You can click on the medals to see the reverse.
The uniface medal's obverse bears bust of female goddess of war or victory with helmet and spear. Around edge, ARTISTS FOR VICTORY INC. EXHIBITION; under truncation, METROPOLITAN / MUSEUM OF ART; at bottom, 1942; signed to right of helmet crest, C. L. SCHMITZ
The December 1942 Artists for Victory exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum was a huge artistic competition with prizes being awarded for hundreds of works in many different categories. The jury had to select from a pool of 14,000 works to come up with the still enormous collection of over 1,400 works that were exhibited and competed for awards. The "Sculpture" category alone contained 305 works.
The exhibition was widely criticized for its huge scale and the fact that the 44 award winners were spread throughout the massive show, making them hard to find and enjoy. One article stated that
"it would have been more humane to have arranged [the show] into 50 weekly exhibitions."
I don't know whether this medal was a design for an award or to promote the exhibition or maybe even an entry in the exhibition.I would appreciate more information about the medal's mintage and general background.
This medal was chosen as the 28th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1943.
The obverse bears couple in modern dress kneeling in prayer; orator in eighteenth-century costume speaks to seated figures, one of with left hand raised. Above and below, FREEDOM OF / SPEECH / RELIGION
The reverse bears farmer standing with sheaf of wheat and calf watching seated woman holding a healthy infant. Above, FREEDOM FROM WANT AND FROM FEAR; below © C.L.SCHMITZ
This medal is one of the two war-time SOM medals that were originally struck in silver because copper was largely dedicated to war needs. Apparently, 35 37mm-diameter pieces were struck in bronze but even long-time collectors have not seen any. Some were later struck in the 1970's, in bronze and silver and in the small 37mm as well as the large 73mm diameter.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had helped popularize the idea of the Four Freedoms in his State of the Union address in 1941. German-born Schmitz (Metz was at the time of his birth still part of the German Empire) subscribed whole-heartedly to these ideals. He wrote:
"It is fitting that we, who have enjoyed the full measure of the 'Four Freedoms,' should be the instrument by which these rights of man are proclaimed. The task is hard, but with faith in ourselves and our fellowman, it will be done."
This medal was produced in 37mm and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported production quantity of this medal is 796 small-diameter silver, 35 small-diameter bronze, 100 large-diameter bronze, and 100 large-diameter silver.
The medal's obverse bears bust of Francis Parkman, l. Around, SOCIETY OF AMERICAN HISTORIANS ˙ FRANCIS PARKMAN PRIZE; signed on truncation, C L SCHMITZ
The medal's reverse bears the Society's seal with motto SIC HISTORIA / DISSIPABIT
The edge bears maker's mark MEDALLIC ART CO NY BRONZE
The Society of American Historians' Francis Parkman Prize is awarded annually for the best nonfiction work of history on an American theme published the previous year. The prize, which carries an award of $2000, is named for Francis Parkman, whose monumental work, France and England in North America (7 vols., Boston: Little, Brown, 1865-92), was widely praised for its literary elegance as well as its historical importance.
This medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.
Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.