This collection of 83 coins was donated in November of 2000 by an anonymous donor. The individuals on the coins range from psychiatrists and physiologists to philosophers, biologists, and chemists. The wide range of professions demonstrates the diversity of thought that was necessary to create the field of psychology and lead to modern day psychological theories. Many individuals in this coin collection were not psychologists, but rather contributed to the field of psychology by influencing the thoughts of later scientists who in turn used these ideas to form the field of psychology. The collection spans from the earliest coin being minted in 1799 up through the most recent in 2004. The donation letter accompanying the collection reads:

11/9/00

Dear ------,

Please find attached the commemorative medals and coins. I had them appraised for -----. I would appreciate a letter from APA confirming this amount and their receipt. I am happy to make this donation but wish to remain anonymous.

Yours Truly,

-------- P.S. I got my list from Boring’s History of Experimental Psychology. This would explain the relevance of some of the more obscure people.

Boring’s History of Experimental Psychology included information on some of the subjects in the collection, but there were a few who were not listed in this text. Each entry includes an image of the obverse and reverse (when there were images on the reverse) of the coin with a brief biography of the individual, an explanation of why the coin was created, a description of images and writing on the coin, date it was minted (if available), and measurements of the coin.


More Coins by Name

E - Lei | Lev - N | O - Z

Agassiz, Louis (1966)

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Agassiz was born on May 28, 1807 in Haut-Vully, Switzerland. He was a paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist, and a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth’s natural history. He later taught as a professor at Harvard University. Agassiz was the first to propose that the Earth had undergone a previous ice age. Agassiz studied zoology as well and issued a classified list of all names employed in zoology for genera and groups. He was appointed professor of geology and zoology at Harvard University, where he founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Agassiz died on December 14, 1873 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The medal was issued by Medallic Art Co. N.Y. in bronze metal for the induction of Louis Agassiz into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University. The medal is made of bronze and measures 1 ¾ inches in diameter. The obverse of the medal contains a bust facing right of Agassiz with his name, dates of birth and death, and the words, “The Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University” surrounding the image. The reverse shows a central image of a sea animal with more sea life surrounding the central image.

The American Psychological Association Centennial Medal (1992)

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The Centennial Medal was struck to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American Psychological Association. The Greek goddess Psyche is on the obverse and represents the personification of the soul, the essential and imperishable quality of the human being. This Centennial Psyche is modeled after the engraved classical Greek gems illustrated in Furstwangler, Die antiken Gemme, Berlin, 1900. At times, Psyche has also been depicted as a winged figure above dying warriors. The reverse side of the medal alone shows the official APA Centennial logo, designed by the APA Task Force on Centennial Celebrations for use only during this historic period. The medal appears to be made of bronze and measures 1 ½ inches in diameter. The back of the box it was purchased in gives the information that the coin was minted at the Charleston Mint in Charleston, South Carolina.

A second copy, encased in plastic, is included in the collection.
Arago, Francois (1983)

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Arago was born on February 26, 1786 in Estagel, Catalan, France. He was a French Catalan mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and politician. He served as the 25th Prime Minister of France from May 9, 1848 through June 24, 1848. During a large period of his life he was the Royal Astronomer and commenced to deliver his remarkably successful lecture series on astronomy (1812-1845). Arago studied the pressure of steam at different temperatures and the velocity of sound for a number of years as well. He also worked on determining the meridian and taking measurements of the Earth. Arago died on October 2, 1853 in Paris, France. The medallion commemorates Arago’s many achievements and has the image of a telescope and measuring devices engraved on the reverse of the coin. There are several phrases and dates on the reverse of the coin as well, though all phrases are in French. The obverse contains a bust of Arago, his name, birth and death dates, and a phrase around the outer rim stating, “DE L’ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES: 1809 – PROFESSEUR A POLYTECHNIQUE.” The coin was purchased on January 1, 1984. The medal is made of bronze, was designed by R. Lamourismeu, and measures 2 5/8 inches in diameter.

Astruc, Jean (1981)

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Jean Astruc was a French physician born on March 19, 1684 in Sauve, Languedoc. Astruc wrote the first great treatise on syphilis and other venereal diseases, and also, with a small anonymously published book, played a fundamental part in the origins of critical textual analysis of works of scripture. He was also the first to demonstrate the theory that Genesis was composed based on several sources or manuscript traditions, an approach that is called the documentary hypothesis. During Astruc’s life, he was appointed successively Superintendent of the Mineral Waters of Languedoc, first physician to the King of Poland, and regius professor of medicine in Paris. He died on May 6, 1766 in Paris. The coin, minted in 1982, is number 21 out of 100. The medal appears to be made of bronze and measures 3 ½ inches in diameter. The obverse of the coin contains a right-facing bust of Astruc with his name, birth and death dates, and the phrase, “Regent de la faculte de Paris” surrounding the image. The reverse contains an image of a woman with a snake coiled around her upper left thigh and lower torso with several French phrases to the right of the image. To the left of the image is the phrase, “LES MALADIES VENERIENNES.”

St. Augustine of Hippo (No Date)

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St. Augustine was born on November 13, 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria). He was a Romanized Berber philosopher and theologian. Augustine is one of the most important figures in Western Christianity and ‘established anew the ancient faith.’ He framed the concepts of original sin and just war and his thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. In the Catholic Church and Anglican Community Augustine is considered a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church. St. Augustine died on August 28, 430 in Hippo Regius, Numidia (modern-day Annaba, Algeria). The obverse of the coin shows a portrait of St. Augustine surrounded by writing. The reverse of the coin contains an image of two men; one is cleaning the other’s feet, also encircled by an inscription. The medal appears to be cast in bronze and measures 1 9/16 X 1 ¾ inches.

Avicenna (UNESCO) (1982)

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Avicenna was born in 980 near Bukhara, Iran (now in Uzbekistan). He was Persian, followed Muslim principles and thought and is considered to be the father of modern medicine. Avicenna was an astronomer, chemist, geologist, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, physicist, poet, psychologist, scientist, and teacher. He discovered the contagious nature of infectious diseases, introduced quarantines, and studied the influence of the climate and environment on health. He is also considered the founder of the fundamental concept of momentum in physics. Avicenna was also the pioneer of neuropsychiatry, describing numerous conditions including hallucination, insomnia, mania, nightmare, melancholia, dementia, epilepsy, paralysis, stroke, vertigo, and tremor. He died in 1037 in Hamadan. The coin was minted by UNESCO in honor of Avicenna’s 1,000th birth anniversary, which was 1980, as signified on the front of the coin. Reproduced on the reverse is a phrase by Avicenna in Arabic and Latin which means, “Cooperate for the well-being of the body and the survival of the human species” as well as the signature attributed to Avicenna. The medallion was made available in gold, silver and bronze – this one is bronze. The designer was V. Douek, and the medal measures 2 3/8 inches in diameter.

Avicenna (No Date)

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Avicenna was born in 980 near Bukhara, Iran (now in Uzbekistan). He was Persian, followed Muslim principles and thought and is considered to be the father of modern medicine. Avicenna was an astronomer, chemist, geologist, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, physicist, poet, psychologist, scientist, and teacher. He discovered the contagious nature of infectious diseases, introduced quarantines, and studied the influence of the climate and environment on health. He is also considered the founder of the fundamental concept of momentum in physics. Avicenna was also the pioneer of neuropsychiatry, describing numerous conditions including hallucination, insomnia, mania, nightmare, melancholia, dementia, epilepsy, paralysis, stroke, vertigo, and tremor. He died in 1037 in Hamadan. The medallion commemorates his life and achievements. The medal measures 2 ¾ inches and is cast in bronze. It was minted by Gravarte in Lisbon, Portugal and designed by Armindo Viseu. The obverse shows a right-facing bust of Avicenna with images of people in the background doing daily chores. The reverse contains a phrase in Portuguese, “IRANIANO E CONHECIDO POR ‘PRINCIPE DOS MEDICOS,’ FOI AUTOR DO ‘CANON DA MEDICINA E FILOSOFIA ILUMINATIVE,’ OBRA UTILIZADA ATE AO SECULO XVII.”

Bacon, Francis (No Date)

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Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561 in York House, London. He was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, and author and is known as the father of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific revolution. His works established and popularized an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method or simply, the scientific method. Bacon died on April 9, 1626 in London, England. The coin has an inscription on the reverse in an unknown language which reads, “Non Procul Dies.” Underneath this phrase is an image of Aurora with her veil full of stars. The obverse has a portrait of Bacon surrounded by his name. The medal is made of gray metal and measures 1 5/8 inches in diameter.

Bernard, Claude (1983)

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Claude Bernard was born on July 12, 1813 in Saint-Julien, France. He was a physiologist whose many accomplishments included being the first to suggest the use of blind experiments to ensure the objectivity of scientific observations. In 1865, Bernard published his work on the scientific method, detailing what makes a scientific theory good and what makes a scientist important. Bernard is best known for his discoveries concerning the role of the pancreas in digestion, the glycogenic function of the liver, and the regulation of the blood supply by the vasomotor nerves. Bernard died on February 10, 1878 in Paris, France. The title of his major work on the scientific method is etched on the obverse of the coin in French along with the date of publication. The medallion has a quote on the reverse detailing Bernard’s belief about the scientific method and how it should be upheld. The coin was purchased on February 17, 1983 and is number 118 that was minted. The medal is made of bronze, was designed by M. Mocaust, and measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter.

Bernard, Claude (No Date)

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Claude Bernard was born on July 12, 1813 in Saint-Julien, France. As a French physiologist, he was the first to suggest the use of blind experiments to ensure the objectivity of scientific observation. Bernard is best known for his discoveries concerning the role of the pancreas in digestion, the glycogenic function of the liver, and the regulation of the blood supply by the vasomotor nerves. Bernard died on February 10, 1878 in Paris, France. The medal was minted in bronze and is number 118 out of 500 made. On the reverse there is an inscription in Portuguese, ‘DE JOVEM BOTICARIO A MEDICO ESTUDOU A MEDICINA EXPERIMENTAL. DESCOBRIU A FUNCAO GLICOGENICA DO FIGADO OS COLEGAS DIZIAM ‘ELE FOI A PROPRIA FISIOLOGIA.’ The medal was made by Gravarte in Lisbon, Portugal, designed by Armindo Viseu, and measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter.

Boerhaave, Hermann (1970)

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Hermann Boerhaave was born on December 31, 1668 in Voorhout, Netherlands. He was a Dutch botanist, humanist, and physician of European fame. He is regarded as the founder of clinical teaching and of the modern academic hospital. His main achievement was to demonstrate the relation of symptoms to lesions. He also worked on finding an explanation foranimal motion. He died on September 23, 1738 in Leiden, Netherlands. The obverse of the coin is a portrait of Boerhaave with his name, dates of birth and death, and the inscription “Teacher of Clinical Medicine.” The reverse of the coin shows Boerhaave surrounded by other men while he is treating a patient. The inscription, “The Common Teacher of All Europe” runs along the bottom of the coin with the date 1709 next to the image. 1709 is when Boerhaave became a professor of botany and medicine and began his path of teaching medical methods to others. The coin was minted by Medallic Art Co. N. Y. and was cast in what appears to be bronze. The medal was designed by Abram Belskie and measures 1 ¾ inches in diameter.

Brucke, Ernst Wilhelm von (1910)

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Ernst Wilhelm von Brucke was born on July 6, 1819 in Berlin, Prussia (now Germany). He was a German physician and physiologist. He is best known for his influence on Sigmund Freud, one of his medical students, which led to the development of the science of psychodynamics. Von Brucke died on January 7, 1892 in Vienna, Austria. The medallion was struck for the 13th International Physiological Congress in Vienna, 1910. The medal is square, made of bronze, designed by Breithut, and measures 2 5/8 X 2 5/8 inches. The obverse contains a right-facing bust of von Brucke, with inscriptions to each side of the image and his name underneath. The reverse contains an image of a man holding his arms in the air as a large bird flies overhead.

Commodus (189)

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The coin has been identified as a roman sestertius, struck in Rome in 189 A.D. The obverse depicts Commodus, the reverse depicts Securitas seated with a sphere in his right hand. There is an inscription around the image, but it has been damaged and is unreadable. The coin measures 1 1/8 inches in diameter and it is not readily apparent from what type of metal it is made.

This is a description of a similar coin, from the Catalogue of Roman coins in the British Museum, vol. IV, p. 820, n° 640:

M COMMODVS ANT P FEL – IX AVG [BRI]T P P, laureated head, right; R/ [SECVRIT(as) ORB(is) P M TR P XIIII IMP [VIII] COS [S], exergue : DES VI, and S - C, Securitas seated on the left, sphere in the right hand.

Condillac, Etienne Bonnot de (1980)

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Etienne Bonnot de Condillac was born on September 30, 1715 in Grenoble, France. He was known as a French philosopher and is important both as a psychologist and as having established the principles of Locke, whom Voltaire had lately made fashionable. Condillac believed that knowledge came from two sources: sensation and reflection. He was also a believer in the association of ideas. Condillac died on August 3, 1780 in Flux, France. The coin was minted in 1980 as a 200th anniversary of Condillac’s death and to commemorate his contributions. The obverse has a portrait engraved in the center with his name and birth and death dates around the edge. The reverse has a long-stemmed rose engraved in the center. The medal is made of bronze, was designed by Kretz, and measures 2 ¾ inches in diameter.

Cuvier, Georges (1982)

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Georges Cuvier was born on August 23, 1769 in Montbeliard, France. He was a French naturalist and zoologist who belonged to a new class of self-made scholars who worked their way to the top of academe. Cuvier was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology by comparing living animals with fossils. He is well known for establishing extinction as a fact, being the most influential proponent of catastrophism in geology, and opposing the gradualistic evolutionary theories of Lamarck. Cuvier died on May 13, 1832 in Paris, France. The medallion commemorates various milestones in Cuvier’s career, with a listing in French with the dates on the reverse of the coin. The medal is cast in bronze, designed by A. Bovy, and measures 2 inches in diameter. The obverse contains a right-facing bust of Cuvier with his name surrounding the image.

Darwin, Charles (1972)

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Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. He was an English naturalist who realized that all species of life descended over time from common ancestors and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process he called natural selection. Darwin is most famous for his publication, On the Origin of Species. Darwin died on April 19, 1882 in Downe, Kent, England. The coin commemorates his theory of evolution. The obverse contains a bust of Darwin surrounded by his name and birth and death dates. The reverse contains images of various insects and the name of the designer of the coin, Christiane Cochet. The medal is made of bronze and measures 2 5/8 inches in diameter.

Descartes, Rene (No Date)

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Rene Descartes was born on March 31, 1596 in La Haye, Touraine, France. He was a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed ‘The Father of Modern Philosophy,’ and much of modern philosophy is in response to his writings. Descartes is also credited as the father of analytical geometry and was one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution. One of his best known philosophical statements is “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes died on February 11, 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden. The coin was minted in bronze and on the reverse side holds an image of a building with the word “philosophe” and the date of his death in 1650. The image also contains an angel holding an open book and a globe off to the side. The medal measures 1 1/8 inches in diameter. The obverse contains a right-facing bust of Descartes with his name surrounding the image.