The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Art in a Most Unusual Place: US One Dollar Gold Piece - 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition



Last week I received a small package in the mail which contained a nice little surprise, a US one dollar gold coin. I was browsing through a book on US Coins several weeks ago and I stumbled upon Charles Keck's design for the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition One Dollar Gold Piece. It depicted the profile of a Laborer on the front and two swimming dolphins on the reverse. It reminded me so much of the Austrian bronze reliefs of a worker (above) I posted several months ago that I decided to add an example of this scarce gold coin to my collection. Charles Keck (1875-1951) was a very well known American sculptor who studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York with Philip Martiny, and guess what? It is no wonder I was so enamoured with that coin, Keck studied under another great master of American sculpture, Augustus Saint-Gaudens from 1893 to 1898. Keck is best known for his architectural and monumental sculptures. The edition is limited to around fifteen thousand examples of the coin currently in existence. There were about twice that many minted but visitors to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 San Francisco balked at paying two dollars for a one dollar coin, so the San Francisco Mint took most of the edition back and melted them down. Such is the mystery of the Force. If you are ever in Cornish, New Hampshire be sure to stop in and tour Saint-Gauden's summer home and studio. It is well worth the visit.

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