This collection of 83 coins was donated in November of 2000 by an anonymous donor. The individuals on the coins range from psychiatrists and physiologists to philosophers, biologists, and chemists. The wide range of professions demonstrates the diversity of thought that was necessary to create the field of psychology and lead to modern day psychological theories. Many individuals in this coin collection were not psychologists, but rather contributed to the field of psychology by influencing the thoughts of later scientists who in turn used these ideas to form the field of psychology. The collection spans from the earliest coin being minted in 1799 up through the most recent in 2004. The donation letter accompanying the collection reads:


Dear ------,

Please find attached the commemorative medals and coins. I had them appraised for -----. I would appreciate a letter from APA confirming this amount and their receipt. I am happy to make this donation but wish to remain anonymous.

Yours Truly,

-------- P.S. I got my list from Boring’s History of Experimental Psychology. This would explain the relevance of some of the more obscure people.

Boring’s History of Experimental Psychology included information on some of the subjects in the collection, but there were a few who were not listed in this text. Each entry includes an image of the obverse and reverse (when there were images on the reverse) of the coin with a brief biography of the individual, an explanation of why the coin was created, a description of images and writing on the coin, date it was minted (if available), and measurements of the coin.

More Coins by Name

A - D | E - Lei | O - Z

Leverrier, Urbain Jean Joseph (1977)


Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier was born on March 11, 1811 in Saint-Lo, France. He was a French astronomer and mathematician who analyzed the orbit of Uranus and accurately predicted the existence of another planet nearby. This prediction led directly to the discovery of Neptune in 1846. Leverrier died on September 23, 1877 in Paris, France. The medallion was minted on the 100th anniversary of Leverrier’s date of death. Alphee Dubois was the French sculptor and medalist who created the image of Leverrier shown on the medallion in 1884. His name and the date of creation are printed on the obverse of the coin. The obverse also contains a bust of the left profile of Leverrier with the inscription, “U.J.J. LE VIERRER DE L’ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES 1811-1877” surrounding the image. The coin was purchased on September 2, 1984. The reverse depicts the known planets at the time and in the center has a chariot with four horses on a cloud. The medal was made in bronze and measures 2 11/16 inches in diameter.

Lewin, Kurt (2004)


Kurt Lewin was born on September 9, 1890 in Mogilno, Germany (now in Poland). He is best known for experimental learning, Field Theory, group dynamics, and as the founder of modern day social psychology. Lewin contributed to Gestalt psychology by expanding on theories and applying them to human behavior. Lewin died on February 12, 1947 in Newtonville, Massachusetts. The coin was minted to honor Lewin’s life during an international conference held for his contribution to contemporary psychology. The conference was held on Sept. 10-11, 2004 in Mogilno, Poland. The medal appears to be made of silver and measures 3 X 3 inches. The obverse contains a right-facing portrait of Lewin with his name, birth and death dates, and location of the conference underneath. The reverse of the coin contains the inscription, “INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, KURT LEWIN, CONTRIBUTION TO CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY, 10-11 SEPTEMER, 2004, MOGILNO, POLAND.”

Locke, Johannes (No Date)


Johannes Locke (better known as John Locke) was born on August 29, 1632 in Wrington, Somerset, England. He is known as the Father of Liberalism and was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of the Enlightenment thinkers. He is equally important to the development of social contract theory and had an impact on epistemology and political philosophy. Locke’s writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the American Declaration of Independence. Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self. He was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness. He postulated that the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary to pre-existing Cartesian philosophy, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception. Locke died on October 28, 1704 in High Laver, Essex, England. The medal has an image on the reverse side of two women holding items and a cherub with an open book beneath them. Below the image is the date of Locke’s death, 1704. The obverse of the coin contains a right-facing image of Locke with his name above the image. The medal appears to be made of bronze and measures 1 11/16 inches in diameter.

Lopez, Gilles (No Date)


Gilles Lopez was an ecclesiastical scholar circa 1276. The coin was created in the Paris Mint in 1976 and is number 106 out of 500. The coin is the Gilles Lopez seal and was originally designed around 1276. The obverse of the coin shows an individual seated with a large, open book in front of him on a bookstand. The wording around the image has been partially obliterated and is unreadable. The reverse of the coin is convex and smooth with no distinguishable markings. The medal appears to be made of bronze and measures 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Ludwig II of Bavaria (1867)


Ludwig II of Bavaria was born on August 25, 1845 in Nymphenburg Palace, Munich. He was king of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death in 1886. He is sometimes referred to as the Swan King or Mad King Ludwig. Ludwig led an eccentric life and had several extravagant fairy tale-type castles constructed during his lifetime. He was thought to have mental illness, although there were no tests to determine such and one day after the diagnosis he died under mysterious circumstances. Ludwig died on June 13, 1886 in Starnberger See, Bavaria. The coin was commissioned three years after he began his reign of Bavaria. The obverse of the coin shows a profile of Ludwig, the artwork being done by C. Voigt. The reverse of the coin shows a woman wearing a crown and holding a scepter with a small child, both of which are floating on a cloud. The coin appears to be made of silver and measures 1 5/16 inches in diameter.

Luther, Martin (1983)


Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony (Germany). He confronted the sales of Indulgences with his 95 Theses and initiated the Protestant Reformation. He challenged the authority of the pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge. Luther died on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben. The commemorative coin is in honor of the 500th anniversary of his birth. It was designed by Everhart and created by Celebration Arts. The medal is made of bronze and measures 3 inches in diameter. The obverse contains a left-facing bust of Luther with his name above, his birth date to the left, his death date to the right, and the phrase, “500TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH” below the image. The reverse contains the quote, “I believe that there is on Earth through the whole wide world no more than one holy common Christian Church…”

Luther, Martin and Philipp Melanchthon (No Date)


Philipp Melanchthon was born on February 15, 1497 in Bretten, Palatinate (Germany). He was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems. He stands next the Calvin and Luther as a reformer, theologian, and molder of Protestantism. Melanchthon died on April 19, 1560 in Wittenberg, Saxony (Germany). Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony (Germany) and initiated the Protestant Reformation. As a priest and theology professor he confronted indulgence salesmen with his The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. He was excommunicated by the pope and condemned as an outlaw by the emperor for his actions and thoughts. Luther died on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben. The obverse of the coin has both Luther and Melanchthon’s names and profiles, with Luther’s profile in the foreground and Melanchthon’s slightly behind Luther’s. The artwork on the coin was created by P. P. W. The reverse of the coin shows the 1530 Confession of Augsburg. The coin appears to be made of bronze and measures 1 11/16 inches in diameter.

Mach, Ernst (1985)


Ernst Mach was born on February 18, 1838 in Chirlitz-Turas, Moravia, Austrian Empire. He was an Austrian physicist and philosopher remembered for his contributions to physics, such as the Mach number and the study of shock waves. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and through his criticism of Newton, a forerunner for Einstein’s relativity. In psychology, Mach studied the area of sensory perception and is remembered for the optical illusion called the Mach band. Mach died on February 19, 1916 in Haar, Germany. The medal was cast in bronze and commemorates Mach’s achievements in philosophy and aerodynamics. The inscription on the reverse is written in French and reads “PHYSICIEN ET PHILOSOPHE AUTRICHIEN VITESSE DU SON EN AERODYNAMIQUE.” The obverse contains a bust of Mach’s right profile with his birth and death dates and name engraved to the right of the image. To the left of the image are the letters “M” and “S”. The medal was designed by W. Schiffer and measures 2 5/8 inches in diameter.

Machiavelli, Niccolo (1982)


Born May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy, Niccolo Machiavelli is associated with corrupt, totalitarian government. His reputation is due to a pamphlet he wrote to gain favor with the ruling Medici family called The Prince. His goal throughout his career was to unite Italy, although after the Medici family came to power in Florence he was dismissed from politics and turned to writing. Machiavelli’s reputation lasted far after his death in June 21, 1527 in Florence, the word Machiavellian was coined in his dishonor to describe corrupt government. The obverse of the coin shows a right profile of Machiavelli with his last name and dates of birth and death. The reverse depicts a crude image of a city (most likely Florence). The coin is made of bronze, was designed by Querolle, and measures 3 ¼ inches in diameter.

Mariotte, Edmond (1974)


Mariotte was born in 1620 at Dijon, France. He is best known for discovering the blind spot in visual fields, known as Mariotte’s spot. He also did extensive work on optics and color perception. In addition, he made other important discoveries in different areas of science such as physics, mechanics, hydraulics, optics, plant physiology, meteorology, surveying, and research methodology. Mariotte was an active experimenter whose experimental principles separated science from metaphysics. He died on May 12, 1684 in Paris, France. The coin commemorates Mariotte’s physical experimentation, discoveries, and contributions throughout his life. The medal is cast in bronze and was purchased on February 2, 1984. The obverse contains a right profile of Mariotte with the locations and dates of his birth and death at the bottom. The reverse contains a swirling image on the left and an image that looks similar to the sun on the right with a division between the two images. At the bottom is the phrase, “FONDATEUR DE LA PHYSIQUE EXPERIMENTALE.” The medal is made of bronze, the creator was N.J.C., and it measures 2 7/8 inches in diameter.

Marx, Karl (1983)


Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Rhine province, Prussia (Germany). Marx was a German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary. His ideas are credited as the foundation for modern communism. Marx believed that capitalism would eventually fail and be replaced with socialism and lead to a stateless, classless society called pure communism. Due to his social ideas, Marx is sited as one of the three principal architects of modern social science. In Russia, there was a movement to create a truly Marxian psychology. Marx died on March 14, 1883 in London, England. This medallion was minted for the 100th anniversary of Marx’s death. The obverse contains a forward-facing portrait of Marx with his name written to the left of the image. The reverse contains a phrase in a foreign language, underneath of which are his birth and death dates. The medal appears to be made of bronze, was designed by H. Hocob, and measure 2 5/16 inches in diameter.

Maxwell, James Clerk (No Date)


James Maxwell was born on June 13, 1831 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a Scottish theoretical physicist and mathematician. Maxwell’s most important achievement was classical electromagnetic theory. His set of equations (Maxwell’s equations) demonstrated that electricity, magnetism and even light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon – the electromagnetic field. Maxwell demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space in the form of waves and at the speed of light. Maxwell died on November 5, 1879 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. The medallion commemorates his contributions to the field of physics and is inscribed on the reverse with “The Institute of Physics and the Physical Society.” The obverse contains a left-facing bust of Maxwell surrounded by his name and birth and death dates. It appears to be cast in bronze metal and measures 2 ½ inches in diameter.

Mendel, Gregor J. (1973)


Gregor J. Mendel was born on July 22, 1822 in Heinzendorf, Austria (now Hyncice, Czech Republic). He was an Augustine priest and scientist who gained posthumous fame as the figurehead of new science of genetics for his study of the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants. Mendel showed that the inheritance of traits follow specific laws, which were later named after him. Mendel’s laws eventually formed the foundation of the modern science of genetics. He died on January 6, 1884 in Brunn, Austria-Hungary (now Brno, Czech Republic). The medallion was created to commemorate the discovery of genetics with the back of the coin detailing a pea plant with symbols marking dominant and recessive traits. It was purchased on February 29, 1984. The obverse contains a bust of Mendel with his name and birth and death dates around the image. The obverse contains images of his discoveries with heredity and contains the phrase, “1866 LOIS DE L’HEREDITE.” The medal is made of bronze, was designed by Annette Landry in 1970, and measures 2 11/16 inches in diameter.

Mendeleyev, Dmitri (1981)


Dmitri Mendeleyev was born on January 27 (February 8, New Style), 1834 in Tobolsk, Siberia, Russian Empire. He was a Russian chemist and inventor and is credited with being the first creator of the periodic table of elements. Using the table, he was able to predict the existence of elements not yet discovered. One of the elements on the table, mendelevium, is named after him. Mendeleyev died on January 20 (February 2, New Style), 1907 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The medallion commemorates his discovery of the periodic table of elements and contains a chart on the reverse. The obverse contains a profile of Mendeleyev facing left with his name in vertical script to the left of the image. It is made of bronze, was designed by G. Engels, and measures 2 11/16 inches in diameter.

Mesmer, Franz A. (No Date)


Franz Mesmer was born on May 23, 1734 in Iznang, Swabia (Germany). Mesmer was a physician and astrologist who invented what is termed ‘animal magnetism’ and other spiritual forces often grouped together as mesmerism. The evolution of his ideas led to the development of hypnosis in 1842 by Scottish surgeon James Braid. Mesmer’s name is the root of the term ‘mesmerize’. Mesmer died on March 5, 1815 in Meersburg, Swabia. The medallion was minted at Gavarte, Lisbon, Portugal and is number 200 out of 500 created. The medal is made of bronze, measure 2 ¾ inches in diameter, and was designed by Armindo Viseu. The obverse contains a bust of Mesmer with a woman in the background to his right and a couple in the background on his left. The reverse contains his name engraved along the top with a phrase in Portuguese in the center of the coin. The phrase is written as, “MEDICO ALEMAO. UTILIZOU A FORCA MAGNETICA PARA CURAR. O FACTOR PSIQUICO, COMO INSTRUMENTO TERAPEUTICO, FOI A BASE DE SEUS EXITOS A FRACASSOS.” On both sides of the phrase are his birth and death dates.

Meyer, Adolf (1980)


Adolf Meyer was born on September 13, 1866 in Niederweningen, Switzerland. He is known for being a neurologist, writer, teacher, creator of dynamic psychology, and as the father of American psychobiology. Meyer was instrumental in raising the teaching standards of American psychiatry. Through both his teaching and administrative positions, he played an important role in improving both American mental hospital health care standards and mental health education of the public. Adolf Meyer died on March 17, 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. The commemorative coin is bronze and is number 601 that was minted. The obverse contains a right-facing bust of Meyer with his birth and death dates and name surrounding the image. The reverse contains an image of Meyer in thought with a figure in the background that is on his knees with his hands on his head. Above this image are Meyer’s name and birth and death dates, and below is the phrase, “Neurologist, writer, teacher, creator of dynamic psychology, the father of American Psychobiology.” It was commissioned by Abbott Laboratories and Medallic Art Co. N.Y. and designed by Stanton as one of a series for Pathfinders in Psychiatry. The medal measures 3 inches in diameter.

Mill, John Stuart (1983)


John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806 in London, England. Mill was an influential liberal thinker whose works on liberty justified freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of utilitarianism and hoped to remedy confirmation bias by clearly setting forth the premises of falsification as the key component of the scientific method. He laid down the laws of association, adding ‘similarity’ to ‘contiguity’ as a principle of association. Mill was also a proponent of early liberal feminism. He died on May 8, 1873 in Avignon, France. The coin is number 3 of 100 minted and is commemorative of Mill’s life and achievements. The obverse contains a left-facing portrait of Mill with his name to the left of the image and the location and date of his birth and death to the right of the image. The reverse of the coin contains writing in French which reads, “Systems de Logique inductive et deductive – 1843 – La Liberte – 1854 – Principes d’econamie politique – 1848 – Le gouvernement representative – 1860 – L’utilitarisme – 1861 – etc…” The medal is made of bronze and measures 3 inches in diameter.

Moniz, Egas (1974)


Born Nov. 29, 1874 in Avanca, Portugal, Egas Moniz won the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of prefrontal leucotomy (lobotomy) as a therapy for certain mental disorders. During his career, Moniz served as the first professor of neurology at the University of Lisbon from 1911-1944. During this time period he developed a way of viewing the blood vessels in the brain by using x-rays and injecting radioactive tracers. He died in Lisbon on Dec. 13, 1955. The coin was minted in 1974 as a centennial commemorative of his birth. The obverse contains a forward-facing bust of Moniz with his name and the phrase “1 CENTENARIO” above the image, his date of birth on the left and the 100th year date the coin was minted on to the right of the image. The reverse contains the phrase “ANGIOGRAFIA CEREBRAL LEUCOTOMIA” around the edge of the coin. The center contains the phrase “PREMIO NOBEL 1949” in commemoration of his Nobel Prize. The background image is of a hallway that appears to get smaller as you look further to the right of the coin. The medal appears to be made of bronze, was designed by Cabral Antunes, and measures 3 ½ inches in diameter.

Montrose Lunatic Hospital (1799)


The Montrose Lunatic Hospital was built in 1781 in Montrose, Scotland. The token was created in 1799 as a half penny. It was manufactured by Kempson and the die-sinker was Willets. The reverse depicts a building with the date 1781 underneath. The surrounding text reads 'Montrose Lunatic Hospital/Erected by Subscription.’ The shortage of change was eased in 1797 when Boulton and Watt produced their 'Cartwheel' issue of copper coins. Production of tokens tailed off and, after a revival in the first quarter of the 19th century, they were finally declared illegal in 1817. The obverse depicts the shield of arms, crest and supporters of Montrose. Andrew Nicol, a tobacconist, issued ten hundredweight of tokens. Between 1787 and 1817 over 10,000 different types of trade token were issued. Although some pennies were produced, the tokens were issued mainly in farthing or halfpenny denominations. The coin appears to be made of copper or bronze and measures 1 1/8 inches in diameter. The obverse contains a seal with two birds, one on either side of the seal, and the date of creation at the bottom. The top of the coin contains the name “MONTROSE LUNATIC HOSPITAL.” The reverse has a depiction of the hospital with the date of creation underneath. The name of the hospital is above the image and below is the phrase “Erected by Subscription.”

Newton, Isaac (1973)


Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (January 4, 1642 in New Style) in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Newton was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. Newton laid the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. He described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, allowing for the advancement of the scientific revolution. He also worked with vision and visual projection as well as laying out the first two laws of color mixture. Newton also developed differential and integral calculus. He died on March 20, (March 31 in New Style) 1727 in London, England. The coin commemorates Newton’s life achievements and is number 19 out of 100 minted. The medal appears to be made of silver, was designed by Merelle, and measures 3 inches in diameter. The obverse of the coin contains a bust of Newton with his name engraved to the right of the image. The reverse contains his birth and death dates and locations with a scroll containing formulas and an apple bust at the bottom of the coin.

Nietzsche, Friedrich (No Date)


Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 in Rocken, Saxony, Prussia (now Germany). He was a 19th century German philosopher and classical philologist. Nietzsche’s influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His key ideas include the death of God, perspectivism, the Ubermensch, the eternal recurrence, and the will to power. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation. Nietzsche died on August 25, 1900 in Weimar, Thuringian States. The obverse of the coin has Nietzsche’s right-facing profile in the center with no writing or markings surrounding the image. The reverse and edges of the coin are completely smooth with no writing or markings. The coin appears to be cast in bronze and measures 2 5/16 inches in diameter.