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14 Jan 2017

I Usually Don't Like to Toot My Own Horn, But...

Medals | coinsbygary

In this case I'll make an exception for my friends who regularly only post on the ANA's web site and rarely, if ever frequent NGC's Collectors Society site.As many of you know I display many of my collections on NGC's Collectors Society including my Laura Gardin Fraser set that I have written much about over here. Therefore, it is with humble pleasure that I announce that I have won NGC's "Most Creative Custom Set" award for my Laura Gardin Fraser set.I am posting an image featuring the kind words the judges made concerning my set along with links to the announcement and my award winning set. If you have the opportunity, take a little time to peruse some of the really fine sets on display at Collectors Society. There are great collections of coins over there organized in sets, some with excellent write-ups and images. Many of the set owners have included a great deal of educational information with their sets. One of the things I love about this hobby is the free flow of educational information between individual collectors.Watch for the announcement soon in The Numismatist. If NGC remains true to form they will publish their 2016 award winners in a number of numismatic publications. Happy Collecting to all!https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5732/NGC-registry-award-winners/https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=19449Gary

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17 Dec 2016

HELP ! - Can You Identify This Medal

Medals | Ancient Collector

Some 40 years ago I found this medal in a Ten Cent box in a dealer's shop. I couldn't identify it then and I still can't identify it. Hopefully one of you can help.

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11 Dec 2016

With the Help of New Friends and Resources

Medals | coinsbygary

Besides world coins, tokens, and medals based on a particular theme, my primary area of numismatic interest is in United States coins. This past year though I have delved into an area of numismatics that until now was unfamiliar to me. Rather than starting another theme based set, I started a set based on the work of a particular sculptor. I started a collection of coins and medals featuring the artwork of Laura Gardin Fraser. While I was somewhat familiar with the coins attributed to Laura Gardin Fraser, the same cannot be said concerning the many medals she designed. Familiarizing myself with her medals became quite a task because she was much more prolific in designing medals than she was with coins.The first thing I wanted to know is what to collect. All her coins are very well known and readily available. However, I had no clue as to the number and availability of the medals Laura Gardin Fraser designed. Later, I was to discover that she may have designed and sculpted up to one hundred medals.A search of the internet produced a medallic art databank created by Medallic Art Company corporate historian, D. Wayne Johnson. Laura Gardin Fraser’s databank page was the most important internet resource in helping me to identify her medals. This page had practically everything, a comprehensive list of items by date with pictures, auction appearances, and a bibliography which I found invaluable to my research.I also found the ANA archives of The Numismatist and the Newman Numismatic Portal very useful. The archives of The Numismatist contains numerous articles on Laura Gardin Fraser’s work. I even found a couple of the ad pages to be helpful. The Newman Numismatic Portal contains all the medallic art auction catalogs of the Presidential Coin & Antique Company. These catalogs were especially useful because of the lot descriptions and estimated valuations. The valuations helped me to determine what I could expect to pay for the medals in my collection.Along with purchasing new pieces for my collection came new books for my library. These included End of the Trail by Dean Krakel, The US Mint and Coinage by Don Taxay, and Numismatic Art in America by Cornelius Vermeule. Other references included The American Women Medalist, a Critical Survey by Elaine J. Leotti and a January 1970 Coinage Magazine article entitled, Ordeal of Laura Gardin Fraser by Don Taxay. In fact, I think Don Taxay’s article in Coinage Magazine is the most credible narrative I have read on the contest for the Washington Quarter.Next, the purchasing avenues for medals is somewhat different from that of coins. However, other places such as E-Bay are pretty much the same. For me, E-Bay was a familiar place in which to begin my collection. It was also a good source of Laura Gardin Fraser’s most readily available medals. That said, it didn’t take to long for the E-Bay well to dry up. Subsequently, the annual Presidential Coin and Antique auction quickly emerged as a top purchasing outlet for all those difficult to locate medals.In the last Presidential Coin and Antiques auction I passed on a scarce silver Washington medal and ended up winning a silver plated Morgan Horse medal at a price that was towards the bottom of the estimated valuation. What really surprised me about winning this auction is that even before I found out that I had won the auction, or even paid a single red cent, the piece showed up on my doorstep! I’ve never had this happen before especially since this was my first auction with Presidential. All this brings me to the most important and necessary element of my transition into the world of medals, the human element!While looking for information pertaining to the 1947 MacArthur peso and 50-centavo piece in The Numismatist, I ran across a letter to the editor written by a collector of anything Fraser. This person also included their e-mail address in the body of the letter. With a little encouragement from another of my friends I sent a cold contact e-mail inquiry to the writer of that letter. To my amazement I got much more in his reply than what I had asked for or even hoped for.What I have now is a new friend who is very eager to help me in my quest. One of the resources that I have not had the opportunity to examine is the Fraser family papers. However, my new friend had. As a result I found out the specific contents of a nine-point letter Laura Gardin Fraser had sent to the Philippine embassy chronicling her difficulties with the Philippines peso and 50-centavo coins.Later we had an hour long conversation over the phone about Laura Gardin Fraser and he freely answered a number of my questions. He also e-mailed me some of his own writings on the topic and sent a spreadsheet he had compiled of many of Mrs. Fraser’s works. As an extra bonus the spreadsheet contained the latest final hammers for each piece. This was very helpful as a tool to help me gage how much I would have to spend in order to continue this collection.My new friend also watched for buying opportunities on E-Bay and more than once notified me of a piece that his search uncovered and mine missed. My latest two purchases are a direct sale from a friend of my new friend. I purchased the 1912/13 National Institute of Social Sciences medal and the rare 1932 John Endecott Massachusetts Tercentenary medal from this person after a very pleasant half-hour phone conversation and a confirming e-mail. I immediately mailed him a check for the medals and he mailed the medals to me on the next business day. As it turned out, the day my check cleared his bank was the day the medals showed up at my house.This is the way I love to do business and I am impressed with the honesty and integrity of the people I come in contact with in this hobby. It really doesn’t get much better than this. And to all those who have helped me in my numismatic journey a hearty, thank you!Gary

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15 Nov 2016

What are special Government medals?

Medals | DrDarryl

The images in this blog are from the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint from the years 1957 through 1962. The Bureau of the Mint provided a function to manufacture special Government medals (sGm). The other functions of the Bureau of the Mint was to manufacture coinage for commerce and national commemorative medals (NCM). 1957 image - NCM (term historical) and sGm are mentioned1958 image - NCM (term historical) and sGm are mentioned1959 image - NCM (term historical) and sGm are mentioned1960 image - NCM (term historical) and sGm are mentioned1961 image - NCM (term historical) and sGm are mentioned1962 image - A change in terms. Medals of national character (NCM) and special medals for United States Government agencies (sGm).These images provides evidence that the Bureau of the Mint had three functions in the manufacture realm:1. Manufacture coins for commerce (domestic and foreign)2. Manufacture national medals3. Manufacture special Government medals General numismatic information has been readily available for coins of commerce and national medals. Special Government medals are without general numismatic information and this is due to its unacknowledged status by the Bureau of the Mint. Do you know why sGm have an unacknowledged status?sGm are a product of a joint inter-agency effort (acquiring US Government agency and the Bureau of the Mint). The Bureau of the Mint enforces confidentiality of this joint inter-agency effort, hence no releasing of information to the public.

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12 Nov 2016

USS CONSTITUTION

Medals | Mike Burn

Hi! I'm writing this quickly to those who get the Numismatic News. On page one there is a picture of this famous and great ship. What she did for this country is nothing short of phenomenal. However the article is misleading. They say the copper came from the 219 year old ship. That's not true. I ordered it and included was a small booklet. In there it tells you this copper came from a restoration done in the 1970' s' s for a visit from Queen Elizabeth. So it's not original. I called them up and told them this was deception. Nothing else. Just to raise funds. So if you wish to donate funds that's fine. If you still want the medal that's fine it is beautiful. I will never tell anyone what to order or not. But if I could I would send it back on principal. They should of told the truth. I also intend to let MR. Harper know what they did. Please this is just my opinion. And how I feel. I just believe you should know the truth before you order it. That ship helped us like no other. Anything from her I consider valuable. However sell what you state. I would encourage you to buy it if you like it. After all when I saw the picture it kind of sold me. When I received it and read what they did I was upset. The money is going for a good cause. If you like it please order it. But know the truth first.

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21 Oct 2016

COIN THOUGHTS #9 from "SUN"

Medals | "SUN"

I use "Coin Thoughts" for the title of my blogs, even tho this is about a medal, I use the title to cover all aspects of numismatics. I found this medal on the internet and it caught my interest. One thing that caught my eye was the lettering on the medal. It is similar as what was used on the Morgan Dollar, which was first minted the year before this medal. At the bottom of Ulysses Grant's bust is a small incused "M" which stands for George Morgan, the designer of the medal and dollar. The medal is about 25mm made of brass. The inscription reads" Struck and Distributed in The Municipal Parade/ By the Employees of the U. S. Mint/ Phila. Dec. 16,1879. After President Grant left office in 1877, he and his wife took a trip around the world that lasted over 2 years. After visiting China and Japan, the Grants sailed to San Francisco, arriving in September of 1879. They went on to visit Yellowstone National Park (which became the first national park in the United States under the Grant's administration). Grant was a very popular figure in the United States. This medal celebrates his return to Philadelphia Dec. 16, 1879. At this time there was talk of Grant running for another term of President. He was eventually defeated by James A. Garfield at the 1880 Republican Convention.

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08 Oct 2016

Please help me Identify these Tokens/Medals!!!

Medals | Young Numismetals Collector

Hello! I have some tokens/ medals that need identification. Please let me know the country of origin, what it is called, why it was made, the value, and other information. The pieces in question are shown in the video. Thanks for your help!

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08 Oct 2016

Please help me Identify these Tokens/Medals!!!

Medals | Young Numismetals Collector

Please let me know the country of origin, what it's called, why it was made, the value, and other information. The pieces in question are shown in the video. Please help me out.Thanks so much!!!

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06 Sep 2016

The Final Piece in a Long and Distinguished Career

Medals | coinsbygary

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University elected candidates to the hall based on their significant contributions to America. Some of hall’s honorees were people of renown in the discipline of the arts. Elected to the Hall of Fame in its inaugural year (1900), Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) who with other famous paintings is credited with painting the portraits of the first six presidents of the United States. [1][2] Today Gilbert Stuart is remembered either consciously or unconsciously every time a one dollar bill is used in commerce. This is because his incomplete “Athenaeum” portrait of George Washington appears on the face of the one dollar bill. Gilbert Stuart’s name also appears in the annals of numismatic legend. In a story that cannot be substantiated, it is said that his sketch of Philadelphia socialite Ann Willing Bingham was the basis for the obverse of the Draped Bust Dollar. [3][4] A bronze portrait bust of Gilbert Stuart done by Laura Gardin Fraser for the Hall of Fame was unveiled on May 20, 1922. The accompanying 1968 dated medal was completed by Karl Gruppe after the death of Mrs. Fraser. Karl Gruppe finished the obverse model of Gilbert Stuart started by Mrs. Fraser and designed the reverse featuring a young Gilbert Stuart working on his famous “Athenaeum” head of George Washington. [5] In spite of the quality and volume of her life work concluding with the Mary Lyon and Gilbert Stuart medals, Laura Gardin Fraser did not always receive the recognition she deserved. She would always live in the shadow of her husband made famous by the Buffalo Nickel and “The End of the Trail” sculpture. Even in her death, some 13 years after her husband’s death, her most notable epitaph was that she was the widow of James Earle Fraser. [6] Yet the many awards Mrs. Fraser received during her life from among her peers give witness to her as a leading sculptor of her time. In the private confines of their studios things were different for James and Laura. There, they considered each other as equals. Both Frasers gave each other the freedom to express themselves through their art without interference or undue influence from the other. Still the Frasers were very aware of how the public perceived them. Whenever Laura finished a commission, James and Laura had a standing bet as to how long it would take for someone to comment, “Bet Mr. Fraser helped you with this one.” One time Laura in fun snapped back at a wealthy patron, “Just who is this James Earle Fraser I keep hearing about?” [7] Today in 2016, 50 years after the death of Laura Gardin Fraser, I believe that time has righted many of the wrongs done to Mrs. Fraser as evidenced by the 1999 Washington Half-Eagle commemorative. I also think that in correcting those wrongs, history takes nothing away from James Earle Fraser. This then is exactly how I think both Frasers would have wanted it. James and Laura loved each other very much and only wanted the best for each other. They both had a full and wonderful life together doing what they loved to do best. To them it was all about the sculpted art! 1 Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall_of_Fame_for_Great_Americans 2 Gilbert Stuart the Complete Works; http://www.gilbert-stuart.org/ 3 History of the United States Mint and its Coinage by David W. Lange, pg. 38 4 The US Mint and Coinage by Don Taxay, pg. 106 5 The accompanying COA to the Gilbert Stuart medal 6 The Meadowlark Gallery; http://www.meadowlarkgallery.com/FraserLaura.htm 7 The End of the Trail, the Odyssey of a Statue by Dean Krakel; chap. 4

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04 Sep 2016

Coin Thoughts #5 from "SUN"

Medals | "SUN"

Several years ago I visited an art museum that had an exhibited called "Portraits and Peace Medals." The origin of Indian Peace Medals is obscure, but probably had French, Spanish, and British beginnings.

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