Boys Town Collectibles
Boys Town Collectibles
Pictured is a pewter "Art Bar" from the Franklin Mint circa 1976. Its from a bicentennial set and depicts the Hessian defeat at Trenton. Art Bars were a big deal in the 70's and early 80's, especially those struck in silver. In a numismatic world of round things, something rectangular appealed to many collectors. Typical bars were one ounce silver and depicted every occasion imaginable. They made great gifts at Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. Private mints like Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint did them in pewter as well, and stretched them out into series where you could purchase the latest one every month. The down side was most of the non-silver ones had no resale value on the secondary market. As for the silver stuff, they quickly became obsolete once the U.S. Mint starting striking Silver Eagles. If you look through issues of The Numismatist from that era, you will see many dealers who sold lots of silver bars. They even had price guides and included stuff like rarity, but most were melted down in 1979-1980 when silver went up to $50. I really don't see any of these any more.
Collectors aren't aware of the significance of Gomez-C1-03 from the President of the United States special Government medal (POTUS sGm) series.
One other purchase from Inauguration Day in San Jose was a token (I call it a souvenir medal) from the 1894 California Midwinter fair that I have been seeking over the past five or six years. It is attributed to the 1893 Chicago Exposition in the transportation catalogs (Good for One Ride) with the asterisk acknowledgement that it might be San Francisco. San Francisco was considered a maybe because there was no record of camel rides or the Dahomey Village at the Midwinter Exposition. In fact, two gentlemen formed a partnership to bring a number of the Midway attractions to California including the Streets of Cairo with the camel rides and the Dahomey Village.We discussed the evidence or lack thereof among members of the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society and I was challenged for my proof. Here it is:1) The token is signed by L.H. Moise, S.F. Moise was the manager of Klinkner's business which included striking tokens and medals (although unsigned medals were likely struck elsewhere). Klinkner died in early 1893 and Moise took most of the staff and opened his own business (in the same building) when Klinkner's wife refused to sell him the business on his terms. He later bought her out in late 1897. I am comfortable in saying that a Chicago Midway company would not have come to California to have a medal struck for their business in Chicago shortly before the fair closed. Moise did strike another souvenir medal for the Midwinter Fair copying Charles Barber's official medal for the Midwinter Fair.2) Why no mention of the Dahomey Village at the Midwinter Fair? The thought that the Dahomey Village did not move to San Francisco was simply a problem in looking one place for evidence and missing other sources. The San Francisco Chronicle had a multi-page description of everything at the fair on opening day and the article did not mention the village. My sources are the official guidebook to the fair and the official final report of the fair which includes many images not generally available elsewhere. I have included the entry for the Dahomey Village from the guidebook as an image here. It cost 25Â¢ to visit the village.3) Why no mention of camel rides? I have included an illustration of a happy camel from the guidebook. There are several pictures of the camels in the final report as well. True, the camels are just sitting or standing so how do I know they were used for rides? Two stories in the San Francisco Chronicle in March of 1894 talk about children looking forward to or enjoying the camel rides. It is an easy story to miss.So is this a transportation token? It is the same size as Moise's version of the official medal and it shares a design "style" that was used on later Moise souvenirs for California events. At 34mm it is very large to have been used as a transportation token. I believe it is what it says on the reverse, a souvenir of one's visit to the fair. Maybe its purchase entitled one to a camel ride, but I doubt one would want to surrender a cool souvenir in exchange for a ride. It would have been an expensive option for ticket sales and cumbersome to handle when paper tickets would be more efficient and easier to use. Another example of the great day I had at the San Jose Coin Show.
I collect satirical political medals. Since I am a Democrat, most of the satirical pieces I collect poke fun at Democrats. That makes them more interesting to me. On Inauguration Day, I attended the San Jose Coin Show and bought a satirical piece. I didn't know what it satirized, who made it, or anything about it. But, I thought it had to have a good story. Little did I suspect its ties to Trump's inauguration transpiring on the other side of the country. Serendipity Strikes!After finding several possible stories that might explain the medal, I did find an old auction reference (1878) to the medal. That meant the 1776 PHILA. 1876 probably confirmed it was struck in 1876. That led me to Ron Abler's Cabinet of 1876 Centennial Medals. There I found the medal attributing it to a commission by Issac F. Woods for a medal struck by George F. Lovett. But what did it have to do with the Centennial Exposition? Nothing in my opinion.Please note that the story that follows is more complex and convoluted, but you have to go to the history books to get the full story. It is much, too much for a simple blog.The presidential election of 1876 pitted Democrat Samuel Tilden against Republican Rutherford Hayes. Tilden won the popular vote (50.9%) and 184 electoral votes to 165 for Hayes. Three Southern states; Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina; had their 19 electoral votes in dispute as both parties declared victory and one elector in Oregon was in question as to whether he was a legal elector. To make a long story short, a political commission (8 Republicans and 7 Democrats voting along party lines) agreed to award the 20 electoral votes to Hayes in exchange for his promise to withdraw federal troops from the Southern states and bring an end to Reconstruction.Charles Dana, a Democrat, owned the New York Sun. His paper often defied conventional norms and published news that other papers would not publish (and that is a longer story in itself). The New York Sun condemned the decision calling Hayes an illegitimate president. Others labelled Hayes "Rutherfraud," "His Fraudulency," and "His Accidency." Tilden and the sitting Republican President Grant accepted the results, but Dana held his own pulpit via the Sun.Issac Woods supported Hayes and commissioned this medal and another satirizing Tilden and had them struck by George Lovett (who had created Tilden political campaign tokens). Thus, Dana became the editor of the New York "Smut." I suspect Smut also referred back to Dana publishing the details of a lawsuit charging the popular preacher Henry Beecher with adultery when other papers refused to publish the details or even that he was charged with adultery because it was unseemly to write about such things.And the reverse? The Chinese stink-pot of American journalism? Chinese stink-pots were porcelain sulfur pots used in battle to drive the enemy from the field with its foul smell. Charles Dana was an avid art collector specializing in Chinese porcelain.And the 1776 Phila. 1876? I suspect that had more to do with the Republican argument that the Constitution says the president is selected by the Electoral College and not a popular vote of the American people. Nevertheless, the propriety and legitimacy of the elections and process following the election remained a point of contention in American politics. On the anniversary of the Constitution, the candidate winning a majority of the votes did not win the election. And, it was argued that was the intent and beauty of the Constitution.I did not know the story of my new medal when I purchased it on Inauguration Day, but it is now even more special as an addition to my collection. There is little new in American politics.
Coin, medal, and token collecting runs in my family. Last year my wife made a display for a coin show. It was simple with only 2 display cases.She added a QR Code to her display (first image - bottom left). One has to simply use a phone app to focus on the QR code and the related website appears on the phone. In her case it was a Princess Kaiulani video that I made for her.It was innovative for her to add the use of modern technology to her exhibit.I'm not sure if this is acceptable at the National Shows as the phone may be dropped onto the display case. But its nice to get more information about the items in the displayI added an image of the QR Code (it still works). Try it...
More research clarification for my in-progress book. Image is a partial article clipping I just had to share.Must have been a real pleasure to receive one from President Eisenhower himself !!The Hawaii version video.I included images of the "Provenance Memo" and "Hawaii Payment Voucher". Key documents to organize and form the POTUS sGm series.https://youtu.be/lPegmQ-jox8
I'm writing a 3rd book relating to "POTUS sGm" (aka Eisenhower Appreciation medals, Kennedy Appreciation medal). I found it amusing as I looked at the high listed price on two Amazon locations (prices shown are in US dollars) for the first book on these "newly discovered" US Mint medals. The first two books on these medals can be seen at http://www.potus-sgm.com/
Major General Ulysses S. Grant
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