Artist Name

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You can click medals to switch between obverse and reverse sides.

  • Chilkat Tlingit Indians 1972
    by John Svenson
    SOM-86.1
    Golden bronze with tan patina

    This medal was chosen as the 86th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The obverse bears a Chilkat chieftain in ceremonial headdress composed of carved wood frontispiece overlaid with pelts, topped with feathers and walrus whiskers. At right, vertical incuse CHILKAT; below collar, SVENSON 72 ©

    The reverse bears Tlingit house post depicting the String Boy legend; Cannibal mask on left, Bear Dance mask on right; Diving Whale blanket behind. Above, TLINGIT INDIANS; below, ALASKA.

    The Chilkat were a warlike Tlingit tribe that became wealthy by trading furs with their Russian and American neighbors. Svenson was a trustee for Alaska Indian Arts in Port Chilkoot, Alaska, and deeply familiar with Native American Arts of the Northwest. His medal was the third issue of the Society of Medalists that had a Native American theme: Hermon MacNeil's Hopi and Allan Houser's Apache Fire Dance were the other two.

    SOM-86.1
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Golden bronze with tan patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 86TH ISSUE - OCTOBER 1972 JOHN E. SVENSON, SC.(C)
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
    SOM-86 Romance Brochure
  • 
    Pierce Life Insurance Company 1972
    by John Svenson
    PNLI
    Golden Bronze

    The obverse shows flock of abstract sea birds soaring.

    The reverse bears image of home office in Los Angeles, California. Above, PIERCE NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY; below, HOME OFFICE / LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

    The edge contains maker's mark at 6:00: MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

    The Pierce National Life Insurance Company completed the construction of its office building in Los Angeles in 1972 and this is probably the event commemorated by this medal.

    I am not certain that John Svenson is the designer, but he is the only sculptor I find mentioned in connection with the Pierce National Life Insurance Company (the National Sculpture Society's bio for Svenson makes the connection). It is very possible that the obverse design is based on one of Svenson's sculptures. Any confirmation on the designer and the year of origin would be deeply appreciated.

    The medal measures 76mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company.

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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.

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