Pewter, seal, and gem engraving were traditional Jewish professions, often handed down from father to son through several generations. By the 18th century, this practice had developed into medal engraving and Jewish medalists were employed at several Protestant courts of northern Germany and Scandinavia. Members of the *Abraham-Abramson family were among the leading 18th-century medalists. The Jacobson family rose to prominence at Copenhagen in the same period. Philipp *Aron, active from about 1750 to 1787, and his brother Abraham (1744–1824), did portrait medals for the courts of Mecklenburg and Stockholm, as did Meir Loeser and his son Nathan at the turn of the century. About the same time Abraham Jacobs and Abraham Heilbut spent their active careers working in their native Hamburg. An important 18th-century Russian medalist was Samuel *Judin, while the *Simon family flourished in Belgium and France. The three *Wiener brothers from Belgium are considered among the finest 19th-century medalists, as were Avenir and Abraham *Griliches in Russia. France was the home of several distinguished 19th-century Jewish medalists such as René Stern, court engraver to Napoleon iii, and E.A. Soldi. One of the few Jewish medals by the French sculptor Emmanuel Hannaux has an excellent portrait of Narcisse *Leven, president of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. S.F. *Beer engraved the commemorative for the Second Zionist Congress. Aaron Kohn (early 19th century, Germany) is noteworthy for his religious medals, such as his 1817 *Tashlikh prayer and his 1837 circumcision medals. In the same period Asher Wappenstein (1780–1852) of Vienna engraved patriotic commemoratives. I.W. Loewenbach of Munich struck Bavarian nationalist medals from the 1820s through the 1860s. He also did the earliest German synagogue medal, issued in 1826 for the new synagogue at Munich. H. Oppenheim is well known for his medals dealing with his home city of Frankfurt on the Main. On the other hand, Leo Horovitz, son of the Frankfurt rabbi Marcus *Horovitz, concentrated mainly on Jewish subjects. Dutch Jewish medalists of this period were M.C. de Vries Jr., A.L. Snoeck, and Jacques *Elion, the last having been preceded by his father Samuel Cohen Elion. Two Americans, both born in the Austrian Empire, achieved distinction. One was Moritz *Furst; the other, Isidore Konti, a gifted sculptor as well, struck the 1905 commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Jewish settlement in the United States. Among 20th-century Jewish medalists are Victor D. *Brenner (U.S.), Benno *Elkan (Germany and England), and Harald Salomon (Denmark). Fulop O. Beck (b. 1873) is considered one of the best medalists of the 20th century; though baptized he executed medals for many important Jews. Ede Telcs (1872–1958), also a Christian convert, became the official medalist for Hungary during World War i. Other noted 20th-century Jewish medalists include the Germans Hugo Kaufmann and Arnold *Zadikow; the Austrians Emil Fuchs and Arthur Loewental; the Dutch Loecki Metz; the Hungarian István Csillag; the French Boris Bernstein, Simon Goldberg, and Esther Gorbato; Paul *Vincze, in England, as well as the Americans Abram Belskie, Michael Lantz, Albert W. Wein, and Adolph Block. The American sculptors Leonard Baskin and William *Zorach have done occasional medals. Boris *Schatz, Ivan Sors, F.J. Kormis, and A. Eisenberg are known for their medals of Jewish subject matter. Israel had a new group of medalists, including Miriam Karoli, Zvi Narkiss, Gabriel and Maxime Shammir, the team of Rothschild and Lippmann ("Rcli"), Alex Berlyne, Mordechai Gumpel, Jacob Zim, Josef Bass, and Moshe Zipper.
L. Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medalists (1902–30); D.M. Friedenberg (ed.), Great Jewish Portraits in Metal (1963); idem, in: The Numismatist (July 1969); O.C. Gaedechens, Die neuren Hamburgischen Muenzen und Medaillen (1843); T. Hoffmann, Jacob Abraham und Abraham Abramson – 55 Jahr Medaillenkunst (1755–1810) (1927); L. Kadman, Israel's Money (1963); M. Stern, Ausdem Berliner Juedischen Museum (1937).
[Daniel M. Friedenberg]