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Commission.  An order to the artist to prepare a design or model; usually in the form of a purchase order or contract. Issued by the medal publisher, medallic firm, or mint, the commission specifies the details of the coin or medal design, limitations, deadline, and, of course, the payment. Usually a statement appears that the design must meet the full approval of the issuer or publisher, the ultimate client or mint officials for whom the coin or medal is made. The artist accepts the commission by signing a copy of the order and returning this to the publisher, medallic firm or mint which will produce the medal. In effect, this is a contract binding both parties to the terms of the commission.

Artists can also do medallic work as a private commission. Medal collector

Samuel Friedenberg, built a large collection of portrait medals and plaques which he privately commissioned American and European artists (and ultimately donated the collection to the Jewish Museum, New York City). Coin and medal design work that is not commissioned is said to be on speculation.


R6 {1963} Friedenberg.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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