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Mokie's Blog

03 Sep 2020

Art Nouveau Artist: Felix Rasumny

Medals | Mokie

For most of my collecting life I had a certain level of silly disdain for medals. I thought they were "nice" but not what a real collector would want in their collection. I know, I know, it is simply wrong, and I have come around completely on the issue. IMHO, Medals are generally more attractive than coins because they do not have to adhere to the strict rules of stackability, requirements for mandated elements, and other government requirements. This medal featuring a beautiful engraving of Marianne by Felix Rasumny was awarded to Monsieur J. Demolliens in 1958 by the French National Federation of Food Industry Unions. I did an internet search for J. Demolliens but was unable to find any information. I feel sad that his medal has ended up in my collection, I hope M. Demolliens had a long and fruitful life.

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06 Aug 2020

A Love Story

Medals | Mokie

It is often said that immigrants have the deepest love for their place of immigration because they have seen the alternative and they more fully embrace the wonderfulness of their new home. Many of you who have read my blogs over the last couple of years have probably picked up on my love of Pittsburgh PA. I was not born there; I have only spent about 1/3 of my life there but it is home and it is someplace I love with a fierceness that even surprises me at times.

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01 Aug 2020

A Tale of Acadia

Medals | Mokie

This spring and summer have been filled with endless disappointment for those of us in the Numismatic community. Major shows have been cancelled and even our local coin clubs have shut down for extended periods. I just received something in the mail that has put a smile on my old collector mug. It is the 2020 Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) convention medal. Even though the annual RCNA show was also cancelled, just like our own ANA, they chose to go ahead and release their medal.

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16 Jul 2020

A Tale of Two Medals

Medals | Mokie

Most of us on this site have a local club that also keeps us busy. Even though these virtual sites are fun and interesting, there is nothing that beats direct interaction with fellow collectors. My home club is the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society (WPNS). We are a small but mighty group that meets monthly at the Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church with a visit to the Heinz History Center during the June meeting (of a normal year) and a wonderful dinner during the November meeting. Because of Covid 19, we were unable to meet in April, May, or June, but we finally got together earlier this July. Social distancing was practiced and masks were distributed to those that had not brought one.

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29 May 2020

My Birthplace Celebrates

Medals | Mokie

As some of you are aware, I was born in Japan. But more specifically, I was born on the Japanese Island of Okinawa. For those of you who are World War II history buffs, Okinawa was the location of one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater. The battle to occupy Okinawa was also the last major battle of World War II. Okinawa is in the East China Sea about 500 miles from the southernmost main Japanese Island of Kyushu. Given that short distance, it is obvious why the U.S. fought so hard to occupy the island. Incidentally, the Island was formally returned to Japan in 1972.

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12 Nov 2019

A Very Controversial Choice

Medals | Mokie

2017 was a momentous year in the history of the United States Mint and once certainly deserving of special products. One of the popular items was the 2017-S Enhanced Uncirculated Mint Set. These enhanced finish coins were not double struck, like a proof, but were struck on carefully handled planchets that have a soft matte finish, very pleasing to the eye. But controversy arose with a special medal produced for the 225th Anniversary. The medal was made in Gold with 1/10 and 1 Ounce versions from the West Point Mint. The Mint also produced 5 different 1 ounce silver medals. These five medals were a standard Proof from Philadelphia, a standard Proof from San Fransisco, a reverse Proof from Philadelphia, an Uncirculated from Denver, and an Enhanced Uncirculated from West Point. The last 4 of these were issued together as a set. That's why we have both a Philadelphia and a San Fransisco Proof. The Obverse of each medal depicted an allegorical Liberty and the reverse depicted an Eagle in flight, both designs having a modern flair.Sounds good so far, a nice assortment of items for the 225th Anniversary but the controversy arose due to the choice of allegorical Liberty for the Gold and Silver issues. Instead of using a European featured liberty (even on our Liberty Heads with Indian War Bonnets), the Mint chose a very modern looking and very African-American looking Liberty. Personally, I found her very attractive and i bought all the Silver issues and one extra in a slab. But reading message boards around the time of issuance, I could clearly see a very strong collector backlash against the Mint's choice for their Liberty. Some people said she looked just like Michelle Obama (and they were not pleased) some just said it was ugly without really explaining their reasoning although the subtext was often barely concealed. Due to the Mints controversial choice of Liberty, I suspect sales may have suffered but I am very happy with my purchase and I hope the Mint is thinking outside the box for our upcoming 250th Anniversary. The beautiful obverse was designed by Justin Kunz with the Mints Sculptor/Engraver Phebe Hemphill bringing it to life. The exquisite reverse with its soaring Eagle was designed by Chris Costello with Sculptor/Engraver Michael Gaudioso.

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17 Feb 2019

Bicentennial PNCs

Medals | Mokie

Starting in 1972, and annually thereafter, until 1976, the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission marketed PNCs through the US mint that included a bronze mint medal and a set of four different stamps postmarked in the city where they were first issued.

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17 Feb 2019

Two Hobbies in One

Medals | Mokie

One of the best ways to combine a love of Numismatics and Philately is to collect PNCs. Philatelic Numismatic Covers are often produced for special events where the stamp and the coin or medal have some relation to each other. The envelope that houses the two items is also has some artwork related to the overall subject. They are extremely attractive, easily displayed, and are often quite inexpensive. In fact, they can often be found in the case at your local coin dealer or at shows of every level. Ms. Doris Walker has written a very comprehensive guide covering many of the more popular issues. It is a fun read for folks into PNCs or just curious about them.

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13 Dec 2018

The Golden Pavilion

Medals | Mokie

When I visited Japan back in 1976, I picked up this beautiful medal in Kyoto Japan. The medal depicts the Golden Pavilion on the obverse and the reverse is blank except for tiny Japanese characters in a box which read " Kinkaku-Ji", which is the name used by the Japanese for the Golden Pavilion. The Medal is signed by M. Sawano, possibly Mizue Sawano, but I am not sure. Mizue is a Japanese female artist well known for her paintings.

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