The Metropolitan has not been known historically for collecting coins, but the Peluso family's gift of British coinage is a worthy addition for its revelations of high artistry. Benedetto Pistrucci began his career in Rome, carving cameos with amazing dexterity. Soon after his arrival in London in 1815, he became chief engraver at the Royal Mint. The coins of George III (r. 1760-1820) are among the most elegant ever created. (The obverse of one specimen and the reverse of another are illustrated.) The gold sovereign's obverse succinctly invests the fat, ancient monarch with authority, while the reverse, with Saint George and the Dragon encircled in the Order of the Garter, is so successful in its clarity that it has been repeated (minus the Order) on the specie of most succeeding British monarchs.
Benedetto Pistrucci (Italian, 1783–1855, active England)