Preserved in Metal

Dies for Medals in the Collection of the National Museum in Wrocław

18 January – 24 April 2022

Curator of the exhibition: Magdalena Karnicka

Dies for stamping medals are unique objects. With them medals were duplicated and struck using different metals. In the beginning medals, similarly to coins, were executed with upper dies and lower dies by hand. Then work of a mint master was replaced with machines.

The dies in the collection of the National Museum in Wrocław came from the former Wrocław’s collection from before the Second World War. Among them there are the dies for striking the prize medals for pupils of Wrocław’s schools, that were made in the 1st half of the 17th century, in 1646, those, which Wrocław’s creator Johann Buchheim (1623–1683) made about 1657 or the others, that were executed in 1689 by famous German medallist Johann Neidhardt (d. 1715). Neidhardt is also the author of the dies for the medal of Wrocław commemorating the coronation of Charles VI Habsburg (1685–1740) as emperor in 1711.

Wrocław’s medallist Johann Kittel (1656–1740) executed the dies for the medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of service in Wrocław’s Town Council of Johann Sigismund von Haunold (1634–1711). This medal was given during the celebration, that was arranged on the occasion of Haunold’s jubilee. Johann Kittel made also the stamps for the medal commemorating the erection of the new building of St. Mary Magdalene’s Gymnasium in Wrocław. The objects were founded by a salesman named Johann Kretschmer, and were given during the school’s celebration on 2–3 July 1710. Members of Wrocław’s town-, church- and school-authorities, “friends of the school” and pupils of last classes received silver medals, and other pupils – English pewter medals.

Anton Friedrich König the Elder (1756–1838), German medallist and mint master, working at the mint in Wrocław from 1776 to 1805, made the dies for the medal of Frederick II Hohenzollern (1712–1786), King of Prussia, that were executed at the initiative of Johannes Caspar Arletius (1707–1784), a rector of the St. Elizabeth’s Gymnasium in Wrocław. The artist executed also the dies for the medal commemorating the tribute to Frederick William II Hohenzollern (1744–1797), King of Prussia, from Wrocław’s citizens.