Speaking of Brookgreen Gardens, Dick Johnson cataloged a sizable run of Brookgreen Garden membership medals for Joe Levine's upcoming June 2010 auction. With permission, below are some excerpts from the catalog.
Offered here is a sizeable run of highly artistic medals emanating from Brookgreen Gardens, of Murrels Inlet, South Carolina, just south of Myrtle Beach. Everyone who has visited this sculptural garden becomes enthralled, as one views the sculptures, the flora and fauna there, and been captivated by the birds and animals in a natural habitat of outdoor splendor found here on the grounds.
Numismatists will recognize dozens of names among the 350 sculptors’ work here, most in outdoor garden setting, smaller pieces inside -- no surprise coin and medal artists also created large size sculpture. The founders of these gardens are also well known to numismatists. Archer Milton Huntington, benefactor of the American Numismatic Society in NYC, and his sculptor-medallist wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, created this property in 1931 by acquiring four tracts of adjacent lands. They began installing sculpture and it opened to the public in 1937.
The series of yearly medals is somewhat of an afterthought. In 1945 animal sculptor Gertrude Lathrop had created a medal for Brookgreen Gardens, and later, in 1973 the sculptor-president of the Gardens, Carl Paul Jennewein, felt obligated to create a similar 3-inch medal, but this bore the conjoined portraits of the Huntingtons, and the Fighting Stallions, somewhat of a symbol for the Gardens, a massive bronze located at the Gardens entrance, created by Anna Hyatt herself.
With the inspiration of these two medals it was for a later president, Joseph Veach Noble – who would concurrently become the executive director of The Society of Medalists – to install a medal program. His concept was brilliant. Bestow a medal to every member of Brookgreen Gardens. Membership was increased to $250 a year but this tied the medals to the wonderful variety of the Gardens collections, an appropriate icon for every member. Noble commissioned the sculptors who had sculpture on the site while still alive to prepare miniature sculpture to be issued in medallic form, or to established medallists who someday may have their sculpture here.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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