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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 12, March 25, 2007, Article 12

MANSHIP MEDALLIC ASHTRAYS MADE BY MEDALLIC ART COMPANY

Dick Johnson writes: "Paul Manship made the models for his zodiac
series of medallic ashtrays in the 1920s. He brought his set of twelve
models to Medallic Art Company, then in New York City, which produced
them in metal for him. This was before 1929, because in that year eight
of the twelve were acquired by American Numismatic Society (accession
numbers 1929.54.25 through 1929.54.32).

"These pure copper medallic ashtrays were made by electroforming, a
process similar to electrogalvanic casting (which makes the copper
patterns for coins and medals, prior to reducing and cutting dies).
The action for both processes takes place in electrolytic tanks where
an electrolyte solution contains copper ions in solution. The copper
for the ashtrays comes from sacrificial copper anodes that furnish the
ions of copper to replace the ions in that solution that deposit on
the objectís mold.

While I cataloged all the medals made by Medallic Art Company during
the decade I worked there I did not catalog the galvanos, patterns,
dieshells, molds and other objects in the firmís die vault. I wish I
had done that.

However, the medallic ashtrays were made sporadically from the 1920s
until 1972. There was never a large order for these, and, I was told,
never all twelve were made at one time after World War II. Orders, as
might be expected, were always for one or two specific zodiac symbols.

The ashtrays were given an antique copper finish. Unlike medals they
were never sprayed with a protective lacquer -- this would discolor
rapidly with use as an ashtray.

Interestingly, when we placed these out in the open in our showroom
in New York City they were the most stolen object. I never saw more
than three of these at any one time. When we moved in June 1972 to
Danbury Connecticut even these had disappeared."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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