Duby, Peter Ancher Tobiesen

, an eminent antiquary and medailist, was born in 1721 at Housseau, in the canton of Soleure in Switzerland, whence, at nine years of age, he was sent to Denmark, and entered soon after as a student in the university of Copenhagen. Having completed his stud’es in that seminary, he repaired to France, which he considered from that moment as his adopted country, and entered into a Swiss regiment, in the service of it. In his military capacity his conduct was such as to merit and receive the esteem of his superior officers. At the battle of Fontenoy, he received two musket-shots, but still remained in his station, and could not be prevailed upon to leave the field of action, until his leg and part of his thigh had been carried off by a cannon-ball. Being thus rendered unfit for service, he was obliged to take refuge in the hospital for invalids, where he first resolved to extend his knowledge by cultivating foreign languages. After an obstinate pursuit of his object, which occupied all his thoughts, and occasioned several journies among the northern nations, expressly for the purpose of acquiring proficiency in this favourite study, he arrived at such a degree of eminence, as justly to merit the office of interpreter to the royal library for the English, Dutch, German, and Flemish, as well as the Swedish, Danish, and Russian languages. He fulfilled the duties of this important station with so much probity and exactness, that the council of the admiralty appointed him to occupy the same functions in the maritime department; and, during the thirtytwo years in which he filled this office, he gave repeated proofs of his integrity and disinterestedness. | Possessing a mind equally unclouded by ambition and the love of pleasure, he employed all his leisure hours in the study of coins and medals, in which he acquired great proficiency. He began with considering and collecting such as had been struck during sieges, and in times of necessity; a pursuit analogous to his taste, and to the profession to which his early life had been devoted. Having completed this task, he undertook to form and to publish a more complete collection of the different species of money struck by the barons of France, than any that had hitherto appeared. In this, which may be called a national work, not content with consulting all the authors who had treated on the subject, he also searched a number of different cabinets, on purpose to verify the original pieces, and to satisfy himself as to their existence and authenticity. But while occupied in drawing up an account of the coins of the first, second, and third race of the kings of France, he was snatched from his favourite avocations by the hand of death, Nov. 19, 1782, when his family were left to mourn the loss of a good husband and father, society to regret an estimable and a modest man, and the sciences to lament an able and an indefatigable investigator. In 1790, the works he had finished were published in a splendid form in 3 vols, imperial 4to, with many plates, at Paris, under the title, “The Works of the late Mr. P. A. T. Duby, &c.” containing in vol. I. a general collection of pieces struck during sieges, or in times of necessity; and in vols. II. and III. a treatise on the money coined by the peers, bishops, abbots, &c. of France. The coins in these volumes are admirably executed, and the whole is a strong proof of the author’s skill in antiquities and general knowledge of every branch connected with his subject. 1


Works as above.—Anal. Rev. vol. XI.