Picture Perfect

Published December 4, 2023 | 1 min read

By Sydney Stewart

The 54th medal created for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame series honors Solomon Nunes Carvalho. Born in 1815 in Charleston, South Carolina, Carvalho was a photographer, artist, inventor, and explorer. When he was 25 years old, he painted Child with Rabbit that showed a chubby, angelic boy surrounded by a mother rabbit and her bunnies. The work appeared as a vignette on paper money issued by numerous banks in the United States and Canada.

In 1853 he accompanied Colonel John C. Frémont on his expedition to the 38th parallel to plan a continental railroad. Throughout the treacherous trip, Carvalho captured daguerreotype portraits of expedition members, Native Americans they met, and the landscapes they saw. However, a fire destroyed all but one of the nearly 300 daguerreotypes. Later in life, after cataracts impaired his vision, he became an inventor and received two patents for steam superheating in 1877 and 1878.

Carvalho’s painting Child with Rabbit appears in the lower left corner of this Planters and Mechanics Bank of Dalton one-dollar note. (Photo: Jewish-American Hall of Fame)

The medal features a portrait of Carvalho, along with his name and the years of his birth and death. Mintages are limited to 100 bronze, 75 silver-plated, and 35 gold-plated specimens, and the pieces are available for $35, $100, and $145, respectively. To place an order, call 818-225-1348. Readers of The Numismatist will receive a 20-percent discount.