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:

11/9/00

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 | Lev - N

Paracelso (No Date)

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Paracelso, also known as Paracelsus, was born on November 11 or December 17, 1493 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. He was an alchemist, physician, and astrologer. It was believed that he was capable of turning lead into gold. Paracelso was especially interested in the field of mineralogy and produced remedies or medicines with the help of minerals to fight disease. Many of his treatments involved sulfur and mercury and he later introduced the use of laudanum. He is well known for working with magnets placed on the body in order to cure disorders. He designated magnets as bodies which, like the stars, especially influence the human body by means of a subtle emanation that pervades space. Paracelso died on September 24, 1541 in Salzburg, Archbishopric of Salzburg (now Austria). The medallion is in commemoration of his popular medicine and controversial remedies. The coin was minted by Gravarte in Lisbon, Portugal, with the inscription on the back of the coin written in Portuguese. The inscription reads, “ERA SUICO-ALEMAO ESTE IRREVERENTE E POPULAR MEDICO E ALQUIMISTA PAI DA MEDICINA HERMETICA FOI O CIENTISTA MAIS CONTROVERSO DO SEU TEMPO.” The reverse also contains his name above the phrase and his birth and death dates to the left and right of the phrase. The obverse contains a forward-facing bust of Paracelso with the background showing three faces, two which appear to be demons. The design is by Armindo Viseu and cast in bronze. The medal measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter.

Pascal, Blaise (1980)

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Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623 in Clermont-Ferrand, France. He was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. Pascal was a child prodigy and made important contributions to the construction of mechanical calculators, the study of fluids, clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum, and wrote in defense of the scientific method. Pascal wrote about probability theory and significantly influenced the development of modern economics and social science. He died on August 19, 1662 in Paris, France. The medallion commemorates his short, yet influential, life. The medal is made of bronze, was designed by Dantzell F., and measures 2 inches in diameter. The obverse shows a profile to the right with his name surrounding the image. The reverse contains writing and dates in French which reads, “NE A CLERMONT (AUVERGNE) 1623 – MORT A PARIS 1662.”

Paul, St. Vincent De (No Date)

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Saint Vincent De Paul was born on April 24, 1581 in Pouy, (now Saint-Vincent-de-Paul) France. De Paul was a Catholic priest dedicated to serving the poor and was renowned for his compassion, humility, and generosity. Vincent De Paul was later canonized by the pope and given as a patron saint to the Daughters of Charity. He died on September 27, 1660 in Paris, France. The medallion was minted in commemoration of his life and good deeds. The medal measures 2 inches in diameter, contains a bust of St. Vincent De Paul on the obverse and is completely smooth on the edge and reverse of the coin.

Pavlov, Ivan P. (No Date)

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Ivan P. Pavlov was born on September 14, (September 26, New Style) 1849 in Ryazan, Russia. He was a Russian, and later Soviet, physiologist, psychologist, and physician who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for research pertaining to the digestive system. Pavlov is best known for describing the phenomenon of classical conditioning. He died on February 27, 1936 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The medallion was minted by Gravarte in Lisbon, Portugal and designed by Armindo Viseu. It is number 143 out of 500 minted and commemorates the Nobel Prize won by Pavlov in 1904. There is text on the reverse of the coin in Portuguese, which reads “NOTAVEL CIENTISTA RUSSO FOI PREMIO NOBEL EM 1904. PELA TEORIA DO REFLEXO DO SISTEMA NERVOSO NA NUTRICAO ELE SEGUIU OS CAMINHOS DA PSICOFISIOLOGIA.” The dates of his birth and death appear below the phrase and his name appears above it. The obverse contains a forward-facing bust of Pavlov with dogs in the background to the left and three men standing behind him to the right. The coin was minted by Gravarte in Lisbon Portugal. The medal measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter, was cast in bronze, and designed by Armindo Viseu.

Pinel, Philippe (1970)

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Philippe Pinel was born on April 20, 1745 in Saint-Andre, Tarn, France. He was a French physician who was instrumental in the development of a more humane psychological approach to the custody and care of psychiatric patients, referred to today as moral treatment. Pinel also made contributions to the classification of mental disorders and is described by some the father of modern psychiatry. He died on October 25, 1826 in Paris, France. The commemorative coin was minted by the Medallic Art Co. N.Y. and was cast in bronze. The reverse of the medal holds the inscription “Unchaining the insane” and shows an image of three men releasing a mental patient from chains on his wrists. The obverse contains a bust of Pinel with his name, birth and death dates, and the inscription “French Psychiatrist” surrounding the image. The medal measures 1 ¾ inches in diameter.

Planck, Max (1958)

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Max Planck was born on April 23, 1858 in Kiel, Schleswig (Germany). He was a German physicist and is considered to be the founder of quantum theory. Planck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck died on October 4, 1947 in Gottingen, West Germany. The coin was minted on the 100th anniversary of his birth and at time of creation was worth 2 Deutsche marks. The coin appears to be made of silver and measures 1 inch in diameter. The obverse contains a left-facing profile of Planck with his name and birth and death dates surrounding the image. The reverse shows a large bird with wings spread and the date of minting. Around the image is the phrase “BUNDES REPUBLIK – DEUTSCHLAND – DEUTSCHE MARK” with the number “2” directly beneath the bird.

Polish Coin (No Date)

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The obverse of the coin contains images of saints from Poland. Going clockwise around the coin, there is Pope John Paul II, Saint Hedwig of Silesia/,Św. Jadwiga Śląska, princess (1243), Saint Stanislaus Kostka/ Św Stanisław Kostka friar (1568), Saint Casimir/ Św. Kazimierz Jagiellończyk prince (1484), Saint Hyacinth Św. Jacek Odrowąż, priest (1257), Saint John Cantius/ Św. Jan Kanty/ Św. Jan z Kęt, priest, professor *(1473), Saint Maximilian Kolbe/ Św. Maksymilian Maria Kolbe, priest, friar, martyr (1941), Saint Andrew Bobola/ Św . Andrzej Bobola, priest, martyr (1657), Saint Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr/ Św. Stanisław ze Szczepanowa bishop, martyr (1079), and Saint Adalbert, Św. Wojciech bishop, martyr, (997). On the reverse side of the coin, there are images of people who were important contributors to the world of thinkers, science, and the arts. Going clockwise from the top, there is Marie Curie, Copernicus, Paderewski, Lech Walesa, Chopin, Helena Modrzejewska, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Jan III Sobieski, Adam Mickiewicz, and Henryk Sienkiewicz. The reverse of the coin contains a phrase, which when translated, means “Poland is not yet lost.” The coin appears to have been minted as a list of important people of Polish birth by the Polish government. The medal appears to be made of bronze and measures 3 inches in diameter.

Purkyne, Jan Evangelista (1969)

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Jan Evangelista Purkyne (also spelled Purkinje) was born on December 17, 1787 in Libochovice, Bohemia (now Czech Republic). He was a Czechoslovakian anatomist and physiologist. While working at the University of Prague, he discovered the Purkinje effect, whereby as light intensity decreases red objects seem to fade faster than blue objects of the same brightness. Pukyne’s findings contributed to the emergence of the science of experimental psychology. He is best known for his 1837 discovery of Purkinje cells, large neurons with many branching dendrites found in the cerebellum. He is also known for his discovery, in 1839 of Purkinje fibres, the fibrous tissue that conducts electrical impulses from the atrioventricular node to all parts of the ventricles of the heart. Purkyne died on July 28, 1869 in Prague. The commemorative coin issued in 1969 marks the 100th anniversary of his death and at the time of issue was used as currency with a value of 25 Koruna. The obverse of the coin contains a right-facing profile of Purkyne, with his name and birth and death dates surrounding the image. The reverse of the coin shows an upright image of a lion, underneath of which is the number “25”. Around the edge of the coin are the words, “REPUBLIKA CESKOSLOVENSKA SOCIALISTICKA.” The coin was purchased in 1979 and is number 700 out of 1000 created. The coin measures 1 3/8 inches in diameter, is composed of Ag 50%, Cu 40%, Ni 5%, Zn 5%, and weighs 16 grams.

Rabelais, Francois (1964)

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Francois Rabelais was born around 1494 in Poitou, France. He was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, and humanist. Rabelais wrote several books which were banned by the Roman Catholic Church for their derision of certain religious practices. He died circa April 9, 1553 in Paris. The coin commemorates the 400th anniversary of Rabelais’ death. The medal is made of bronze, designed by R. Joly, and measures 3 1/8 inches in diameter. The obverse has a bust of Rabelais in the center surrounded by his name and death and 400th anniversary dates. The reverse depicts an elaborate jug with a woman at the bottom and a pair of open lips at the top. The image is surrounded by the inscription, “SONNE LE BEAU MOT JE T’EN PRIEO BOUTEILLE PLEINE TOUTE DE MYSTERES.”

Ramon y Cajal, Santiago (1980)

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Santiago Ramon y Cajal was born on May 1, 1852 in Petilla de Aragon, Spain. He was a Spanish histologist, physician, pathologist, and Nobel laureate. His pioneering investigations of the microscopic structure of the brain were so original and influential that he is considered by many to be the greatest neuroscientist of all time. His skills as an artist allowed him to make hundreds of drawings still used for educational purposes today. He also won the Nobel Prize in 1906 in Physiology or Medicine. Ramon y Cajal died on October 17, 1934 in Madrid. The coin was created to commemorate his life’s achievements in neuroscience. The medal was manufactured by Acunaciones Taber S.A. in Barcelona, Spain and designed by Manolo Prieto. It is made of silver and measures 1 9/16 inches in diameter. The obverse contains a left-facing portrait of Ramon y Cajal, which is surrounded by his name and birth and death dates. The reverse contains an image of the back of a man whose nerve pathways are depicted. There is also a microscope, paper, pen, and a round object in the foreground. The edge of the coin contains the phrase “VIVIR CONFORME A LAS NORMAS DE LA CIENCIA Y DEL ARTE.”

Richet, Charles (1975)

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Charles Richet was born on August 26, 1850 in Paris, France. He was a French physiologist who initially investigated a variety of subjects such as neurochemistry, digestion, thermoregulation in homoeothermic animals, and breathing. His work on anaphylaxis won him the Nobel Prize in 1913 for Physiology or Medicine. His research helped identify asthma, hay fever, and other allergic reactions to foreign substances and explained some previously not understood cases of intoxication and sudden death. Richet held a deep fascination with hypnosis, extrasensory perceptions, and spiritualistic phenomenon. He died on December 4, 1935 in Paris. The medallion was minted 40 years after his death. On the reverse of the coin are a list of medical accomplishments and contributions in French along with dates and a copy of his signature. The obverse contains a left-facing bust of Richet with his name on either side of the image. The coin was originally purchased on March 15, 1984.The medal is made of bronze and measures 2 11/16 inches.

Rush, Benjamin (1969)

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Benjamin Rush was born on December. 24, 1745 (January 4, 1746 in New Style) in Byberry, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a Founding Father of the United States, a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian, a devout Christian, and the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rush was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. Rush is considered the “Father of American Psychiatry” since he published the first textbook on the subject in America. He undertook to classify different forms of mental illness and to theorize as to their causes and possible cures. He campaigned for a more humane setting for mental patients. Rush also pioneered the therapeutic approach to addiction. He died on April 19, 1813 in Philadelphia. The medallion was designed by Abram Belskie and minted by the Medallic Art Co. N.Y. in bronze metal. The obverse of the coin shows a portrait of Rush, below which is written “First Great Physician in America.” The reverse of the coin shows three stages in Rush’s life, as a physician, as a chemist and natural philosopher, and as signer of the Declaration of Independence. The medal measures 1 ¾ inches in diameter.

Rush, Benjamin (No Date)

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Benjamin Rush was born on December. 24, 1745 (January 4, 1746 in New Style) in Byberry, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rush became well known as a physician, statesman, humanitarian, father of American Psychiatry, and as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to his many accomplishments, Rush also published the first Chemistry textbook in American. Rush was a social activist, advocating for the abolition of slavery, for scientific education for the masses (including women), and public medical centers to treat the poor. Rush died on April 19, 1813 in Philadelphia. The coin was commissioned by Abbott Laboratories and created by Medallic Art C.O.N.Y. It honors the many accomplishments of Benjamin Rush throughout his life. The medal is made of bronze, measures 3 inches in diameter, and was designed by Armindo Viseu. The obverse contains a right-facing bust of Rush with his name and birth and death dates surrounding the central image. The reverse contains an image of Rush writing at a desk with an open book, closed books, and scrolls in the background. Below the image is the phrase, “Physician, statesman, humanitarian, father of American Psychiatry, signer of the Declaration of Independence.” Along the bottom of the coin is the phrase, “PATHFINDERS IN PSYCHIATRY.”

Schiller, Johann Christoph Freidrich von (No Date)

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Friedrich von Schiller was born on November 10, 1759 in Marbach, Wurttemberg He was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. Schiller worked with Goethe and encouraged him to finish his works. This period was referred to as Weimer Classicism. Goethe and Schiller collaborated on a collection of short, satirical poems in which both men challenged opponents to their philosophical vision. Schiller taught and influenced the philosopher August Messer, who had psychological interests. Messer was responsible for distinguishing three kinds of intentional experiences: kowing, feeling, and willing. Schiller died on May 9, 1805 in Weimar, Saxe-Weimar. The obverse of the coin shows a portrait of Schiller encircled by the words “Wenn der in Staub Zerfallen, Lebt der Grosse Name Noch.” The reverse side shows an image of Schiller’s house in Weimar, circa 1847. The medal measures 1 5/8 inches in diameter and appears to be made of bronze.

Sherrington, Charles Scott (No Date)

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Charles Scott Sherrington was born on November 27, 1857 in London, England. He was a neurophysiologist, histologist, pathologist, and a bacteriologist. In the 1890s, Sherrington had researched color vision and flicker, experiments that were frequently sited. In the early 1920s he was the Nobel Laureate and president of the Royal Society. In 1932 he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries regarding the functions of neurons and establishing general laws for the origin and cooperation of the reflexes in the organism. Sherrington died on March 4, 1952 in Eastbourne, Sussex. The commemorative coin was number 55 out of 1000 struck to honor his 1932 Nobel Prize achievement in Medicine. The obverse contains a forward-facing bust of Sherrington with his name above the image and his birth and death dates to the left. The reverse contains the phrase, “PREMIO NOBEL DA MEDICINA” along the top, with the date “1932” beneath. Below the date is the phrase, “PELA SUA DESCOBERTA SOBRE A FUNCAO DAS CELULAS NERVOSAS.” The medal appears to be made of bronze, was designed by Cabral Antunes, and measures 3 1/8 inches in diameter.

Spinoza, Benedict de (1977)

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Benedict de Spinoza was born on November 24, 1632 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Spinoza was a philosopher who laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. He opposed Descartes’ mind-body dualism through a publication. Due to his ideas, he was excommunicated from the Jewish community and a list of all his works are on Roman Catholic Church’s Prohibited Books List. Spinoza is in the school of Rationalism and is the founder of Spinozism. He died on February 21, 1677 in The Hague, Netherlands. The coin is number 16 out of 100 minted in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Spinoza’s death. The obverse contains a forward-facing image of Spinoza, with his name and birth and death dates to the right of the image. The reverse contains a network of lines with the inscription, “SIVE NATVRA.” The coin appears to be made of silver, was designed by Ch. Engels, and measures 3 1/8 inches in diameter.

UNESCO 1978 Commemorative Bronze Medal

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This large bronze medal features on the obverse a portrait of Aristotle (384-322 BC) based on a sculpture in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna, along with the legend ARISTOTELIS (Aristotle) in Greek letters. The reverse depicts an owl from the ancient Athenian Owl, a map of Greece with a star referring to the location of Stagiros in Macedonia, which was Aristotle's birthplace, and a quote from Aristotle that translates into "The energy of the mind is the essence of life." The medal was minted to commemorate the 2300th anniversary of the Greek philosopher's death in conjunction with a 1978 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) conference in Paris, where the UN agency has its headquarters. It was designed by Max Léognany, whose last name appears under Aristotle's neck, and cast by the Paris Mint in gold and silver as well as bronze. The medal is beautifully patinated but low relief compared to most medals. The same portrait of Aristotle on the obverse of this medal was used on the reverse of Greek 5 drachmas coins minted from 1976 to 2000. The medal is made in bronze, designed by Leognany, and measures 2 3/8 inches (59mm) in diameter.

Vesalius, Andreas (No Date)

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Andreas Vesalius was born in December 1514 in Brussels (currently Belgium). He published a book on anatomy that was based strictly on direct observation and found anatomical errors present in the works of Galen. Due to his method of only accepting as fact what could be directly observed, his book is considered to be the founding of modern anatomy. He died in June 1564 on the island of Zakynthos, Republic of Venice (currently Greece). The coin was minted in Lisbon, Portugal by Gravarte and made of bronze. The reverse shows the dates of his birth and death as well as an inscription written in Portuguese, which reads “NASCEU EM BRUXELAS FOI DOS RAROS ANATOMISTAS QUE CONTRA A OPOSICAO DA IGREJA. DISSECOU O CORPO HUMANO PARA ESTUDO. FOI AUTOR DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA.” The obverse contains a portrait of Vesalius with an arm extended towards him in the background to the right of the image. The medal measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter and was designed by Armindo Viseu.

Virchow, Rudolf (1902)

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Rudolf Virchow was born on October 13, 1821 in Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia (now Swidwin, Poland). Virchow was a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, pre-historian, biologist, and politician. He is known for his advancement of public health, is referred to as the father of modern pathology, and is one of the founders of social medicine. Virchow’s most widely known scientific contribution is his cell theory and is cited as the first to recognize leukemia cells. Virchow is also known for founding the medical fields of cellular pathology and comparative pathology. Rudolf Virchow died on September 5, 1902 in Berlin, Germany. The coin is commemorative of his life and multiple achievements in medicine. The obverse contains a right-facing profile of Virchow with his name above and his birth and death dates to the left of the image. The back of the coin is completely smooth with no markings. The medal was designed by Richard Placht, is made of bronze, and measures 2 3/16 inches in diameter.

Virchow, Rudolf (No Date)

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Rudolf Virchow was born on October 13, 1821 in Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia (now Swidwin, Poland). Virchow was a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, pre-historian, biologist, and politician. He is known for his advancement of public health, is referred to as the father of modern pathology, and is one of the founders of social medicine. Virchow’s most widely known scientific contribution is his cell theory and is cited as the first to recognize leukemia cells. Virchow is also known for founding the medical fields of cellular pathology and comparative pathology. Rudolf Virchow died on September 5, 1902 in Berlin, Germany. The medallion is commemorative of his life and multiple achievements in medicine and physiology. The obverse contains a forward-facing bust of Virchow with four men in the background (two on each side of the portrait). The reverse contains his name at the top and his birth and death dates below a Portuguese phrase. The phrase reads, “JOVEM REVOLUCIONARIO ALEMAO PRECURSOR DO DIREITO A SAUDE E A JUSTICA SOCIAL, COMO MEDICO DOMINOU A PATOLOGIA CELULAR. REUNIU 23 MIL PECAS ANATOMICAS.” The coin was minted at Gravarte in Lisbon, Portugal and is number 200 out of 500 created. It is made of bronze, measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter, and was designed by Armindo Viseu.

Volta, Alessandro (1899)

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Alessandro Volta was born on February 18, 1745 in Como, Lomardy (Italy). He was an Italian physicist known especially for the development of the first electric cell in 1800. He researched the electrical nature of the nerve impulse using a wet frog’s leg. Volta also studied the chemistry of gases and discovered methane by collecting the gas from marshes. The electrical unit of measurement, the Volt, is named after him. Volta died on March 5, 1827 in Como. The coin, minted in 1899, shows a building on the reverse with the words in Italian that roughly translate to ‘Electric Exposition.’ The obverse contains a left-facing profile of Volta with his name to the left and an Italian phrase to the right. The medal appears to be made of silver and measures 1 inch in diameter.

Washington, George and Benjamin Franklin (1840)

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George Washington was born on February 11, 1732 (February 22, New Style) in Westmoreland County, Virginia and served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He was the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. Because of his significant role in the war and serving as the first President, Washington is often referred to as the “Father of His Country.” Washington died on December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1706 (January 17, New Style) in Boston, Massachusetts. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. He invented the lightening rod and bifocals and formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania. Franklin later served as the first Postmaster General of the United States from 1775-1776. He died on April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The obverse of the coin shows to busts one of Washington and one of Franklin, next to each other. The artwork was created by Bale. The reverse of the coin contains the phrase, “Par Nobile Fratrum,” which means something along the lines of “like brothers,” most likely in their enormous achievement throughout life to make the United States a separate country. The coin was purchased through an auction by World Art Medals, Levin and Shazeer. The medal is made of copper and measures 1 1/8 inches in diameter.

Wollaston, William Hyde (1983)

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Wollaston was born on August 6, 1766 in East Dereham, Norfolk, England. He was an English chemist and physicist who is famous for discovering two chemical elements (palladium and rhodium) and for developing a way to process platinum ore. Wollaston died on December 22, 1828 in London. The reverse of the medal contains the names of the two elements discovered as well as a mineral that was named after Wollaston (Wollastonite) and an image of a human in the center holding two blocks. The obverse contains his portrait with his birth and death dates underneath. On either side of the image are the words “PHYSICIEN, CHIMISTE, WILLIAM HYDE WOLLASTON.” The coin is in commemoration of his discoveries as a physicist and chemist and is cast in bronze. The medal was designed by S. Ponomarew and measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter.