Victor D. Brenner, Lincoln Plaque, Bronze
Victor Brenner’s Lincoln Plaque
The Inspiration for the Lincoln Your Pocket!
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Offering Victor David Brenner’s important Abraham Lincoln Bronze Plaque. It features a half-length portrait of the martyred president facing right; the plaque is mounted on fine green granite and includes a stand on the back.
In 1908 Brenner was commissioned to create the medal for the ongoing Panama Canal project. It is widely surmised that Theodore Roosevelt saw this representation during the sittings for the Panama Canal medal. Brenner created the Lincoln one in 1907 for the Gorham Manufacturing Company.
Roosevelt liked the Lincoln plaque so much that later he commissioned the one cent piece for the Lincoln birth centennial in 1909. Favoring classically influenced sculpture and art, Roosevelt initially commissioned the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign all American coins, but Saint-Gaudens died before he could finish his work. The Lincoln penny was supposed to simply be a commemorative penny, only produced for the Centennial of Lincoln’s birth, but the popularity of the coin among the American public was such that the design remained in production and has not changed to this day.
Roger Burdette’s recent Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915 depicts a Lincoln commemorative desk medal produced by Gorham & Co. from models of Lincoln by Brenner. Burdette writes, “The immediate inspiration for this medallic portrait (and a 1907 rectangular plaquette) appears to be an 1864 photograph of President Lincoln taken in Matthew Brady’s Washington, D.C. studio by assistant Anthony Berger (O-89). However, a letter written by Brenner and published in April 1, 1909 opens the possibility that the medalist also had in mind a portrait of the President reading to his son, Tad (O-93).
In fine condition, with rich, chocolatey patina.
Brenner, Victor D. Lincoln Plaque. ABRAHAM LINCOLN /1809 1865. Right side: COPYRIGHT 1907 BY V.D. BRENNER (although the V looks like a Y) with an arrow pointing left inside a circle, and the date 1907. 9 1/2 ” x 7″ (approx).
About Victor David Brenner
Victor David Brenner was born in Lithuania and immigrated to the United States in 1890. He settled in the New York City area, worked during the day and attended art classes at Cooper Union at night. In the years that followed Brenner became one of the country’s premiere medallists. Theodore Roosevelt saw a copy of this Lincoln plaque and chose him to design the artwork on the Lincoln penny. To date his design is believed to be the longest running coin design in US mint history.
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