"Philodemic Society": Intaglio seal matrix carved on 1838 Coronet large cent
Author: Robertson Shinnick (lordmarcovan) -
Friday June 23, 2017
Host coin: 1838 USA Coronet large cent. Obverse: original Coronet Liberty Head design, unaltered except for traces of old mounting at center. Reverse: intaglio carving of a Federal eagle carrying olive branch[?], with lyre and rays above, "+ + + + + Philodemica Societas ~ G [?] I [?] + + + + +" in italic script below.
Ex-"numismaniacal", eBay, 11/16/2015.
I found this piece fascinating, and liked the eagle on it. It appears to have been a hand-carved intaglio seal matrix, though I'm not sure whether it was intended to make inked impressions or wax seals for documents. I suspect the latter.
The Philodemic Society is a literary society and debating organization which was founded at Georgetown University in 1830 and is still in existence today. The seal for which the coin was carved must have been fairly early, judging from its style and the fact that the current seal of the society now appears to be different, featuring a caduceus crossed with a liberty cap on a pole. I rather prefer the eagle and lyre seen here.
I had to beat out some solid competition for this piece on eBay, but was happily able to win it for around two-thirds of the "nuclear" snipe I had set.
You must admit it's intriguing, and is quite possibly unique.