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29 Jun 2016

Olympic Medals

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

I came across this article on MSN today. It is a slide show on the production process for this years Olympic Medals. The 2 most surprising things to me are the amount of silver in them and that they are cast. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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23 Jun 2016

The Centennial Medal of the American Numismatic Society

Medals | coinsbygary

The American Numismatic Society was founded in New York on April 6, 1858, to advance numismatic knowledge. In 1958 the Society had reached its 100th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion Laura Gardin Fraser, winner in 1926 of the Society’s J. Sanford Saltus Award for distinguished accomplishment in medallic art, was commissioned to design the medal. A formal celebration of the Society’s Centennial was held on April 12, 1958, at the auditorium of the Society’s neighbor, the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The accompanying medal represents a continuance of the celebration and will be named the “Centennial Medal of The American Numismatic Society.” [1]The “Centennial Medal of the American Numismatic Society” was made to order through the American Numismatic Society. This 89mm bronze medal struck by the Medallic Art Company had an original purchase price of $3.50. [2] I am not sure how it came about that Mrs. Fraser got the commission to design the “Centennial Medal of The American Numismatic Society.” Nor am I in any way suggesting that there was any impropriety involved. However, I am discovering that many of America’s most prominent sculptors of the early twentieth-century were part of a small and tight knit community centered in New York at the Art Students League. Consequently, the lion’s share of commissions came to the members of this community. As an aside, I like to think of this community as the legacy of Augustus Saint-Gaudens since many of the accomplished sculptors of the early twentieth- century trained and apprenticed there under his instruction.One of those Art Students League sculptors was Anna Hyatt Huntington. Laura Gardin Fraser and Anna Hyatt Huntington were not only associates of one another, but friends. In 1923 Anna Hyatt married philanthropist, Archer Huntington. Archer Huntington was the president of the American Numismatic Society between 1905 and 1910, after which he was the Society’s honorary president and council-member until his death in 1955. [3] Due to Anna’s health, the Huntington’s bought a 9,100 acre tract of land just south of Murrell’s Inlet, SC originally intending for it to be their winter home. Born of an artistic and natural vision, the Huntington’s opened a sculpture and botanical garden on their property in 1932 that they named BrookGreen Gardens. BrookGreen Gardens was built in part as place for Anna and other sculptors to display their works of art. Today BrookGreen Gardens is a registered national historic place with 1445 works of American sculpture. [4]One of the 1445 sculptures in BrookGreen Gardens is an enormous granite sculpture of Pegasus and a rider in the clouds completed by Laura Gardin Fraser in 1954. The basis for the granite sculpture was Mrs. Fraser’s 1927 sculpture entitled “Air”. This much smaller sculpture features Pegasus being ridden by Apollo which is symbolic of man’s spirit and aspirations. [5] Therefore, I think it was Pegasus that brought this around full circle resulting with the commission for the medal going to Laura Gardin Fraser. Pegasus was a favorite subject of Mrs. Fraser’s and she has the following to say about the design features of the “Centennial Medal of The American Numismatic Society”: “The Science of Numismatics engages the imagination of the artist who creates a design in sculptured form, and the artisan who reproduces that model in permanent metal. “When Nature petrified the first forms of animal and plant life, Nature made the first dies. The obverse of the American Numismatic Society Centennial Medal shows the potential archeologist, who, having broken the stone asunder, discovers a petrified animal form in one half and in the other a perfect impression of it, or the die.

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21 Jun 2016

The Official Bicentennial Medal of George Washington's Birth

Medals | coinsbygary

Among the greatest of accolades an artist can receive is if a group of his or hers peers recognizes them for their artistry. This honor was effectively bestowed on Laura Gardin Fraser when a special committee of sculptors selected her design for the official 1932 medal of the "United States Commission for the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington." That committee made up of a virtual who's who in American sculpture consisted of Daniel Chester French, Herbert Adams, Lorado Taft, and A. A. Weinman. With the committee's selection, the National Commission of Fine Arts unanimously approved Mrs. Fraser's design to be struck by the United States Mint under the supervision of Mint Director Robert J. Grant. [1]On page 4 in the January 1934 issue of "The Numismatist" is the following description of the medal's design features. "Obverse, bust of Washington in military uniform in center. Above, "Washington," Under bust, in small letters, "Laura Gardin Fraser, Sculptor." Below in a straight line, "1782, 1932" separated by the Washington coat-of-arms. Reverse, figure of Liberty holding a torch in her uplifted right hand and a sheathed sword in her left hand. Above, to the left of the figure an eagle with outspread wings, and above, 13 stars grouped in two lines. Straight across lower half of medal in two lines separated by the figure, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land." The reverse also shows that the eagle is perched atop a fasces. The Washington Bicentennial of Birth medal struck in platinum, silver, and bronze is 75.5mm in diameter. An exact duplicate of the bronze medal but only 58mm in diameter was struck by the US Mint for sale to collectors. The medal in my collection is the 75.5mm bronze variety. The 75.5mm bronze medal was to be "used by the United States Commission for the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington as a medal of award in connection with national essay, oratorical and declamatory contests sponsored by the commission." [2]The platinum medal is one of a kind and the first ever struck in platinum by the United States Mint. Struck from the master dies, this medal weighs in at a full pound. In a ceremony on the south lawn of the White House on December 1, 1932, the platinum medal was presented to President Herbert Hoover, Chairman of United States Commission for the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington. Laura Gardin Fraser was present at the Philadelphia Mint on February 4, 1932 for the striking of the platinum medal and had this to say as expressed by Charles Engelhard. "After scrutinizing the medal as it came from the press in the Medal Room of the Philadelphia Mint, Mrs. Fraser expressed her complete satisfaction with its artistic success. She pointed out that the use of platinum retained without impairment all the finest details of the sculptor's art in plaster, retaining the design without need of oxidation or other artificial treatment in order to successfully carry out the work." [3]Mrs. Fraser was very good at keeping a diary. She wrote not only of James and her's work, but also of their social life. In November of 1930 Mrs. Fraser wrote about beginning her work on the Washington Medal. In December of 1930, she wrote of completing the Washington medal for the competition. Concurrently, she wrote about celebrating James 54th birthday in November with a party at Tide Hill Tavern, near Westport, Connecticut and moving to their winter home in New York City the next day. In December Mrs. Fraser writes, "A Merry time! A beautiful, crystal clear, cold, wonderful Christmas!" [4] 1 The Numismatist, October 1931, pg. 738 2 The Numismatist, January 1934, pg. 43 The Numismatist, January 1961, pg. 18-204 End of the Trail the Odyssey of a Statue by Dean Krakel, pg. 44-45

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10 Jun 2016

Henry Clay Campaign Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

This is a campaign medal for his last unsuccessful bid. The obverse features a portrait of Clay with the date below. The reverse has a representation of industry and sailing. This medal is graded NGC MS 62. This piece comes from the famous Dr. James McClure Collection.

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30 May 2016

The 1957 Oklahoma Semicentennial Exposition Medal

Medals | coinsbygary

Thematic coins and medals based on western subjects were a favorite of both Frasers. James Earle Fraser was born in Winona, Minnesota on November 4, 1876. In 1880 his family moved to Mitchell in the Dakota Territory. It was here in the vast openness of the American frontier that James love of the West grew. In the case of Laura Gardin Fraser, I believe it was her love of American history, the allure and excitement of the American frontier, and her love of horses that inspired her rendition of the “Oklahoma Run” on the 1957 Oklahoma Semicentennial Medal.[1]The motivation for James and Laura’s love of the West impacted their interpretation of it. In an interview with Mrs. Fraser, Dean Krakel, the author of “End of the Trail the Odyssey of a Statue” writes in his book; “There is a mood not only to our lives but to our studio and to everything we have ever done. I saw the frontier in a different light from Jimmy. I saw it with all its glamour, excitement, and motion and so created my Oklahoma Run. Jimmy saw the spiritual mood, the tragedy and emotional undercurrents of the frontier and so created his End of the Trail.” Late in his life, James Earle Fraser received a commission from the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds to sculpt a relief panel of the 1889 Oklahoma Run. With his health failing and near death James asked Laura to finish the panel which at the time was only in the preliminary stages of design. Based on James sketches, Laura finished the 4 x 20 foot panel in 1955, two years after his death. The relief panel features more than 250 figures composed primarily of horses and riders. Unfortunately, due to several disagreements it was not delivered until after Laura’s death in 1966 and a decade after the 1957 Oklahoma semicentennial celebration. The “Run of 1889” relief panel that is a model for the obverse of the Oklahoma Semicentennial Medal currently resides at Oklahoma City’s Bicentennial Plaza.[2][3]Mrs. Fraser brilliantly captures a snapshot of all the chaos, excitement, and fast movement of the Oklahoma Run featured on the obverse of the Oklahoma Semicentennial medal. Up for grabs on April 22,1889 was 2 million acres of land and 50,000 people simultaneously vying for it. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, Mrs. Fraser captures all the glamour, excitement, and motion of the American frontier on the obverse of this medal.[4] The highest relief devices on the obverse of this medal are the largest and most detailed images. The horses have their muscles flexed in full gallop and give an impression of fast motion. As the relief lowers so does the size and detail of the images until the images forming the lowest relief are very small and numerous. This gives the medal a three dimensional look to the action portrayed on the obverse. At the highest relief is a cloud of dust which frames the devices. A few wagons, one just behind the central horse and rider and a covered wagon towards the back adds diversity to the devices.The following is a description of the reverse as given by the editor of The Numismatist, Elston G. Bradfield in the June 1958 issue of The Numismatist; “Reverse: Around, at top, OKLAHOMA SEMI-CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION, at bottom, OKLAHOMA CITY; in center, two dramatic figures facing left, one representing energy and progress and the other imagination and vision; woven into the design are symbols of each activity that is derived from the earth, the air, fire and water. Harvesting is suggested by the scythe, mining by the pick, electricity by the wheels, animal husbandry by the cow and sheep, and power by the waterfall, oil wells and atomic symbol. The figure of Vision reflects the reverence that comes to him from on High. The symbol of the arrow piercing the symbol of atomic energy was the theme of the Oklahoma Semicentennial Exposition, "Arrows to Atoms" in 50 years. To the left of the central figures is 1907 and to right, 1957. In exergue, ~ PROGRESS ~ VISION~.” Certainly, Laura Gardin Fraser employed numerous and appropriate symbols to tell the story of Oklahoma on the reverse of this medal.This medal is struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company and is 76mm in diameter. Distribution was by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $7.50 each.[5]1 “End of the Trail the Odyssey of a Statue” by Dean Krakel; Chapters 2 & 4.2 The Numismatist, July 2013, “Canine & Equine the Art of Laura Gardin Fraser” , pg. 36-37.3 “End of the Trail the Odyssey of a Statue” by Dean Krakel; Chapter 4.4 Wikipedia, “Land Rush of 1889”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Rush_of_1889.5 The Numismatist, June 1958, page 664

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28 May 2016

The Society of Medalists First Issue

Medals | coinsbygary

Before Laura Gardin Fraser married James Earle Fraser on Thanksgiving Day of 1913 she was an admiring student under his tutelage at the Art Students League in New York City. After three years as a student she joined him as an instructor at the school in 1910. It is here that she honed her skills as a sculptor, receiving several awards for her work.[1]Perhaps on account of James teaching Laura learned that to be successful as a medallic artist she needed to simplify the design, employ appropriate symbols, use care in spacing all the elements, and execute the design with style. Accordingly, I believe Mrs. Fraser meets or exceeds each of the aforementioned objectives with her 1930 Hunter’s Medal. This medal also has the distinction of being the inaugural issue of the Society of Medalists.[2] The Hunter’s Medal is struck in bronze and is 72mm in diameter. It has a mintage of 3,235 and a reported 125 re-strikes with the same pair of dies struck in silver and issued in the 1970’s.[3]The following is quoted by medalist and sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser concerning the Hunter’s Medal. “There are many persons who desire to collect medals but are unable to do so because the medal is used in most instances as a specific award. The scope of the subject matter which bears no relation to a particular person or occasion embraces many forms of expression and the sculptor has a large field of choice. In this case, I felt that a sporting subject would be a departure from what one has been accustomed to seeing in medallic art. Therefore, I chose the hunter with his dog because it presented the opportunity of telling a story embodying a human and animal element. It has been studied as to correctness of detail so that it should have an appeal to those who are interested in out-of-door life. The ruffled grouse forms the reverse. It may be considered as a national game bird and is distinct in character and very decorative. It is hoped that there is sufficient merit in the rendering of this work to appease the collector whose interest is in the art of the medal.” The Circle of Friends of the Medallion (1909-1915) laid the groundwork for the formation of the Society of Medalists under the auspices of the American Federation of the Arts in 1930. The Society of medalists provided a forum for prominent sculptors to exhibit their medallic art. The resulting medals were then made available to the collecting public. From 1930-1995 the Society of Medalists issued a total of 129 medals at a rate of two per year. In addition to the regular issue medals there were also five special issue medals. All the SOM medals were struck by the Medallic Art Company. [4][5][6]The Medallic Art Company then headquartered in New York City was founded in 1903 by two Frenchmen, Henri and Felix Weil. Today, based in Dayton, Nevada, the Medallic Art Company is America’s oldest and largest private mint. The medallic Art Company specializes in making academic awards, maces, and medallions. Among their most notable awards is the Pulitzer Prize, the Peabody Award, the Newbery medal, and the Caldecott medal. The Medallic Art Company has also struck the inaugural medals of eleven presidents.[7][8] 1 The Meadowlark Gallery; http://www.meadowlarkgallery.com/FraserLaura.htm2 The Medal Maker; http://www.medallic.com/about/medal_maker.php3 medallicartcollector.com4 Wikipedia “Society of Medalists”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Medalists5 Wikipedia “Circle of Friends of the Medallion”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Circle_of_Friends_of_the_Medallion6 PCGS “Enduring Society of Medalists First Issue Continues to Attract Collectors” by Fred Reed - September 9, 19997 Wikipedia “Medallic Art Company”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medallic_Art_Company 8 The Medallic Art Company; http://www.medallic.com/

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30 Jan 2016

How To Make A Medal

Medals | Mike Burn

I'm writing this blog to let all the young collector's and those who don't know,you can design and make a medal! I was lucky enough to have this task bestrode on me. I belong to a group which was started in europe and spread to the U.S.. We were meeting one day when the topic of our 175 the anniversary in the U.S. was quickly arriving. I was volunteered to design and make a medal commeorating this event.

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22 Jan 2016

King Edward VIII pattern Medals / Coins/ Tokens

Medals | Morganthebrave

King Edward VIII coinage is very rare.This king fell in love with an American women and gave up his Kingship in order to be with the women he loved. For many this was perhaps an act of betrayal to the country but, his act may be seen as an inspiration by many to be a noble and just cause in pursuit of happiness. As with all things, obtaining any known mintage coinage of Edward VIII has now became most sought after. I started becoming interested a few years back in collecting some 'pattern' coinage that would probably be described as modern medals. These medals (often referred to as fantasy coinage) was first minted by a London coin Dealer, Geoffrey Hearn. A close friend of his, Richard Lobel then purchased the dies from him and commenced making a redesigned series that included sovereigns and crowns in different metals. Several other dealers then also obtained a few of these dies (now worn down) , touched the dies up and minted additional medals / fantasy coins. Although these fantasy pattern coins are modern issues re ranging from 1954 to say 2000, they tend to hold a fair market value, especially the coins minted by Hearn and Pobjoy mint. My book on South Africa Numismatic Pocket Guide (pic attached) lists only the South Africa Edward VIII coinage but Giordano's book (pic attached) covers the majority of issues. You can also view my coin collection on Edward VIII pattern collection on the NGC website at: https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=13429In relative to numismatists, further information on these coins was part of the Patina collection action in 2001. Other than that, not much is really known on exact mintage figures etc. In terms of collecting I welcome other ANA members to list any Edward VIII memorabilia or coins, tokens etc of Edward VIII to share on the blog and provide comments for discussion.

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11 Dec 2015

I Finally Found What I was Looking For

Medals | coinsbygary

A few years ago I bought a three medal set of ANA convention medals enclosed in a plexiglass holder. The 1969 medals struck in bronze and silver commemorate the 78th annual convention of the ANA held in Philadelphia, Pa.

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