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Foundation Medal

Foundation Medal.  A medallic item along with other artifacts that are placed in a chamber of a new building's foundation, usually a cornerstone. The objects are somewhat of a time capsule to be examined at a later time – it is never known at the time of their entombment when they will see the light of day again. Sometimes the objects are lost track of, however building demolition workers know where to look and attempt to retrieve such artifacts. Often when these items are examined they are of less value and historical importance than expected. Medals are often the most relative artifact (and often the most indestructible) as paper items or other media may not endure the years of confinement. Such foundation medals, however, become artifacts for those that are recovered. The custom of placing items in cornerstone or foundation goes back at least to the 15th century. One of the earliest foundation medals was a portrait of Filippo Strozzi, a merchant prince of Florentine, 1489. The artist is unrecorded but it is in the manner of Niccolo Fiorentino, made for the completion of the prince's palace, inaugurated August 6, 1489. (Kress A1024.286A).


NC5 {1951} National Gallery of Art, p 180, illus p 117.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


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