Pellerin, Joseph

, famous for his collection of medals, and his publications respecting them, was for a long time commissary-general, and chief-clerk of the French marine. He united the knowledge of a man of letters with all the activity of a man of business; but having, after forty years of service, obtained leave to retire, he thenceforth gave himself up entirely to the study of antiquities, and wrote upon the subject after he was blind with age, by means of an invention described in the last volume of his works. His cabinet of medals, which was purchased by the king in 1776, was the richest ever formed by a private individual; and learned men of all countries highly respected the collector of so valuable a treasure. He died in August 1782, at the surprising age of ninety -nine. He enriched the science of medals by a valuable set of works on that subject, forming altogether, with the supplements, ten volumes in quarto, with many plates; these were published at different times from 1762 to 1773, and contain judicious and learned explanations of the plates, which are executed with great exactness and beauty. It is to Pellerin that we are indebted for the first plates of medals perfectly representing the originals in every flaw and irregularity of edge and impression, which is a most capital improvement, and makes the view of such plates almost equal to the coins themselves. 2


Dict. Hit. Pinkerton’s Essay on Medals, preface.