Complete set of 38 medals. 45mm. Issued in both sterling silver and gold-plated sterling, each of equal value. The plays of Shakespeare represent an achievement without parallel in the entire history of civilization. In our time, they are more widely read and more frequently performed throughout the world, than they ever have been in the past. The reason for this is that through the prism of Shakespeare's genius, the entire pageant of human experience is seen clear and whole. He alone totally succeeded in holding a true "mirror up to human nature."
Two editions of 38 Shakespeare medals were issued by the Royal Shakespeare Theater of Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. The 45 millimeter proof series was issued to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the first printed folio of Shakespeare's plays, in 1623. The 32 millimeter medals commemorate the centenary of the founding in 1869 of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at its present location.
Each medal is sculptured in bas-relief, and captures the essence of one of Shakespeare's 38 plays. Each work of medallic art is the creation of the distinguished English sculptor Philip Nathan. He spent three years in Shakespeare's birthplace, and received advice from the staff of the Theatre, who helped him decide on the characters to portray, and the dramatic impact of each scene. Each medal interprets the essence of a different play, in a finely detailed sculpture. A custom-designed hardbound album was provided free of charge to each subscriber.
The 45 millimeter set was issued from 1971-1974. 2173 sets of the gold electroplate on sterling silver were minted. 3287 sets in sterling silver were also produced.
The 32 millimeter set was issued from 1979-1982.
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