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Extremely Rare Medals, Tokens and Coins from Guido Kisch Bought by American Numismatic Society



This week the American Numismatic Society was proud to announce that it bought a large collection of extremely rare medals, tokens and coins. All of the numismatic items were collected by the late Prof. Guido Kisch (1889-1985).

Exclusive and amazing examples of more than 1000 pieces are dedicated to the law and legal profession. These items were gathered for more than half a century. The collection includes various badges and emblems linked with the law, institutions, personalities, legislation, history and prison. The objects are dated from the 16th century to the middle of the 20th century.

Guido Kirsch was working at the Universities of Koenigsberg, Prague as well as Halle as a Professor of Jurisprudence and the History of Law. Later in 1935 he immigrated to the United States, where he continued his career until World War II. When the war began he returned from New York to Basel, Switzerland, where he worked on his writings on humanism and jurisprudence. Parts of Kirsch's collection were could be found in "Recht und Gerechtigkeit in der Medaillenkunst", published in Heidelberg in 1995.

It was up to the Society to work on strengthening its unique collections and these are kept in good quality for further study and admirations of future generations. It is worth mentioning that the collections of medals that the ANS currently holds accounts more than 100,000 items, including foreign and United States medals.

Below you will find some example of Kirsch collection:

ANS-2008.9.5. Silver. 52.6mm. 19.69gm.



This medal is one of the most stunning examples from the collection. It is made in silver and it is also known as the "Cambyses' Justice" medal. The obverse of the medal features a scene from Herodotus, the historian of ancient Greece. The scene illustrates the Persian King Cambyses who displays the wisdom, justice, as well as personal liability requires from judges. The outstanding "Cambyses" medal was given to Guido Kirsch by Dr. Edward Gans, professor in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley and a brilliant collector.

Dr. Edward Gans got the medal from Dr. Nussbaum back in 1940, who in his turn bought it three years earlier from the Zentralbibliothek, in Zurich.

Dr. Philip Lederer, who listed the collection of Dr. Nussbaum, stated that the "Judgment of Cambyses" dates back to about 1550. He attributed the medal to a master from Augsburg in Bavaria, whose identity was unknown. Pr. Gans considered that the technique and style in which the medal was performed were applied by the medallist from the lower Rhine region, and not from Bavaria. Dr. Kisch compared the medal with the paintings made by Gerard David (1460-1523), who was an early Dutch Renaissance artist. Dr. Kirsch considers that the medal was most probably created in Flanders or Lower Germany.

 .9.1. Bronze .88.6mm



This bronze medal is among the rarest and well-known medallic issues illustrating the image of the Roman emperor Constantine I (AD 307-337). The genuine medallion featuring the image of "Constantine" and its companion marking the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (AD 610-41), was acquired at the beginning of the 15th century, in 1402 from Antonio Mancini, who was a Florentine merchant working in Paris. The medallion was bought for the collection of the Duc de Berry. Only a few copies survived till nowadays and this one is the first real medallic portrait created in the post-antique world. The "Constantine" medallion is an artifact with a great historical importance in the European tradition.

.9.7. Bronze. 65.6 mm



This cast medal goes back to the times of early Renaissance. It features the bust of Ulysses Musotti (Ulixes Musotus,1508-1515), who was a Bolognese lawyer. Dr. Julius Friedländer considers that this medal was made by Francesco Raibolini (1450-1517), who at that time was a famous artist of the Italian Renaissance. Being called Francia, Raibolini became famous for his medals of Pope Julius II.

.9.8.Bronze. 38.0 mm.



This bronze medal features the image of Dulci (Giovanni An.Vin.), who worked as a jurist of Padua. The medal was made by Giovanni de Bartolommeo Cavino (Giovanni Cavino, 1500-1570), a famous Italian medallist and goldsmith, who became well-known for his due to his talent in crafting the dies for a series of minted pieces that replicated ancient coins. Throughout his long career the master also created portrait medals of modern Paduan notables.


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