Armillary sphere

An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky (in the celestial sphere), consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features such as the ecliptic.

One of the most beautiful armillary sphere can be found on the obverse of a token issued by the Wuppertaler Uhren Museum in Germany (watch museum). The sphere contains a celestial globe to show the constellations. The depicted sphere is a work of Andreas Ferchner, as written on the token: "HIMMEL-GLOBUS - ANDREAS FERCHNER - WIEN 18. Jh.", i. e. sky globe - Andreas Ferchner - Vienna 18th century. Legend above is: "Das Uhren · Museum weltbekannt", i. e. the world-famous watches museum. Below: "500000 Gäste seit 1958", reports that there were more than 500000 guests since 1958.

Armillary 1 reverseArmillary 1 obverse

The reverse shows the clock above the entrance of the museum. In the legend we can see the name of the museum and dates 1958 and 1978. The token was issued to celebrate the 20 anniversary "20 JAHRE" of the establishment.

Armillary sphere are usual decorations of astronomical coins and medals, such in the case of this commemorative coin from Jamaica, remembering Tycho Brahe. On the obverse of this silver coin, the Brahe's portrait and an armillary sphere was depicted. Legend is: "TYCHO BRAHE · 1546 - 1601". Below the date of issue 1995.

Armillary 2 reverseArmillary 2 obverse

The reverse shows the achievement of Jamaica, along with the face value of the coin: "TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS". The date is repeated here: 1995.

On the reverse of next medal is an elaborated armillary sphere. Three stages of Bessel's career path are reported on a beautifully designed medal. In legend around above Bessel's name, birth and death years can be seen. Below the three main station of his life, as it has been mentioned above, the names and the coats of arms of the cities Minden, Bremen and Koenigsberg and can be seen.

Bessel 1 reverseBessel 1 obverse

On the obverse Bessel portrait is shown in a half left view, below his autograph.

Using the armillary sphere as a decoration to display somebody's mathematical and scientific work was alwas common. The next token displays the left facing portrait of the French  mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal.

Armillary 3 reverseArmillary 3 obverse

On the reverse of the medal made by the famous medalist Jean Dassier, the armillary sphere can be seen on the lower right. The title of Pascal: "PHILOSOPHE" and his date of death 1662 is also displayed.

The Gregorian calendar reform was remembered in 1982 on its 4th centenary. A heavy bronze medal was issued depicting Pope Gregory XIII on its obverse. Legend above is: "BULLE INTER GRAVISSIMAS" and "GREGOIRE XIII". Legend below is: "CALENDRIER GREGORIAN 1582". The medalist was Martha Schwenck, whose signature can be discovered near the left rim of the medal.

Calendar 2 reverseCalendar 2 obverse

The reverse shows a beautiful armillary sphere, - similar to the one on the first token - the moon, the sun and the stars.

Armillary 4 obverse

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. He is often displayed on coins and medals with an armillary sphere beside him. A beautiful example of this is the uniface huge bronze medal on the left. Here while Copernicus is working on his theory of the Sun centered solar system, and old, Earth centered armillary sphere is visible at the background, symbolizing the old world. On the right side of this extraordinary medal the monogram of the medalist NF is visible. It is suspected that this medal was cast by Ferenc Nagy (1953-), but no evidence has been found yet.

A very detailed armillary sphere can be found on a commemorative medal that was issued in 1973 - the 500 years anniversary of birth of Copernicus in 1473 - by the Postmasters of America. In the background Copernicus' vision of the universe from his work Dē revolutionibus orbium coelestium is placed. In his drawing the Sun is the center of the Universe, and Earth is revolving around it. Only the Moon moves around the Earth.

Armillary 5 reverseArmillary 5 obverse

On the reverse of the medal the badge of the Postmasters of America is placed. It reports that this medal is:"COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE NO. 40" "ISSUED APRIL 23,1973 WASHINGTON, DC".

The medal was issued by The Franklin Mint, a private mint that creates all sorts of spiffy collectibles. Some of their artwork is magnificent, and their execution is top-rung. For a decade starting in 1971, the Franklin mint produced 'Postmasters of America' medallic first day covers, often housed in beautiful binders with lots of printed material giving the history of each piece.