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The E-Sylum (6/30/2013)

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Joe Boling writes:

Perhaps the English manufacturer of the modern Mercator Medal whom Alan Weinberg was trying to remember was Pinches - they have done that kind of work.

Jonathan Brecher submitted the following on the seller of the reproductions. Thanks! -Editor

I had a feeling that Tony Lopez's Drake Map Medal "must be" a recent reproduction, but I wasn't able to make that call for sure, since I don't know the diagnostics.

I believe that the modern version mentioned by Alan Weinberg were produced by the National Maritime Museum, which apparently owns the origingal that he remembers selling for $50,000. These medals were discussed in an earlier E-Sylum:

An example of that reproduction with its box is shown here:

Drake Map medal in box

To read the complete page, see: The Drake Silver Medal Map (

I'd note that both the design and the weight of Tony's piece differ significantly from those of this reproduction. The design of his piece seems to match that of this one from the NMM collection (, although even then the weights differ.

Rulau lists this as Rulau E8 with comments:

"The weight of the known specimens varies. Two specimens in the British Museum weight, respectively, 16.84 and 19.43 grams. The other known specimens weight 18.0, 18.39, and 27.46 grams, respectively. A marvelous 30-page booklet devoted entirely to this medal was written by Humberto F. Burzio in 1955, published in Buenois Aires, entitled La Medalla Cartografica de Francis Drake."

The copper medal shown by Alan is one of my favorite medals. The white metal version is Rulau E9 (75mm) or E10 (51mm). As Alan notes, the bronze version is unlisted by Rulau. Alan's seems to be the 75mm version.

These medals are unsigned and undated, but typically ascribed to the British medallist Sir Edward Thomason. Based on the features shown in the maps, Rulau dates the large one to circa 1815 and the small one to 1802: "The United States is shown as it was just after 1800 (Washington, D. C. founded) but before 1803 (Louisiana Purchase)."

I particularly like a chain of islands in the Pacific labeled as Owyhee (say it aloud a few times). That seems not to have been an error on the part of the medalist, but rather the preferred spelling in use at the time.

I spent several years looking for fairly nice matching sets of both sizes, then got them framed for hanging.


Thanks for the great info, particularly the references to the literature on these marvelous medals. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON MAP MEDALS (

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