Information about Joseph Edgar Boehm

Joseph Edgar Boehm (6 July 1834 - 12 December 1890)

Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Baronet RA was a medallist and sculptor, best known for the Jubilee head of Queen Victoria on coinage, and the statue of the Duke of Wellington at Hyde Park Corner. His oeuvre is substantial and he exhibited 123 works at the Royal Academy, from 1862 to his death in 1890.

Boehm (originally "Böhm") was born in Vienna of Hungarian parentage. His father, Joseph Daniel Böhm, was director of the imperial mint in Vienna. After studying the plastic art in Italy and at Paris, he worked for a few years as a medallist in Vienna. In 1856, he was presented with the Austrian Imperial Prize for Sculpture, the start of his distinguished career.

In 1887, he designed and executed the model for the dies for a series of coins commemorating the 50th anniversary of the queen's reign. The coins are signed J.E.B. below Queen Victoria's shoulder. This design was severely criticised by his peers as well as the public. It was replaced in 1893. The coins depicted the royal arms in the order of the garter on the reverse. As a result, the sixpences were frequently gilded and passed off as gold half sovereigns. Therefore, the sixpence immediately reverted to its standard design.

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