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Soho Mint Medals
These medals were produced by the Soho Mint and held in the personal collections of the Boulton and the Watt families. A sketch of how they came to be in my collection will be found in the introduction to the Death Medal page.
Photography by Eric Holcomb
Above: A ladies 18 carat gold and enamel mourning ring. The enamel insets are lettered in gold, and read as one turns the ring "in memory of" The left photo reads, on the inside of the ring, M. R. Boulton, Died 18 May 1842. The center photo has the hallmarks, and the capsule on the outside (at the top of the ring) contains some of Matthew Robinson Boulton's hair. the right hand view is of the ring from another angle. So far as is known this is the only Boulton mourning ring held outside the family.
The Powers of the Soho Mint. This interesting and rare medal was struck in 1803 by Matthew Boulton to provide information to the French about the progress the mint had made over the years, and the improvements that had been installed. It was done to stop a former Soho engraver, who was now at work in the French mint and was claiming the improvements as being his work. The medal is struck in French. Being a original striking, this medal was most likely put aside by Matthew Boulton. This medal was put aside by the Boulton's agent Tim Millett in 2002, and purchased from him in 2004. Original striking, 43mm. BHM 462. EX: Matthew Robinson Boulton holdings.
This medal was not a Soho product, but deserves a place in my collection -- thus it's inclusion.
In 1800 J. P. Droz, an artist, inventor, and engraver, produced this medal at the Paris Mint. Droz had worked for Boulton, and in Bolton's view, had not done anything that had been promised. Boulton dismissed him, and there was a good deal of bad blood between them. On this medal, which was not family owned, Droz calls Boulton a Fraud --without coming right out and naming him. The medal was struck as a pattern in Spanish, in an attempt to get a contract in Spain for the Paris Mint. It was this medal that prompted the reply, in French, by Boulton on the "Powers of the Soho Mint" medal, as seen above. An interesting dispute, carried out in three languages on medals!! The Droz "Fraud" medal is rare, this one being the only one I have found for sale. Bought at Baldwin's, 2004.
The Powers of the Soho Mint.
The medal on the right described below.
Death of George III, 1820. Bronzed copper, 48mm by Kuchler. Bust of the king to right, reverse, inscription in a palm wreath. BHM 991. Contained in a presentation shell with an inscribed paper wrapper. Purchased from Morton an Eden sale of the Watt family medals, lot 271, 13 November 2002 by Spinks, and sold to Michael Finlay. Purchased from Michael Finlay December 2003. -- Ex James Watt family.
The Marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, 1795. The medal, in bronzed copper, is inexplicably dated 1797. By Kuchler, 48mm. Conjoined busts of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The reverse features Hymen standing, holding a torch, and the shields of Great Britain and Brunswick. The city of London is in the background. BHM 392. Late Soho. Purchased October 2003 from Tim Millett. Ex Boulton family holdings.
Death of Sultan Tippoo, 1792/3, 48mm by Kuchler. Bronzed copper. with presentation shells. Obverse, Bust of Marquis Cornwallis to left. Reverse, Cornwallis receiving the sons of the Sultan. Struck to honor Cornwallis as a result of his campaign against the Sultan of Mysore, Tippoo Sahib. The victory gave the British a large holding in India. Purchased October 2003. -- Ex Boulton family holdings.
The impending execution of the King of France, 1793, by Kuchler. Bronzed copper. Obverse, the conjoined busts of Louis XVI and Marie Antionette. Reverse, the King bidding farewell to his family, with a throng around a guillotine visible in the background. 48mm. Late Soho, in shells and paper wrapper inscribed "Final interview of the King of France" Morton and Eden, Nov 2002, lot 218. Ex James Watt family. Purchased from Spinks October 2004.
The Execution of Louis XV! of France, 1793, by Kuchler and Ponthon. Bronzed copper, 51mm. Obverse, conjoined busts of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Reverse, Execution scene. Late Soho striking, in shells and inscribed paper wrapper "Execution, King of France". Morton and Eden, November 2002, lot 219. Es James Watt family. Purchased from Spinks, October 2004.
Above: The execution of Marie Antionette, 49mm Bronze by Kuchler. this piece purchased in 2007 from the Boulton family holdings. It has the shells, but no paper wrap. Also included in the 2007 lot were a couple of others, see page 2b.
Christ's College, Cambridge: The Beilby Porteous Prize -- from 1808. In copper, by Philpp after Pidgeon. 49mm. Obverse, Bust George III left. Reverse, view of the college and its main gate. BHM 633. Late Soho strike, in a pair of shells and an inscribed wrapper "Cambridge College" Morton and Eden, Nov. 2002, lot 253. Ex James Watt family. Purchased Spinks Oct 2004.
Monneron, revolution 5 Sols. Symbols of the new freedom of France, with the reverse reading "Revolution Francaise" `1792. Struck by Boulton and Watt at the Soho mint for Monneron, of Paris. Original lettered-edge striking, with one shell. Ex Boulton family holdings. Purchased from Boulton agent Tim Millett in October 2004.
Monneron, Acceptance of the constitution. Obverse, the Constitution of Free France, 1791, Reverse, the acceptance of it on 13 Sept 1791. Struck for Monneron of Paris by the Soho Mint, plain edge. Ex Boulton family holdings. Phrchased from Boutlon agent Tim Millett Oct 2004.
Lafayette -- A "Late Soho" striking, plain edge, in presentation shells. The originals were struck in 1791 for Monneron, in Paris, France, and had a lettered edge. They were part of Monneron's planned "Great Men of France" series. 36mm, late Soho, worn dies, shells of issue. Purchased from Tim Millett November 2002. EX: Matthew Robinson Boulton holdings.
Rousseau. "Late Soho" strikings, plain edge. The originals were struck in 1791 for Monneron, in Paris, France, and had a lettered edge. They were part of Monneron's planned "Great Men of France" series. 36mm, late Soho, worn dies. Purchased from Tim Millett November 2002. EX: Matthew Robinson Boulton holdings.
Hudson's Bay Company (Canada). Obverse, Bust George III/Reverse, Arms of the Hudson's Bay Company. In shells of issue, 48mm Bronze. Undated, but struck about 1820. The obverse is signed by Kuchler, whose die was being reused, as he had passed away about 10 years earlier. Purchased by Allan Davisson from Tim Millett, when it was obtained in his Auction 19. Ex Boulton Family holdings.
Cayenne Relieved, Bronze 48mm, by Pidgeon, in presentation shells. Obverse: Extremely high relief bust of the Prince Of Portugal. Reverse, (translation) Cayenne Relieved from the French 14 Jan 1809. One of the first places on the Iberian peninsula relieved by the British during the Napoleonic war. Purchased from Tim Millett by Allan Davisson, and purchased from him by private treaty in the winter of 2004-5. EX: Watt family holdings.
Manchester and Salford Volunteers. This handsome award medal, featuring the Bust of George III, with hearts and hands around, was intended to be engraved. It is dated 1802. This piece, in presentation shells, was not awarded, but held by the Boulton family as part of their collection of Soho's work. Purchased from Tim Millett October 2003. EX: Boulton family holdings.
Count Alexander Suwarow (or Suvarow) By Kuchler, 48mm, Gilt Bronze, in presentation shells. Count Suwarow led the campaign against Napoleon for Italy, for which he was given the title of Prince of Italy by the Czar. The Obverse: Bust of Count Suwarow. Reverse: Suwarow as Mars, standing Left, raising the seated figure of Italy. The legends read Italiae Liberator. MDCCXCIX. Purchased from Morton and Eden, lot 234, November 2002 by Del Parker, and obtained from him in 2003. EX: James Watt Jr. holdings.
The capture of Seringapatam, by Kuchler. 48mm Bronze, in the original box with tissue wrap. This battle solidified the British position in India, and led to British rule in that country. The obverse: The British Lion attacking a tiger. Reverse, view of the assault of Seringapatam. Arabic inscriptions. The battle took place May 4, 1799. The medal was commissioned by the East India Company, and the legends show that it was for distribution in India proper. Purchased from Allan Davisson in February 2005, who obtained it from Boulton agent Tim Millett in 2004. EX: Matthew Boulton family holdings.
Boulton's Trafalger Medal in Copper. 48mm, by Kuchler. In shells of issue. Obverse, Bust of Nelson. Reverse, view of the battle of Trafalgar. As new. Ex Matthew Robinson Boulton. Purchased from Michael Finlay in December of 2003, who obtained it from Tim Millett in 2002.
Union of Great Britain and Ireland, 1801, by Kuchler. Copper, 48mm. Bust George III, Britannia and Hibernia greeting. Ex Boulton family holdings, received from Allan Davisson , 2005, who obtained it from Boulton agent Tim Millett in October, 2004.
Death of Gustavus III, King of Sweden, 1792, by Kuchler (1793). Bronzed copper, 56mm. Obverse, bust to right. Reverse, tomb with a panel showing a view of his assassination. Late Soho. This from Boulton's agent Tim Millett in 2004. Late Matthew Boulton Family.
Issued in 1814 by Macauley and Babbington, to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. The obverse features a white man and a negro, standing, with their hands clasped -- while in the background 5 negroes dance around a tree. The reverse, an Arabic inscription, states "Sale of slaves prohibited in 1807, Christian era, in the reign of George III; verily, we are all brothers". The medal is 36mm, copper. Eimer #984. This medal came from the Boulton estate, and is the only one of it's type to be released by the family. Obtained from the Boulton's agent, Tim Millett, in 2005.
New Acquisitions from the Boulton Family, 2007
A very few medals were in the 2007 group. the pieces below are all of types not in my collection, so have thus been added.
Above: Pictured with and without the shells that accompanied the medal, this features the bust of Ferdinand IV on the obverse, and the reverse is a memorial to Nelson, with his bust in a wreath above being carried by an angel. Ships and men below -- this 48mm medal by Kuchler is a medallic thank you by King Ferdinand IV.
Above: On the left, a medal of the Drayton Agricultural Society, unawarded and held by the Boulton family. On the right, a similar medal, this a die trial of the Staffordshire Agricultural Society, the female holding no wreath, as she does on a completed medal, and with no legends. See medals for sale for another of the Staffordshire trials.
And a button, this for the Gloucester and Berkely canal. Probably made some time after 1795, and could have been made up to 1817 at the time of the canal's completion. The Boulton family had it in the group. Matthew Boulton was interested in canals, however, and was an owner of one with partners. This was probably given to one of the Boultons.
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