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Benjamin Franklin Medal

Object Number: 
1947.319
Date: 
1784
Medium: 
Silver
Dimensions: 
diameter: 1 13/16 in. ( 4.6 cm )
Marks: 
inscription: obverse, on bust truncation, at left: ""DUPRE. F." inscription: edge, lower center: "ARGENT"
Description: 
Silver struck medal with obverse showing clothed bust of Benjamin Franklin facing left with legend: "BENJ. FRANKLIN NATUS BOSTON. XVII JAN./MDCCVI" Reverse with full-length winged allegorical male figure with legend: "ERIPUIT COELO FULMENSCEPTRUM QUE TYRANNIS" and inscription in exergue: "SCULPCIT ET DUCAVIT/AUG. DUPRE ANNO/MDCCLXXXIV"
Gallery Label: 
In 1784, as Franklin was preparing to leave his diplomatic post in France, a medal was struck in his honor. Engraved by his friend Augustin Dupré, the chief engraver of the French Mint, the medal's obverse features a bust of the elderly statesman, while the reverse depicts the winged figure of Genius pointing towards a bolt of lightning. A broken crown and scepter lying on the ground make reference to French philosopher A.R.J. Turgot's tribute to Franklin: "He seized lightning from the skies and the scepter from tyrants."
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. James Hazen Hyde
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group