Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Leda and the Swan" by Salvador Dali (1974).

"Leda and the Swan"
by Salvador Dali (1974).

It appears that in the early 1970's, Dali had embarked on a collaboration with Philip R. Friedman, President of Silver Creations Ltd.  It was from this collaboration that the Leda and the Swan medallion was born.

The COA indicates that the medallion was limited to 7,500 in 18k gold over bronze; 2,000 in solid sterling silver; and 500 in solid 18k gold.

Most sightings of this medallion show it within a bezel, to be worn as a pendant, with an included pouch and a COA.

Note that the serial number of each medallion is stamped on the reverse side.

I was recently hunting through cyberspace for this medallion when I ran into an intersting item.  It appeared to be the Leda and the Swan medallion, but I noticed that the reverse side did not have a serial number.  Upon discussion with the seller, I discovered that the composition of the medal was identified as pewter by a stamp on the rim.

The seller turned out to be the widow of the aforementioned Philip R. Friedman.  Her opinion is that the medal was likely a test strike, or proof, of the medallion.  Indeed, the pewter version is the same size and has the same design on both sides as the limited edition.

While talking, Ms. Friedman shared with me the story of how her husband came to work with Dali.  It seems that an earlier collaboration on the Lincoln Mint's Easter Christ of 1972 is the genesis.  Here is a picture of the late Mr. Friedman presenting the Easter Christ to Dali.

Back to the pewter medallion.  It may just be a test strike, but definitive information is lacking. 

I have since observed this pewter medallion at auction from a UK vendor who tells me that a relative won it in a raffle about 25 years ago.  It is impossible to authenticate this statement, but the seller includes the medal in a bezel similar to the one the limited edition comes with, and an info document.  Perhaps this pewter version was an unlimited edition promotional item.

The pewter medallion weighs 25.5g, is about 37mm in diameter, and is stamped on the rim "AMI PEWTER ASGL."

But wait, that's not all!

Ms. Friedman was kind enough to offer to me one other item I have not seen before: a Leda and the Swan plate.

This plate is cool.  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea about the origin of this item.  I don't think this plate was ever officially released, and there is no proof in cyberspace that this item exists anywhere else on the planet.

Could it be a one-of-a-kind?

Anyway, the emblem appears to be lacquered brass (best guess), and is very bulky.  It weighs about 416g by itself.  The plate is stamped pewter on the back, and weighs about 500g by itself.  I know the individual weights because the emblem loosened in shipping, so I removed it and properly re-attached it with double-sided tape.  The plate is 23cm, or just over 9" in diameter.

The emblem is in perfect condition, but the plate itself is in rough shape.  It has a number of dents, dings, scratches, and scuffs.  Here are several pictures which hide most of those blemishes.

It is very difficult to estimate the value of rare or one-of-a-kind items.  As for the pewter medallion, I think it has relatively little value.  The silver limited edition Leda medallion/pendant, while relatively rare, appears to be worth only about $50.  This pewter version, even if it is a test strike, is probably worth only about $50 at best, simply because demand appears to be low.

I have a different view of the plate.  I think this plate is quite valuable.  If my suspicion that this is a one-of-a-kind is true, I think this is a very important and valuable piece.  As a sample project that never came to fruition, it could easily be worth $200-$300 on the low end, and about $1,500 on the high end.  On the other hand, if it's just a cheap piece of crap, then it's worth about $40. 

Until more information about these pieces turns up, the jury's out.

I will leave you with a dedicatory picture from Dali to the late Mr. Friedman that Ms. Friedman shared with me.  Let this be a lasting tribute to two great men who, more than 35 years later, live on through their inspiration of creative contributions by the living inhabitants of our race on this planet.

Bravo Friedman!  Bravo Dali!


DaliDe in Florida said...

a vistor brought into the Dali Museum a cool heavy silver/pewter?? Leda and the Swan plate. it had numbers on the backside. All we are allowed to do is give a paper reference for different appraisers.
I always offer them the info on collectdali yahoo groups website. It will be interesting to see if contacts the group.
deb larsen

Unknown said...

Hi. Philip Friedman Was my uncle. My father, Carleton Friedman also assisted with the design.