Don Goddeau submitted this note about the coin impressions of James and William Tassie.
First, I want to say how pleased I am to find a real person to ask a question about numismatics. It's not my field, except tangentially, and I have been looking for someone with a broad knowledge of the field to ask a question of – you seem to fit the description.
Second, a little background about how I found you and an answer to a question you asked sixteen years ago. While surfing the web looking for all things
Nathaniel Marchant, I came across your diary entry of 7 Aug 2007 in which you described your visit to the Soane Museum in London. You saw the portrait of Marchant labeled,
Nathaniel Marchant R.A. Die Sinker To the MINT" and asked,
Was he an engraver at the Royal Mint? The short answer is found in Seidmann's article (which you mention) 'NATHANIEL MARCHANT, GEM-ENGRAVER 1739-1816', Walpole Society, vol. LIII, 1987, pp. 1-105. By G. Seidmann, It can be found and downloaded at
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41829502.pdf (There is a charge unless you have academic connections.)
In the article, p22, she states,
The first 'place' to which he was appointed, in 1797, was as probationer or apprentice engraver at the Mint, replacing John Milton (who had used Mint facilities for unauthorized purposes) under Pingo as Chief Engraver. In this post, and subsequently that of Assistant Engraver, performed his duties 'with diligence and fidelity', until superannuated for reasons 'age and infirmities' in 1815, only a few months before his death.
Marchant was a very accomplished engraver of gems, both of ancient mythological subjects and contemporary portraits. He was an RA and had exhibited many times at the Royal Academy. The coin engraving was really a very small part of his work. I plan on being in London this Fall and will visit the Soane with one objective being to view the set of his impressions there.
Now, on to the Tassies. My question – Have you ever come across coin impressions similar to those shown below?
I believe they were produced by James and William Tassie roughly during the period between 1780 and 1830. I have presented just about everything I have been able to discover about these coin impressions in a blog post to be accessed at
https://engravedgem.com/coin-impressions-by-tassie/ For almost a year now I have continued to search for additional information about them and have found very little.
I have been in touch with the folks at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow (I also plan to visit there in the Fall). While they have a number of gem impressions and portrait medallions by the Tassies, they don't have any coin impressions, but are very interested in finding some. As mentioned in the blog post, a great many (over 1,000?) of the Tassie coin impressions were of specimens in the Hunter coin collection.
Have you ever come across anything similar (or even single face impressions) in red sulphur or plaster? They usually have the gilded edge, hard paper wrap. I have seen some similar, single face, large medal impressions, but never coins. Supposedly, the Tassies also produced coin impressions in what they called
enamel – a white opaque paste, glass-like substance.
Any thoughts or comments will be appreciated.
Lastly, congratulations on your continuing longevity in authoring pieces about a topic that you clearly love – it shows.
Thank you, although at The E-Sylum it's not just me - it's a whole community of 8,000+ numismatists around the U.S. and the world.
So... can anyone help? I don't know anything more myself, but this sounds like a great topic for our knowledgeable readers.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 7 AUGUST, 2007: SIR JOHN SOANE'S MUSEUM
Wayne Homren, Editor
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