New York (April 3, 2014) The Archive of Augustin and Narcisse Dupré realised $351,000 at Bonhams on April 2. Augustin Dupré (1748-1833) was a celebrated engraver of coins, medals, jetons and seals. He began his career in the Royal court before the French Revolution brought him to prominence. Narcisse was Augustin's son, and the archive's original caretaker.
The extraordinary single-lot sale generated global interest among dedicated collectors of coins and medals. Offered by the sole heir of the Dupré family, the archive had only recently come to the attention of collectors after hundreds of years in private hands.
Dupré began his career as an engraver at the royal factory for weapons. In approximately 1770, he became a student of Jacques-Louis David and engraved his first medals. The French Revolution gave him the opportunity to further develop his art, as the new regime deemed complete monetary reform a top priority. A competition, initiated by David for the Convention Nationale, was opened in April 1791. Dupré's design won, and it was adopted for the new currency, the "Louis Conventionnel". Following this success, Dupré was named Graveur Général des Monnaies by decree of the Assemblée Nationale on July 11, 1791.
Augustin Dupré is also famously noted for producing some of the major American medals of the time that include the Libertas Americana medal of 1783, the John Paul Jones Medal of 1789 as well as the Diplomatic Medal of 1790 and the two Franklin Medals of 1784 and 1786. In 1830, he became a Knight in the Legion of Honour.
"It was a tremendous honour to offer the collection of Augustin and Narcisse Dupré after so many generations within the family. I am particularly pleased the archive was offered in its entirety, preserving this master engraver's legacy," noted Paul Song, Director of Coins and Medals at Bonhams.
Bonhams next Coins and Medals sale will take place June 2 in Los Angeles.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com