Alphonse A. Kolb - Sculptor, Designer, Celator 1893 - 1983

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    This thread should more properly appear in the US Coins Forum, but in spirit belongs to the Ancient Coins Forum too. Alphonse Kolb was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1893 and studied art and sculpture in Munich, before immigrating to the United States in 1913. He became a U.S. citizen in 1918 and found work at Bastain Brothers Co., in Rochester, NY as a designer and die cutter. He was involved in many civic projects creating medals, badges, buttons, and plaques (some several feet tall). He designed medals for the American Numismatic Association, and became chief designer and engraver for the Rochester Numismatic Association's annual presidential medal from 1921 - 1978. After he passed away in 1983, at the age of 89, the R.N.A. sold a number of his dies that he bequeathed to the club in order to raise money to cover debts. The dies were auctioned off at a club meeting and I was lucky enough to win five of them :smuggrin:.
    The subject of this thread is two dies he made for, the now defunct, Syracuse Numismatic Association's 30th Anniversary. I'm not sure when these dies were made but would guess in the 1950s or 60s. I've never seen a medal struck from these dies and don't know if any exist :confused:. If any CoinTalk member has seen one of these medals please let me know. The obverse die pays tribute to the great Greek celator Euainetos' famous dekadrachm struck for the city of Syracuse, on the Island of Sicily, circa 412 - 393 BC. The water nymph Arethusa is depicted wearing a reed wreath in her hair, a pearl necklace, and a triple pendant earring. Her head is surrounded by four dolphins, representing the sea, and a sun or star symbol is behind her neck. The die is signed A. KOLB in micro letters below her neck, and A.K. is also stamped on the die face. The actual striking diameter on the die face measures 35 mm. I made a PlayDoh impression of the incuse die to give a rough idea of what the medal would look like, see photos below. Alphonse Kolb was a great artist and left a lasting legacy.

    IMG_8329.JPG IMG_8330.JPG IMG_8345 (3).JPG
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    that's purdy kool! :)
  4. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    See lot 973 & 979

    It would be cool if you could get Daniel Carr or some such to strike a few planchets for you with that die. (I'd chip in some on the cost if you decided to do it.)
  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    dadams, Thank you for the great detective work :jawdrop:!!! I'd love to get one of those medals & your detective work provides some hope of doing so. Obviously the die is much older than I thought & was used on more than the Anniversary medal :shame:. The George Bauer storecard is a revelation & triggered old memories from the past :D. As a small kid I wandered into George Bauer's coin shop on East Main St. many times & enjoyed snooping thru his huge junk box :D. He shared the store with the stamp dealer Chauncey Wright. Wright also had a huge junk box of loose stamps that were priced at a penny each :cool:. Bauer kept a sign in his front window with a picture of the 1955 double die penny saying "I'll pay $50.00 for this coin" o_O. If uniface strikes of the Arethusa side could be made at a modest cost without damaging or degrading the die your idea would be worth pursuing. It seems possible that a working hub could be made using CNC machining, that didn't exist when Kolb made this die, that wouldn't damage the original die. But at what cost :rolleyes:?
    dadams likes this.
  6. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    Hi Al,
    That is a nice story about
    George Bauer and I'd say you were lucky to have known him - you definitely need one of his storecards (PM Sent):
    Photo Credit: Fig. George J. Bauer store card in Nickel. Courtesy of the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Coin Dealer Store Cards.


    I don't know enough to comment but @dcarr is a member here and hopefully he might have some input if it is feasible.

  7. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Many thanks again to Doug for his investigative research, yielding another example of Alphonse Kolb's work. The George Bauer storecard is an entirely different die image than the die in my collection, never the less, a great example of Kolb's work. The Syracuse die is a very exact image of the Euainetos die, but the Bauer storecard has been greatly simplified. Doug, I left you a PM.
    dadams likes this.
  8. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Ditto. If you decided to get a few strikes from these die(s), I'd happily buy one from you!
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