1777 B. Franklin Américain Portrait Medallion. Fur Cap. By Jean-Baptiste Nini. Margolis-11 var., Greenslet GM-5, Betts-548. Terracotta. About Uncirculated.118.3 mm; approximately 8.7 mm at the edge. 231.8 grams. Obverse in high relief, with five stops in the legend. Signed and dated once on the truncation, to the left of the small coat of arms. The date and signature are slightly blurred, and the letters ERICA are each compromised a bit, seemingly from flaws in the moulding process rather than post-production chips. Close examination reveals that this piece was shifted in the mould or doubly impressed, not unlike shift-doubling seen on coins and medals, and this easily explains the noted imperfections. Made with a suspension hole from the top edge through to the back, as on all seen.<p><p>A handsome example of this rare heavy-format variant. Warm reddish-tan patina on the obverse is quite uniform, while the reverse is slightly more orange and similarly uniform. Only trivial handling is evident in the obverse design. A couple of tiny chips are noted in the border, while the reverse shows no such flaws. The back is clearly convex, likely an artifact of the firing process. No cracks are seen.<p><p>The design, size and weight are all fitting for the Margolis-11 attribution, but while the tiny obverse pellet in the upper obverse rim is easily seen, the expected corresponding fleur de lys on the reverse is not present on this piece. This subvariant was noted by Margolis, and he reported a single example seen, likely this one. This is something of a transitional impression related to both Margolis-10 and Margolis-11, which he noted were represented by just nine combined examples seen during his research. This is clearly a great rarity of the series and perhaps even unique. This said, none of the heavier small module variants can be called common, as they tend to be represented by only a few medallions. They are distinctive for their slightly larger size as well as for their higher relief portraits. They are all rare enough that they might safely be considered trials. Margolis gave considerable thought to the chronology of the issues and believed these to be the ones made by Nini earlier in the process, while the smaller ones seem to have been produced in considerably higher numbers and distributed wider.<p>.<strong>To view supplemental information and all items from the Sydney F. Martin Collection, click<a href="https://stacksbowers.com/sydney-f-martin-collection/"target=’_blank’> here.</a></strong>.From the Sydney F. Martin Collection. Earlier ex Anthony Terranova, April 2012.