Artist Name

birth7/13/1887 in Palermo, ItalyPicture of de Francisci
parentsBenedetto de Francisci and Maria Liberante
educationCooper Union, New York City
Art Students League, New York City
Teacher at Columbia University
awardsSaltus Award (1927)
Lindsey Morris Award (1932)

Antonio de Francisci was born on July 13, 1887 in Palermo, Italy, the capital of Sicily. His father was a marble cutter whom Anthony had assisted as a child. In 1895 he moved to the United States but he wouldn't become a naturalized citizen until 1913.

He attended Cooper Union in New York City where he studied sculpture under James Earle Fraser, Hermon MacNeil, and Adolph A. Weinman. One of de Francisci's first known medals is a plaque honoring his teacher Weinman.

After graduating from Cooper Union de Francisci found employment as a teacher at Columbia University but within a few years he had managed to open his own studio in New York City. De Francisci soon became known as a designer of coins. His design was chosen for the Maine Memorial Commemorative half dollar as well as for the Peace dollar.

Picture of Teresa
Teresa de Francisci
The latter represented a tremendous victory for de Francisci because he won the design competition against the great sculptors and medalists of his time. But beyond the mere prestige, de Francisci had chosen his wife Teresa as a model. As a consequence of his victory an image of the love of his life would henceforth grace the silver coins of their adopted home country.

While de Francisci never designed other coins afterwards his designs appeared on several medals. Shortly before his death, he designed the 1964/1965 World's Fair in New York City medal. He died on October 20th, 1964 in New York City, the city he almost never left after moving there. His wife Teresa survived him for 26 years to die at the ripe old age of 92.

Sourced from Wikipedia and the sites listed under Resources.

You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

Paul Revere Medal1925

This medal was the 45th issue of the American Numismatic Society.

The obverse bears bst of Paul Revere, l. above sword entwined with fillet and a silver urn; cable border around circumference. Above, --- PAUL REVERE ---; to right, -1753 / 1818-; to left and right, PATRIOT SOLDIER / SILVERSMITH ENGRAVER

The reverse shows Revere standing beside horse, awaiting the lantern signal from the church steeple. Around, PAUL REVERE SESQUI-CENTENNIAL 1925; in exergue, A N (ANS seal) S; to left and right of exergue, signed A F

The medal measures 63mm (2.5in) in diameter. The Medallic Art Company of New York struck 173 pieces in bronze and at least 65 in silver.

Manton B. Metcalf Plaque 1925

The obverse bears likeness of Manton B. Metcalf, one hand in pocket, one holding jacket. At upper left, hanging wreath above MANTON · B / METCALF; in bottom frame, (rosette) · FOVNDER · OF · THE · / · WELFARE · FEDERATION ·


The edge is hallmarked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

On this plaque Metcalf is honored for is role as founder of the Welfare Foundation of the Oranges and Maplewood. Manton Metcalf continued a tradition of philanthropy in his family when he founded the the Welfare Foundation benefiting the New Jersey townships of Orange and Maplewood.

Manton B. Metcalf's father Jesse had earlier established the Rhode Island School of Design in 1877 in memory of his wife. Upon Manton Metcalf's unexpected death in 1923, a substantial art collection and $50,000 went to RISD and its museum. The Metcalf family continued its philantropic engagement and supported RISD and the museum throughout the 20th century.

The plaque measures 64.7mm x 89.2mm and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1925-036

The William Lawrence Saunders Award Medal 1927

The obverse bears nude female figure representing Earth kneeling on rocky surface holding up large rock in offering; sun rays on horizon behind. At bottom, THE / WILLLIAM LAWRENCE SAVNDERS AWARD

The reverse bears a burning torch along left edge and the seal of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers in the top right corner. Inscription reads AWARDED BY / AMERICAN INSTITVTE OF / MINING AND METALLVRGICAL / ENGINEERS / FOR / ACHIEVEMENT IN MINING / (rosette) (rosette) (rosette) / TO / WALTER HULL ALDRIDGE / 1933

The edge is hallmarked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

William Lawrence Saunders was the 1915 president of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, a chairman of Ingersoll Rand Company, and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This award, known today as the William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal, was established in 1927 and recognizes achievement in mining other than coal. Anthony de Francisci designed the award medal in 1927. A plaster cast is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Walter Hull Aldridge (1867-1959) was an accomplished mining engineer and, in addition to this very prestigious award, received the coveted John Fritz Medal (1950) regarded as the highest honor an engineer may attain.

The plaque measures 67mm x 89mm and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1926-009

Midland Utilities Life Saving Medal 1928

The medal's obverse features a powerful, god-like figure carrying in his arms a limp body; in background, towering cloud with lightning and waves. Around, MIDLAND · UTILITIES · MEDAL; in exergue, · 1928 (AF monogram)

The reverse bears burning candle. Around, AWARDED · IN · RECOGNITION · OF / GREAT · PUBLIC · SERVICE · IN / SAVING · HUMAN · LIFE; at bottom; · TO · / ALBERT - FARMER / · 19 - 33 ·

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. SILVER

De Francisci designed this medal for the Midland Utilities Company as an award given to people who had saved a human life. The medals were expensively customized for each recipient and certainly not mass-produced.

This particular medal was awarded to Albert Farmer of Terre Haute, Indiana. Mr. Farmer, who worked as a railroad lineman for the Indiana Railroad Company, resuscitated the 4 year old Harry Sumner, saving him from drowning on July 31st, 1932.

The medal was first awarded in 1929. In 1933, the year in which this medal was awarded, only five life saving medal were awarded, providing an indication of the rarity of this medal.

The medal measures 64mm in diameter and was struck in bronze and silver by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintages are reported.

References: Baxter 350, MACo 1928-060

Fiat Vita 1935
Silver-plated with light frosty antiquing
Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing

This medal was chosen as the twelfth issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1935. The obverse bears hand with flame bracelet holding infant and moon before swirling clouds and lighning. Divided by hand, FIAT - VITA; signed at bottom with large circled © and FRANCISCI ··· around.

The reverse bears streams of plasma, stars, and lightning around cloudy center, suggesting the creation of the cosmos.

De Francisci picked Creation as the theme for this medal and succeeded in creating a beautiful medal that combines both the religious and the scientific approaches in one model. The obverse shows the hand of the creator, on which rests a bold infant, secure in its place in the center of the universe. On the reverse we have a more scientific image of swirling gas clouds, hinting at cosmological processes of creation.

As de Francisci put it in his "Sculptor's Message," which focused on the scientific explanation:

"The advent of life, either in its rudimentary or complex organism, is based on the hypothesis that life could evolve and endure on all planets receiving heat and light from a central orb."

The scalloped edge incorporated the medal as a whole into the design and made it even more special.

Struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York, the medal measures 72mm in diameter and has a reported production quantity of 1,165 in silver-plated bronze and 100 in silver. This medal was re-issued in silver in 1993 as part of a promotion. The mintage of that re-issue is not known.

References: Marqusee 160

Silver-plated Bronze
72.0mm (2.83in)
Silver-plated with light frosty antiquing
Silver-plated Bronze
72.0mm (2.83in)
Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing
72.0mm (2.83in)
72.0mm (2.83in)
SOM-12 Romance Brochure #1 SOM-12 Romance Brochure #2
Ford Motor Company 50th Anniversary 1953

De Francisci designed this medal for the Ford Motor Company to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The obverse bears the busts of Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, and Henry Ford II. Below, HENRY FORD - EDSEL FORD - HENRY FORD II; under lowest bust, After Norman Rockwell / * * A d F Sc * * *.

The reverse bears a circle of stars. Across, 50 / YEARS FORWARD / ON THE / AMERICAN ROAD / 1903 - 1953 / FORD MOTOR COMPANY.

The medal was struck in two variations. This is an examplar of the variant that was distributed in the United States and reads ... AMERICAN ROAD ... on the reverse. The variant for Canada and the rest of the world read 50 YEARS WITH FORD.

The medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

The Murray D. Lincoln Commemorative Medal 1960

The obverse bears bust of Murray D. Lincoln, right. Around, (rosette) MURRAY · D · LINCOLN (rosette) / COMMEMORATIVE · AWARD

The reverse bears stylized wreath around. In center, "PEOPLE · / · HAVE · WITHIN · / THEIR · OWN · HANDS / THE · TOOLS · TO · FASHION / · · THEIR · OWN · · / · DESTINY" · / (signature of Murray D Lincoln); signed (AF monogram)

Murray D Lincoln (1892-1966) grew up and was educated in Massachusetts. He started his career as a county agricultural agent in New London county, Connecticut. He eventually lead four Nationwide Insurance companies as President. Outside of business he was a member of the American Food for Peace Council, Freedom from Hunger Committee, National Commission on Literacy, the central committee of the International Cooperative Alliance, and the advisory committee of the Agency for International Development (AID).

The circular medal measures 70mm and was struck in bronze.

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Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

Research Archives and Websites