Wiener Letters


The Béla Schick Medal, issued in 1990


As often was the case, preparation for a new medal begins with research (3/5/88): “I am reading the book (Béla Schick and the World of Children) with great interest. Too bad there isn’t a single profile – he seems to have had a good profile – but the one photo it shows is too indistinct for me to work from, and it has an open mouth which would not look well. I do hope my new glasses will enable me to do the work!”


Gerta remarks on the extensive correspondence (3/16/88): “Don’t we keep the post office busy lately!” and then continues: “Thanks for Dr. Schick’s autograph – you see that I have found a place for it on my sketch – it fits right in! You are probably surprised that I decided to use neither of the 2 portraits we had considered for the front of the medal! I am so tired of doing one solemn, deserving gentleman’s face after the other, but felt that we should offer our collectors something different, something more lively! Don’t you agree? The portrait I picked to emphasize Dr. Schick’s love for children – his gentle, friendly disposition, and his empathy with his young patients, who return his love, should give the medal a special significance. And the happy child on the reverse of the medal, with the quote from the Talmud you suggested, carries out this feeling perfectly – I think. The autograph could be a little smaller, so I could put the dates underneath, if you feel that that is necessary.”




 Schick drawings for obverse and reverse (3-16-88)


After rejecting “the picture of that baby you fell in love with, and even took the trouble to make a composition of it for me,” Gerta writes (4/4/88), “You were so kind to say on the phone, I would have to be happy making this medal, so you will surely understand that I have to follow my own feeling as far as the design goes. I assure you that you won’t be sorry not to see the baby on the reverse!”


On 2/9/89, Ms. Wiener sent a photo “of the portrait side before I have taken out the ‘Dr.’, which was too close to the head, and was not necessary as M.D. is following the name. The little girl will surely please you (on the reverse).




Schick plaster models for obverse and reverse, no border on obverse (2-9-89)


Gerta talks about this little girl on 11/28/89: “I’m waiting for the Schick medals to arrive and I can give one to the mother of the little jumping girl who was my model. She calls me up about it endlessly.”


A letter from Medallic Art Company (12/26/89) accompanying a lead striking of the obverse Bela Schick medal, indicates: “As you know, we added the border for the obverse side.”


Gerta’s reaction to the border is not recorded, but on 8/10/90 she writes: “Did you notice what the mint did under the foot of the little girl on the Schick medal, that jumps over the edge? They made it look as if she is kicking up the soil under her heel! They did not do that to Mr. Seixas’ foot that stepped out of the medal!”


Schick bronze medal


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