Artist Name


birth6/10/1845 in Vienna, AustriaPicture of Anton Scharff
death7/5/1904 in Brunn am Gebirge, Austria
parentsJohann Michael Scharff and ?
educationArt Academy Vienna under Carl Radnitzky, 1860-1862,
Engraving Academy under Joseph Daniel Böhm, 1862
awardsKammermedailleur, 1882,
Member of the Academy of Arts, Vienna, 1888,
Franz-Josef Medal, 1893,

Anton Scharff was born into a family of medalists. His father was the well known Austrian medalist Johann Michael Scharff. He studied first at the art academy in Vienna and then under Joseph Daniel Böhm, a sculptor and medalist and director of the Kaiserlich-königliche Münzgraveur-Akademie, the most prestigious engraving school of Austria.

Scharff's talent was quickly recognized and he became the head of the Engraving Academy in Vienna in 1881. In 1896 he was promoted to director. His medals revitalized the sleepy Austrian medallic art scene that had been dominated by Böhm's strict academic orientation. Scharff became famous for his portrait medals and designed several medals with American motifs for American customers in the later part of his career.

Anton Scharff died in 1904.

From the sources listed in the Resources section.


Gutenberg1899
by Anton Scharff
AS-JG.1
Bronze

The obverse bears bust of Johann Gutenberg facing right. Around, IOHANN GAENSEFLEISCH / VULGO GUTENBERG; on right, BORN / IN MAINZ / GERMANY / BETW. / 1393 - 1400.

The reverse shows Gutenberg statue by Robert Hoe. To left, THE FIRST / AMERICAN STATUE / OF GUTENBERG; to right, ERECTED / IN NEW YORK / BY ROBERT HOE 1899.

Robert Hoe III was a printing press magnate and first President of the Grolier Club. He took over the R. Hoe & Co. from his father and built it into one of the pre-eminent printing press manufacturers of the country, becoming very wealthy in the process of doing so.

His love was not just for the business side though. He truly appreciated books and was a life-long collector of rare books and manuscripts. His interest in Gutenberg, the father of his chosen art, was obvious and he owned one of the few known Gutenberg bibles. In 1899 he commissioned Ralph Goddard to design a statue to celebrate Gutenberg and Scharff to commemorate the event with a medal.

This medal is a part of most famous American Museum collections. It measures 70mm in diameter and was struck in both bronze and silver in unknown quantities by the Christelbauer private mint of Austria.

Paul Bosco sold a silver variant for $695 in 2014. Bronze variants can trade anywhere between $300 and $900.

George Washington1900
by Anton Scharff
AS-GW.1
Bronze
AS-GW.2
Silver

The obverse bears likeness of George Washington, three quarters left. At upper right, GEORGE WASHINGTON; over right shoulder, BORN 1732 / DIED 1799; signed below, A Scharff.

The reverse depicts the newly erected Hall of Fame for Great Americans building at the University of New York. Above, HALL OF FAME FOR GREAT AMERICANS / ERECTED IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK IN 1900; in cartouche, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY CHARTERED - MDCCCXXXI / UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS PURCHASED - MDCCCXCI / UNIVERSITY COLLEGE REMOVED MDCCCXCIV / THIS HALL OF FAME WAS COMPLETED MCM / IN HONOR OF GREAT AMERICANS

This medal by famous Austrian medalist Anton Scharff can be regarded as the inaugural medal for the Hall of Fame of Great Americans medal series (which came much later) and is also a very beautiful George Washington medal by itself.

George Washington was immortalized on innumerable medals and coins but I like this one in particular as it shows him out of uniform and frontal rather than in profile. He looks like a regular man who just happened to become the father of a nation.

This medal is a part of most famous American Museum collections. It measures 72mm in diameter and was struck in both bronze and silver in unknown quantities.

This section has yet to be written.


Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

Short biography
Published in The Numismatic Chronicle (1894) p.121.

Research Archives and Websites

Biography in German
German Language Wikipedia entry for Scharff.

Museums