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img662You really wonder if the Irish are happy with their new European coins today. These old Irish gems are superb examples of coins designed in the 1920’s. The magazine article shows us how established sculptors were asked to submit designs for very small scaled items like jewelry, medals and in this case coins. Illustrators, painters and graphic artists were often asked in various countries to submit designs for postage stamps. Sculptors, who often had a long apprenticeship and could be fluent in using various materials, were asked to design coinage. Often the technical requirements would be up to engravers and metal workers who would have a specific training in making medals, one of the oldest crafts practiced worldwide.

Paul Manship was one of America’s great sculptors who won the coveted Prix de Rome Prize that allowed him to study in Italy. In an earlier sculpture post, we covered, Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s eminent sculptor.

The Italian Publio Morbiducci was a graphic artist who worked in various other media as well.


morbiducci2The  first image above is of  a 1920’s book cover for a well known Italian magazine publisher L’Eroica. The image above is a postcard promoting air travel to South America. It also displays the bundle of reeds with an axe that was turned into the Fasce (Italian fascist symbol) of the Mussolini Regime shown below and on the bottom of the card, as well as, the Roman Numbers IX signifying the 9th year of the Mussolini Regime.

fasceIn the 1920’s Morbiducci created a two lire coin for the Kingdom of Italy. He also designed a number of commemorative medals and small busts. Morbiducci had previously studied sculpture and medal making, as well as, graphic arts under Duilio Cambellotti who was known for his ceramics, woodcuts, illustrations and  furniture designs. It is impossible in this post to do justice to the figure of Cambellotti, but we are able to show below some Italian art magazine covers of the 1920’s that have woodcuts by him on the front cover. (shown below on bottom)

The two covers on the top are by another graphic artist Giulio Cisari.

All in all, it is obvious that most artists borrowed themes and styles from one another. Now let’s look at those fabulous Irish coins again here.