Patinated Silver, UNC
73 mm (2.81”), 308 grams
OBVERSE: This unusual medal was designed in 1935 by the Italian American sculptor Anthony de Francisci (1887–1964) for the Society of Medalists #12 Issue. We see a world without form, lightning striking behind a cloud, and the upturned hand of God projecting from the fire of “CREATION” and cradling a child who leans against a crescent moon. The Latin words “FIAT VITA” translate as “Let there be life,” a play on the biblical line found in Genesis, “Let there be light.” At the bottom is a copyright symbol “©”encircled by “FRANCISCI.”
It is worth noting that Francisci also designed the silver Peace dollar, which circulated from 1921 through 1928 and then again in 1934 and 1935. He was born in Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1905 where he studied sculpture under such notable artists as Adolph Alexander Weinman, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, and James Earle Fraser.
REVERSE: The “SWIRLING UNIVERSE” is the theme shown here. The lightning bolts wrap around from the obverse behind a fiery, gaseous sun and starry universe. This high-relief medal weighs in at a hefty 11 ounces, clearly showing the drama and depth of design.
EDGE: The top edge is engraved “SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWELFTH- ISSUE.” The bottom edge is engraved “MEDALLAC ART CO NY.”