The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 6, February 8, 2015, Article 16


Skyler Liechty forwarded the following information about a new medal designed by Alex Shagin for the Medal Collectors of America (MCA). Thanks. -Editor

2015 MCA medal silv obv 2015 MCA medal silver rev

The Medal Collectors of America are pleased to announce the release of their 2015 club medal. Designed by the legendary Alex Shagin. Available in a 5 oz silver version for $250 and bronze for $45, orders must be received by April 1, 2015.

Please note that they are only available to MCA members. Dues are $55/year and include mailed hard copies of MCA Advisory [6 issues per year]; $25 (Includes subscription of electronic online copies of MCA Advisory). Joining is easy; send an additional payment for the medal with your order to join. For more information see:

Please send your check or money order to:
MCA c/o Barry Tayman
3115 Nestling pine Court
Ellicott City, MD 21042

The following is artist Alex Shagin's discussion of the medal's design. -Editor

History is Always Right
Alex Shagin

Among the most elegant pairs of sandals parked by the entrance to the Temple of Apollo, there was one that almost certainly belonged to the celator’s Muse. No records survive as to an Academy voting on the likeness of the Nymph Aretusa – the one done by Kimon or that by Eautanetos. Today, we simply enjoy them both.

When, come the Renaissance, the noble art of medal-making had been resurrected, there still was no “Academy Award Night” to choose between Antonio (of Pisa) and Benvenuto ( of the Cellini family) and many others toiling in their shops to outdo the ancients. When the first steam engines arrived in the 19th century, the art of die-sinking had spread all over Europe. These machines enabled the art of the “mini-monuments” that could be passed from hand to hand and left well rested in the safety of cabinet drawers, or passed from grandfathers to grandchildren as cherished heirlooms.

Between Pistrucchi, Wyon and Dupre, there was no bitter rivalry nor Academy Awards at which to aim. The patrons of the arts were just doing what felt right. The “king of hobbies” craved no prime television time, because the celator’s Muse preferred to work hand in hand with Clio, the Historian, and stayed away from the executives in Central Casting.

Just a short time later came the era of the “Peace and Friendship” medals that got a great deal of recognition and support on both sides of the Atlantic. Native chiefs were proud of these coveted trophies, seeking to show them off even on their way to places of eternal rest. That glorious tradition celebrating the diplomatic ties between the European powers and First Peoples has left modern day scholars with some of the greatest examples of numismatic art – art that served to immortalize.

These medals are pieces of our cultural history that have kept civilization on the march (and connoisseurs on their toes). As memorials, they continue to educate and entertain and inspire. This, then, is what the 2015 MCA Club medal is seeking to re-enact, doing so without a big budget, wide screen theatres or Hollywood searchlights. Our medal focuses on some of the golden moments of history, with the aim to appeal to patrons of art and craftsmanship. Our hobby has been “the privilege of few and the envy of many” for over 25 centuries.

So many faithful practitioners and generous supporters have worked for so long to preserve this cultural celebration of the creative spirit and the progress of the human race that it feels almost too easy for us today to fill those “sandals” and follow the footsteps of the old masters in our attempt to deliver the “message” and to share the “stage” with all people of good will. Yet, as in so many instances of turbulent eras in the past, we are still finding our culture at the crossroads (and in the cross-hairs) of the conflicting agendas and demands being presented to our small group of enthusiasts as well as modern day society as a whole.

Your recognition of the message encoded in this new design (“AS WE REMEMBER, SO WE WILL BE REMEMBERED”) will be crucial for the future of an “authors-generated” art and its ability to contribute to the well-being of the medium. This we say even as we witness the ongoing process of revision and “modernization”; ours is like the basketry craft competing with plastic containers.

Before we are history let us remember Abe Lincoln’s immortal words, “We cannot escape history”. Thus, history is going to remain the most demanding judge and jury. I give you this medal not expecting awards or fanfare, just your simple enjoyment of what the art can produce.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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