Postcard of Medallion of James Smithson

ID: SIA2013-07713 (front) and SIA2013-07714 (back)

Creator: Tiolier, Pierre Joseph 1763 - 1819

Form/Genre: Postcard

Date: c. 1937-1940s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Collection T90126, Box 1, Folder: 3

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Grayscale postcard of a medallion of James Smithson. The medallion is against a black background. The front of the postcard has a thick white border at the bottom. The postcard is unused, but the message side has a printed note about James Smithson: "James Smithson (1765-1829) An Englishman who left his fortune to the United States to found "the Smithsonian Institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men". Plaque attributed to Antonio Canova, 1817 (1757-1822). National Collection of Fine Arts Smithsonian Institution Washington 25, D. C." The National Collection of Fine Arts became the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • National Collection of Fine Arts
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • Produced by The Meriden Gravure Company.
  • The medallion was originally attributed to Italian artist Antonio Canova, but a "T" mark on the medallion (not visible on the postcard) identifies the creator as Frenchman Pierre Joseph Tiolier.
  • For images of the medallion, see Negatives SA-766 and SI 33395.
  • The Smithson Medallion is currently housed in the collections of the National Museum of American History.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Collection T90126, Box 1, Folder: 3

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


c. 1937-1940s

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Postcard
  • Medals


  • Postcard
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2013-07713 (front) and SIA2013-07714 (back)

Physical description

Number of Images: 2; Color: Black and White; Size: 3.5w x 5.5h; Type of Image: Postcard; Medium: Paper

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