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MB84 Medal auction 28 February – Ireland, music and more

A collection of medals from Ireland – a collection of medals on the theme of music celebrating composers – different but there are several crossovers in our current medal auction, MB84 ending on 28 February 2018.

MB84-40 O'Sullivan silver medal

Denis O’Sullivan commemorative medal issued on the Irish folk singer’s early death in 1908, lot MB84-40

The most striking one is the commemorative struck upon the death in 1908 of a much loved Irish singer, Denis O’Sullivan.  Singing O’Sullivan was born in San Francisco of Irish parentage and during his short life performed in opera houses in the US, in Europe and of course in Ireland.  Only 39 when he died of appendicitis, he’d already set up Irish folk song societies in England and was well loved.  The medal is rare and impressive with the text truly appropriate:  Lasting is the song though he, the singer, passes.

The music collection features classical composers from Back to Widor but including medals by some hard to find musicians, such as Schumann (surprisingly), Villa Lobos and Pablo Casals.

Pierre Boulez cast bronze medal by Adam 1964

Composer Pierre Boulez cast bronze medal by Adam, 1964, 140mm. see MB84-127

There are strays too in other parts of the catalogue such as the wonderful cast bronze by Henri-Georges Adam of Pierre Boulez which to my mind perfectly expresses his music (reserve £125 but estimated at double that).

At the other extreme for medals we have some spectacular Art Nouveau medals;  one by Bottee for the 1900 Paris International Exhibition – the Jury medal (lot106).  This was only the 2nd official Olympic Games so a very rare piece indeed.

Protection – Art embracing matter, a Rodin design used as a fundraiser medal, MB84-108

A few years later, a medal was struck using a 1889 design by Rodin of Art embracing Matter (lot 108) to raise funds for artists and employees of Paris-New York theatre. Yes, it’s a struck medal but a rare one, and one way to add this most famous of sculptors to your collection.

Once the website search facility is live (very soon!) do search on keywords as medals are not in strict categories and a modern medal like the Boulez isn’t in the music section (as it wasn’t part of that particular collection) but is in the France section instead.  The music themed collection shows how stylistically varied a collection can be as you add medals by subject rather than by era or art form.

We’ve used Niggl’s Musiker Medaillen catalogue of classical music medals and composers for reference.  Of course there are lots of Beethoven and Mozart medals – more than for any other composers.  Other composers are much more difficult to find – Hummel, Gluck, Mahler, Schumann, Villa-Lobos and Carl Maria von Weber for example.  So a good opportunity to add to your collection or browse through to find some surprisingly good art medals.

Closing date for MB84 medal auction – postal/online bids is 28 February 2018 at 12 noon GMT.  All lots will have a buyer’s premium of 5% levied (a reluctant innovation because of recent government legislation).  In the event of a tied bid, the first one received wins  and we reduce bids to 10% over your rival’s bid or to the reserve (start) price published if you’re the only bidder

So… Bid high – and bid early, please!

Bronze medal composer Weber

MB84-236 composer Carl Maria von Weber bronze medal by Kruger, 1825

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