About the Collection
As is the story with many American collectors, this collection evolved from an early interest in United States coinage. Repetitious designs and high costs drove me to explore other avenues, whereupon I discovered the coins of the Vatican, which led to an interest in earlier papal issues. This in turn led to the discovery of papal medals, which were soon the exclusive focus of my collecting endeavors. After acquiring a range of examples, it soon became apparent that the medals after the reign of Clement XII, in my opinion, were of declining quality, and thus a termination date of 1740 became self-enforced on the collection, with any later medals being dispersed.
Following a time of exclusive focus on early papal medals, it soon became obvious that I could no longer ignore the beauty and interest to be found in other Italian medals of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Shortly thereafter, it was only a small stretch for French medals to be added. Rounding out the major areas of medal creation in continental Europe, several German and Netherlandish medals would also eventually find their way into the collection.
While I do endeavor to acquire pieces of good quality, certain concessions must be made based on availability and affordability. Throughout this site I have tended to avoid discussion of whether a certain piece is contemporary or later in manufacture, as I must admit to being solely an amateur. In some circumstances, where die states on struck medals do allow for some well founded opinions, a brief mention might be made. In any case, to me, the precise date of manufacture, while certainly of importance, does not detract from the artistry or history of a particular medal.
The name for this collection, the Virtus Collection, was born out of a need of a website domain name that was concise, yet broad enough to cover the collection's current and possible future acquisitions. Since the collection is focused on portrait medals, the virtue, or excellence, of a subject that would be portrayed by a medal seemed to be a fitting name.
It is my hope that visitors to this site will acquire an appreciation (if they do not already have one) for the fine art of miniature sculpture that is the medal. Often ignored by the art world and glossed over by numismatists, it sometimes feels that medals are one of the best hidden secrets in collecting.