA, FOUR EXAMPLES OF EARLY DUTCH PRINTER'S',
BOOKBINDERS' & BOOKSELLERS' GUILD MEDALS, CAST IN STERLING SILVER FROM ORIGINAL SPECIMENS.
1996. CHARLES MEUNIER'S PLAQUETTE, 1900. LA RELIEUSE
1999. Adams. INDIAN PEACE MEDALS OF GEORGE III OR HIS MAJESTY'S SOMETIME ALLIES.
2001. Weiss. ILLUSTRIUM IMAGINES INCORPORATING AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF NOTA BY ROBERTO WEISS; ACCOMPANIED BY A LEAF FROM THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED NUMISMATIC BOOK.
2007. Adams. COMITIA AMERICANA AND RELATED MEDALS, UNDERAPPRECIATED MONUMENTS TO OUR HERITAGE. A LEAF BOOK
2007. Adams. MAGNUM OPUS OF JOSEPH FLORIMOND LOUBAT
and the special keepsake medal 18TH CENTURY BOOK-RELATED COLLECTIBLE he issued.
His 1989 production on trade tokens involved the full scale production of medals for a selected group of booksellers and for himself as the private press that printed the book. He saved all the original dies and made a spectacular box to house them and added this to his collection.
Bob Fleck purchased this collection in 2002 and added the items he had collected along the same lines. Henry was very methodical about describing the items. He put together a loose leaf binder which included three sections: 1. Medals in Blades(1); 2. Medals in Jehne(2); 3. All others not in these two references. He then photocopied the important pages in Blades and added photographs of most of the medals to the binder. There are now 457 items in the collection after the addition of Bob's collection (The items are listed in an Excel spread sheet which can be requested).
Some of the highlights of the collection:
6 Dutch Guild Medals from the 17th Century awarded to printers including one in silver which is very rare. Four of these were reproduced as medals for his Rarities of Numismatic Typographica.
The Gold token he created (one of 5 copies) for his book on the coinage of his mythical San Serriffe - "Gold San Serriffe" 100 Coronas
A high relief Liveryman's badge of Stationers' Company ca. 1780
George Mandl's "retired Master" badge from Stationers' Company
The medals are truly spectacular as examples of engraving from the 18th to the 20th century. Each has a story behind it.
ORIGINAL DIES FOR BOOKSELLERS TOKENS/ BIRD & BULL PRESS. Newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press (not published), 1988, box measures 12 x 9 x 6 inches, mahogany box with token inset on top cover, along with metal plate inscribed as "ORIGINAL DIES FOR BOOKSELLER'S TOKENS...BIRD & BULL PRESS".
A set of original dies and other items involved in the production of "Trade Tokens of British and American Booksellers & Bookmakers," compiled and edited by Henry Morris at the Bird & Bull Press, 1989, in an edition limited to 300 copies. Morris has also written a 3-page hand-written letter, "Everything one might want to know about the dies for Booksellers' Tokens," with excerpts quoted below. The participants, whose tokens are included here, are: Bird & Bull Press, The Book Press, Dawson's Book Shop, Detering Book Gallery, Enterprise Books, Joseph J. Felcone, Kater-Crafts Bookbinders, George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books, G.T. Mandl (English papermakers), Iris Nevins (marbler), and Oak Knoll Books; the tokens (w/9 duplicates), along with a rough flan, were made under the supervision of Meyer Katz at the Unity Mint in Ambler, PA, from dies engraved by Kenneth Douglas at the Green Duck Co., in Olive Branch, MS. The set of 11tool-steel dies (22 pieces), now coated with a protective lacquer, cost Morris $9800 in 1988, which he considered a bargain: "His work was excellent and his price was much less than I would have had to pay locally." Also enclosed are 4 rubber molds, and a complete set of the original lead proofs, "which the die-makers submitted prior to striking, like a printer's proof, but in metal." The lot is contained in a box of Honduras mahogany made by Morris from boards he purchased in 1956, to make molds, when he started making paper. "This was a great project, and in addition to all the pleasure and challenges I had from producing it, I have these unique artifacts--the dies themselves...I have written this note to be kept in the box so that someone at some future time knows the main details of the contents, also to know that the contents, as described, are complete."
(1)William Blades. NUMISMATA TYPOGRAPHICA, THE MEDALLIC HISTORY OF PRINTING.
(2)Paul Jehne. ÜBER BUCHDRUCK-MEDAILLEN. 1907