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The E-Sylum (6/20/2010)

Book Content

Caroline Newton of Baldwin's forwarded a pre-sale press release for their second sale of the Michael Hall Collection of Medallic Portraits. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

Michael Hall has been a prolific collector of art for more than 60 years amassing vast collections with a focus on sculpture. Michael was inspired in his youth by the Kress Collection, a phenomenal collection of medals housed in the National Gallery of Art in Washington that are of artistic importance, not just of historical or archaeological interest. It is therefore unsurprising that the focus of the numismatic part of the Hall collections has always been on the artistic and sculptural aspects of the medals which have augmented his interest in sculpture of all origins and periods.

The aim of the collection is to share the artistic legacy of Europe with the American people, a sentiment which still resonates with Michael. He offers his collection to the public at large with generosity and well meaning and with ‘the hope that you will be as successful as I have been in my most satisfying endeavors.’

The auction of the second part of his collection begins with a large and impressive group of Papal medals from the 15th century onwards, from which highlights include a group of six prize medals of the Accademia di san Luca (lots 1227-1232). Founded in 1593, the academy was setup as an association of artists in Rome for the purpose of elevating the work of “artists”, including painters, sculptors and architects. The image on the reverse of the medals was designed by Giovanni Hamerani in 1694 and was taken from a painting by Guercino. Hamerani came from a family of celebrated artists and engravers and was appointed as medallist to the pope. It has been said he possessed a purer and far superior style to other engravers of his time. Intended as an annual competition, although it was not always the case, these medals were given in three classes and in three disciplines, painting, sculpture and architecture.

Bernhard Perger medal obverse Bernhard Perger medal reverse

The most significant of the group are lots 1227 (which carries a pre-sale estimate of £800-1200) and lot 1232 (pictured above) which is the only lot to be engraved by Bernhard Perger and has an estimate of £700-900. Other stand out pieces from the section include lots 1245 and 1246, two Clement XII medals. The first is a choice, extremely fine, 1753 Damascened Bronze Complimentary Medal, estimate £300-400 and the second is a 1733 Silver Fountain Medal of San Giovanni in Laterano, estimate £600-800.

The second part of the sale of the Michael Hall Collection of Renaissance and later medals is set to be held by Baldwin’s on the 29th June this year in London and the catalogue can be viewed online at .

Following on from the outstanding success of part one of the collection this, the second part is a smaller, modest, prelude to the finale due to take place on the 28th September, during London Coinex week. The third and final part of the collection will comprise of northern European Renaissance and later medals.

For more information about The Michael Hall Collection please contact Graham Byfield on +44 (0)20 7930 6879 or at

I asked Caroline "if there are plans to document the collection in a book or to publish hardcover versions of the catalogs. I think this collection and catalogs would make a great reference." Caroline replies:

That’s a very good question! As far as I know there is a plan to publish the three catalogues as a hard bound volume, in the same way as we did with the Diana collection, but I think we will take the decision after the final part of the auction once we can gauge demand for it. Hopefully I’ll have more info for the third part of the auction.

Many of the medals in this part of the sale are portrait medals, but there are also some nice architectural medals. I've pictured one below.

Restoration of the Colleseum medal 1806

1257 The Restoration of the Colosseum, Copper Medal, 1806, by T Mercandetti, bust left wearing cap, cope and stole, rev façade of the Colosseum, AMPHIT FLAVIVM REPARATVM, 68mm (Patrignani 45; Bartolotti 78; Weber 232).

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