The Thomason Medallic Bible

By John Sallay

The Thomason Medallic Bible is a set of sixty medals struck in 1830 that captures the essence of the entire Holy Bible in medallic art. The obverse designs were inspired by the works of well-known Renaissance artists and executed by several different engravers. The reverse of each medal contains a dense text quotation or explanation describing the topic of each medal. The set was produced in Birmingham, England by Sir Edward Thomason, who felt divinely inspired to “promote the glory of God by impressing the Word of God upon gold, silver and other indestructible metals”.

In 1970, the Franklin Mint issued a small-format recreation from newly engraved dies, with much simplified text. While the original Thomason medals were struck in gilt copper and white metal with a diameter of 73mm, the Franklin Mint Version medals were struck in bronze with a diameter of 44mm. They were sold in a custom binder, with a description from Sir Edward Thomason’s Memoirs During Half a Century quoted on the inside front cover:

It appeared to me, in 1827, that I might, through God’s assistance, become a humble instrument to effect a unique and novel medallic work to further and promote the glory of God, by impressing the Word of God upon gold, silver and other indestructible metals, with emblematical and symbolical designs, and with a short condensed explanation on the reverses of the medals, and thereby be the first author of a Medallic Bible.

In this feeling my heart rejoiced, my soul was willing, but my flesh was weak, and I prayed unto the Lord to give me grace and strength of mind to accomplish so arduous an undertaking.

I first applied myself in reading over the sacred volume of the Bible, the authority of which is received by inspiration from God, and universally admitted. I found, after taking down copious notes, that I should be unable, by the most condensed arrangements, to produce a tolerably continuous , or even contracted, development under less number than sixty of the largest size medals, each being three inches in diameter, the obverses of which to contain the historical devices, and the reverses filled with lettered explanation; and it was also essential for my purpose that the historical pieces should be obtained from the pictures of the Ancient Masters. I did not despair in accomplishing this apparent difficulty in obtaining copies for my artists to work from, because I held at this period the appointment of eight consulships from foreign governments, which gave me facility to procure copies of such pictures from the Continent which I might not conveniently find in England.

Collector's Guide

1) ADAM GAVE NAMES TO EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD AND FOWL OF THE AIR

Inspired by: Paolo Veronese

2) EVE PRESENTING THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT TO ADAM

Inspired by: Domenichino

3) THE EXPULSION OF ADAM AND EVE FROM PARADISE

Inspired by: Guido

4) CAIN SLAYING HIS BROTHER ABEL

Inspired by: Domenichino

5) ENOCH CARRIED UP INTO HEAVEN

Inspired by: Paolo Veronese

6) NOAHS ARK FLOATING UPON THE WATERS

Inspired by: Bandinelli

7) NOAH BUILDETH AN ALTAR UNTO THE LORD AND OFFERETH SACRIFICE

Inspired by: Poussin

8) THE TOWER OF BABLE IN THE LAND OF SHINAH

Inspired by: Bandinelli

9) LOT PARTING FROM ABRAHAM TO DWELL IN THE PLAIN OF JORDAN

Inspired by: Titian

10) LOT AND HIS TWO DAUGHTERS ON THEIR JOURNEY FROM SODOM TO ZOAR

Inspired by: Rubens

11) ABRAHAM OFFERING HIS SON ISAAC FOR A SACRIFICE

Inspired by: Carracci

12) REBEKAH DRAWING WATER FOR ABRAHAMS CAMELS

Inspired by: Poussin

13) ABRAHAM BURIED IN THE CAVE OF MACPHELAH BY HIS SONS

Inspired by: Rembrandt

14) ISAAC BLESSING JACOB INSTEAD OF ESAU

Inspired by: Titian

15) RECONCILIATION BRTWEEN JACOB AND HIS BROTHER ESAU

Inspired by: Titian

16) JOSEPHS BRETHEREN SELLING HIM TO THE ISHMAELITE MERCHANTS

Inspired by: Guido

17) THE INTERPRETATION OF KING PHARAOHS TWO DREAMS BY JOSEPH

Inspired by: Guido

18) JOSEPH MAKETH HIMSELF KNOWN TO HIS BRETHEREN

Inspired by: Murillo

19) JACOB ON HIS DEATH BED CALLING TOGETHER HIS SONS & BLESSING THEM

Inspired by: Rembrandt

20) MOSES DISCOVERED & PRESERVED BY THE DAUGHTER OF KING PHARAOH

Inspired by: Poussin

21) THE ROD OF MOSES MIRACULOUSLY CHANGED INTO A SERPENT

Inspired by: Salvator Rosa

22) THE FIRST BORN SLAIN THROUGHOUT THE LAND OF EGYPT

Inspired by: Michelangelo

23) PHARAOH AND HIS HOST DROWNED IN THE RED SEA

Inspired by: Michelangelo

24) AND MOSES SMOTE THE ROCK AND IT GUSH’D OUT WATER

Inspired by: Murillo

25) MOSES DESCENDING FROM THE MOUNT & FINDING THE ISRAELITES WORSHIPING THE MOLTEN CALF

Inspired by: Raphael

26) THE ARK OF THE COVENANT THE ALTAR OF INCENSE THE BRAZEN LAVER

Inspired by: Bandinelli

27) MOSES’S BRAZEN SERPENT

Inspired by: Rembrandt

28) BALAAM SMITING HIS ASS WHO SPEAKETH BEFORE THE ANGEL

Inspired by: Carracci

29) THE SACRIFICE OF THE RED HEIFER BY ELEAZAR

Inspired by: Van Dyck

30) JOSHUA DIVIDING THE WATERS OF THE RIVER JORDAN

Inspired by: Rembrandt

31) JOSHUA COMMANDING THE SUN TO STAND STILL

Inspired by: Rembrandt

32) A CHART OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL’S TRAVELS FROM EGYPT

Inspired by: Thomason

33) JAEL DRIVING THE NAIL THROUGH THE HEAD OF SISERA

Inspired by: Carracci

34) FULFILMENT OF JEPHTHAHS RASH VOW

Inspired by: Carracci

35) SAMSON KILLING THE LION ON HIS JOURNEY TO TIMNATH

Inspired by: Le Brun

36) SAMSON CARRYING AWAY THE GATES OF GAZA

Inspired by: Le Brun

37) DAVID CUTTING OFF THE HEAD OF GOLIATH THE PHILISTINE

Inspired by: Michelangelo

38) SAUL AND THE WITCH OF ENDOR

Inspired by: Salvator Rosa

39) ABSALOM SLAIN BY JOAB IN THE WOOD OF EPHRAIM

Inspired by: Carracci

40) SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

Inspired by: Bandinelli

41) SOLOMON’S JUDGMENT

Inspired by: Carlo Dolci

42) JEROBOHAM ORDERING THE MAN OF GOD TO BE SEIZ’D

Inspired by: Correggio

43) ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS AT THE BROOK CHERITH

Inspired by: Paolo Veronese

44) ELIJAH CARRIED UP INTO HEAVEN IN THE PRESENCE OF ELISHA

Inspired by: Raphael

45) THE SHUNAMITE’S SON RESTORED TO LIFE ON THE PRAYER OF ELISHA

Inspired by: Murillo

46) JONAH DELIVER’D FROM THE WHALE

Inspired by: Leonardo daVinci

47) SENNACHERIBS OVERTHROW BY THE ANGEL 185,000 SMOTE IN THE CAMP

Inspired by: Michelangelo

48) SHADRACH MESHACK AND ABEDNEGO IN THE FIREY FURNACE

Inspired by: Carlo Maratta

49) JOB IN DISTRESS REBUKING HIS WIFE

Inspired by: Leonardo daVinci

50) THE DIVINE PSALMIST

Inspired by: Van Dyck

51) DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS

Inspired by: Raphael

52) JULIUS CAESAR MURDERED IN THE SENATE HOUSE AT ROME

Inspired by: Correggio

53) THE ADORATION OF THE WISE MEN

Inspired by: Rubens

54) JOSEPH’S FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

Inspired by: Rubens

55) JOHN BAPTIZING CHRIST IN JORDAN

Inspired by: Poussin

56) CHRIST RAISING LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD

Inspired by: Murillo

57) CHRIST INSTITUTING HIS LAST SUPPER

Inspired by: Leonardo daVinci

58) CHRIST’S AGONY IN THE GARDEN

Inspired by: Carlo Dolci

59) THE CRUCIFIXION

Inspired by: Rubens

60) THE ASCENSION

Inspired by: Correggio

Printable Version

A printable formatted version of the MCA Thomason Medallic Bible Series Collector's Guide (pdf) is available.