This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Alan Stahl, Princeton University’s curator of numismatics, has received the Royal Numismatic Society Medal for 2010. The medal is awarded annually to “some person highly distinguished for services to Numismatic Science,” according to the group.
The honor was bestowed on Stahl Jan. 18 at a meeting held at the Warburg Institute in London by Nicholas Mayhew, society president and director of the Winton Institute for Monetary History, Oxford University.
In his citation, Mayhew characterized Stahl’s book, Zecca: The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages, as “magisterial” and added that “there can be few areas of historical research where the efforts of one scholar have borne such rich and significant historical, numismatic and economic fruit.
“Yet although Stahl remains for most us ‘Mr. Venice,’ the range of his work over his academic life is much greater than that,” Mayhew said. “His earliest numismatic focus was on Merovingian France, and his publications in that area remain the most up to date and comprehensive works in that field.”
Mayhew went on to acknowledge Stahl’s contributions to the study of the medal and to numismatic history and methodology, as well as his decades of teaching numismatics as an academic discipline.
“My relationship with numismatics has produced benefits that derive more from the people I have encountered through it than from the coins I have studied,” Stahl said upon accepting the medal.
He then delivered a formal address entitled “Learning from the Zecca: The Medieval Mint of Venice as a Model for Pre-modern Minting.”
Stahl is the ninth American to receive the Royal Numismatic Society Medal since it was instituted in 1883. The current version of the award is a 4-inch cast silver medal commissioned from British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley in 1993. The obverse depicts Hercules and the Lion, a common numismatic subject. On the reverse, the inscription reads OPTIME MERENTI (to the most deserving) PRAEMIVM SOCIETATIS REGIAE NUMISMATICAE (the prize of the Royal Numismatic Society). The recipient’s name is engraved on the edge.