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Remodel, Remodeled

Remodel, Remodeled.  To model again; to prepare another model because some change needs to be performed in design, portrait, or lettering. Most often an artist is asked to remodel his design because of an error caught by the editor, or a change dictated by client or circumstances (as a change of client's name or date appearing on the item). The editor will give instructions for the artist to correct the error and submit a second or subsequent model. Remodeling is only in the model stage; it differs from retooling for changes once a die has been completed (and found to require some change).

Extensive remodeling occurred in the 1960s. Prior to this time industrial medals showed factory buildings complete with smokestacks. Belching smoke from a smokestack implied industrial vitality and activity prior to World War II. But with the rising movement of environmental awareness smoke became abhorrent. It had to be removed from medal designs; sculptors were asked to remodel and remove the smoke (and often the smokestacks!). This was an example not only of a change in symbology but of political correctness influencing medallic art.

How remodeling of an existing medal is accomplished. First step in remodeling is a search to find the pattern for the side of the die to be corrected. Seldom, if ever, is the original plaster model still in existence, but this could be used. If not, the dieshell is found and a plaster casting is made from this. Corrections could be made in the plaster by removing any unwanted relief, correcting any lettering, changing the logo, or whatever change is ordered.

After final touchup of the plaster surface, a new galvano dieshell would be made (by electrodeposition), and a new die cut from the finished dieshell. Despite the many number of steps this is a better method than trying to retool the surface of the old die (grinding off unwanted detail and repunching correct lettering). Such a treatment of an old die is often unsatisfactory but this occurred infrequently until the end of the 19th century.

In the event the original plaster model or galvano dieshell is not in existence, the sculptor must create a new model using an existing medal or drawing as a guide. In every one of these instances a new variety would be created, to the delight of collectors and numismatists. Another example of remodeling is illustrated in the entry contraposition.

          [[ Illustrations: 1909 Assay Medal rev,  1959 Assay Medal rev. ]]


     1959 Assay Medal Excellent Example of Remodeling   


     For their choice of a medal to be distributed to the

 members of the United States Assay Commission for 1959 

 members of the engraving department at the Philadelphia

 Mint chose to use a portrait of Lincoln – after all it

 was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.          


     They chose an existing stunning portrait by George 

 Morgan (from his Presidential Medal, PR-12). For the   

 reverse they harkened back to Morgan's 1909 Assay Medal.

 There was only one problem. The Lincoln Presidential   

 Medal was round, the Assay Medal was a rectangular    



     Solution?  Remodel the reverse design into a round 

 format. All the elements are reproduced: Treasury seal,

 branches, lettering. Some artistic license was taken by

 adding additional foliage, but even the lettering style  

 was retained.                                           


     This was work in clay and plaster – typical of    

 remodeling. A galvano was made of the accepted

 revised version and a die cut from the galvano.     


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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