Sign up for the monthly zoom events by sending a PM with your email address to Hitesh

Main Menu

The Medal and the Dentist

Started by chrisild, November 16, 2020, 06:35:16 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


In the German city of Dresden there is a Mozart Fountain, dedicated to the memory of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The decision to erect such a monument was made in 1902, money had to be collected, a sculptor had to be picked ...

... except that all eight proposed designs by various artists were considered to not be good enough or not appropriate. The suggestion made by Hermann Hosaeus, however (who had not even been invited to the contest), was ultimately chosen, and the fountain was unveiled in 1907. Why would this be interesting for a coin forum? Well, the reward that Hosaeus got was a gold medal – but there were still quite a few in Dresden who criticized him, his design, or the way this proposal was chosen. His reaction?

In his memoirs, Hosaeus – who designed quite a few medals himself – wrote: A large, thick gold medal was my reward. But it looked so unpleasant that I immediately took it to my dentist, and melted it down myself. I was content with the idea that many people would from then on carry that appreciation in their mouths.  ;D  ("Eine große, dicke goldene Medaille war die äußere Anerkennung. Besagte Medaille war aber so wenig schön, daß ich sie spornstreichs zum Zahnarzt trug, sie eigenhändig einschmolz und mich damit begnügte, daß das beim Zahnarzt verbliebene Gold bildhaft bedeutete, daß viele Menschen meine Anerkennung dauernd im Munde führen.")

The Mozart fountain does not depict the composer himself but three women, allegorical figures. It was severely damaged in 1945 and set up again in 1991. Since there is no image of that ugly medal ;) here is an embedded photo of the fountain ...



Amusing story. So now that there are only zero specimen of the medal around, it must be very rare. I wonder why it isn't offered on eBay? >:D

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Most cities have standard award medals that are given with an appropriate engraving to deserving citizens or others having performed a service to the city. These medal often exist in copper, silver and gold. Maybe a copy of such a standard medal was given as an award. I think it is unlikely that only one copy of a special medal would have been made for the occasion.