You can click on the medals to see the reverse.
The obverse bears bust of James Whitcomb Riley facing right. Around, JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY - POET OF HOPE AND CHEER - LOVER AND FRIEND OF MANKIND; left and right, 1849 - 1916
The reverse bears figure of Pan, sitting on a fence, playing a flute for a farmer and child. Signed along edge on lower left, LORADO TAFT.
Taft succeeded at creating a whimsical and highly acclaimed medal in his first attempt at medallic art. The medal was struck as a tribute to Riley on his 65th birthday in 1915. A banquet was held for that event and a decision was made to devise a permanent souvenir for distribution among the banqueters. Loredo Taft, who knew the poet personally and was present at the dinner, was commissioned to execute the medal, which was delivered shortly after Riley's death in 1916.
The medal was accompanied by a sixteen-page booklet entitled "THE RILEY MEDAL".
The medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.
References: Marqusee 373
This medal was chosen as the eleventh issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1935. The obverse bears an elegant woman gazing right; two dolphins meld into field. Around, ONTARIO SENDS GREETINGS TO THE SEA
The reverse bears a depiction of Taft's Fountain of the Great Lakes, with the figures of five young women pouring water from one shell to another. Around, ONTARIO MICHIGAN HURON SUPERIOR ERIE; at lower right, L.T. ©
Lorado Taft is best known for his monumental sculptures, and among these, for his Fountain of the Great Lakes. In the brochure accompanying the medal he wrote:
"As a small boy I was fascinated with the story of the Danaides, - those beautiful sisters who were eternally occupied in the hopeless task of carrying water in a sieve, - no, in forty-nine sieves. To my youthful imagination, they made the most levely groups, and it was unspeakably pathetic to think of them thus punished for killing their husbands - something that might happen in any family!"
Apparently, Taft first proposed a peace-related theme but changed his mind and instead picked a lighter hearted theme.
This medal measures 73mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported production quantity of this medal is 1,025 in bronze and 100 in silver.
References: Marqusee 374
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