American Institute medal
Diameter: 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Obverse: in exergue, "NEW-YORK / R. LOVETT." Reverse engraved at center: "Davids & Black, / For beautiful specimens / of sealing wax, 1847."
Silver struck medal with obverse showing figure of Liberty holding laurel wreath and pole surmounted by Phrygian cap; at left are tools of agriculture and sailing ship in the background; at right. symbols of American state and cornucopia; legend above: "AMERICAN INSTITUTE."; inscription in exergue: "NEW YORK." Reverse has space for engraving at center, surrounded by laurel and oak wreath, with legend: "AWARDED / TO / Davids & Black / For Beautiful Specimens / OF SEALING WAX / 1847".
The American Institute of the City of New York was organized in 1828 to encourage and promote domestic industry. Through annual expositions showcasing American achievement in agriculture, horticulture, manufacturing, commerce, and the arts, the Institute strived to develop American ingenuity and natural resources and at the same time reduce the nation's reliance on foreign imports. The fairs were held at spectacular venues, ranging from Castle Garden to the Crystal Palace, and attracted throngs of visitors. Award medals were highly coveted by the exhibitors. The first American Institute medal was designed and engraved by Moritz Furst in 1828; New York City engraver Robert Lovett, Sr. prepared new dies in 1841, and his son George H. Lovett made further changes in 1856. This silver medal was presented in 1847 to the New York City ink manufacturers and stationers Davids & Black "for beautiful specimens of sealing wax." The firm of Davids & Black was founded by Thaddeus Davids (1810-1894), a successful manufacturer and retailer of pen ink and related products. Davids won this medal during his brief partnership with John Black, Jr. Davids maintained manufacturing plants and offices on William Street, where he made thirty-three different inks as well as sealing wax and other stationers' products.
Gift of Gregory Furness
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.