I have intensively researched certain temperance medals and have become fascinated by the earliest which include the varieties engraved by James Bale (circa 1840's) for the WASHINGTON TEMPERANCE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY. This is most commonly referred to as the 'TYRANT ALCOHOL' medal. The very scarce but occasionally appearing at major auctions is the variety is Baker.332 (and subtypes).
Here is a Heritage link to possibly the Finest Known Baker.332:
WS Baker (in 1885) and R. Rulau & G. Fuld (1999) also describe a specimen called Baker.333 which was made from a unique obverse and reverse die - different from Baker 332 specimens. I am baffled that there is absolutely NO IMAGE/Photograph ANYWHERE on the internet, in auction catalogs nor in books of this variety (after really exhaustive, pain-staking searching - and I find things in all the nooks/crannies of the internet).
There are at least 4 public auctions (1863-1989) where a 'TYRANT ALCOHOL' medal attributed by the cataloguer as a Baker.333 specimen (allegedly) appeared. These include:
• PCAC 47:Lot 275, Dec 1989
• PCAC 37:Lot 599, Dec 1984
• Dr. Glenn M. Clark Collection, Herbert I. Melnick Inc. Lot 2120, Feb 1984
• Elliot Woodward Auction, Lot 2373, April 1863
However, none of these catalogs contain a photo or scan of this lot!
If anyone knows where a photo of Baker 333 can be found (or happens to have one in their collection), please share this or contact me.
I have some theories about this medal, but cannot prove nor disprove until I can see a true specimen matching Baker's description of Baker.333. Russ Rulau and George Fuld did not call Baker.333 'unique', but a good quality photo would turn this sceptic into a believer. I have 19 sets of obv/rev photos from a smaller number of truly unique TYRANT ALCOHOL medals by James Bale, but a true photo of Baker.333 is a complete mystery. Does it really exist? Is it a unique mule? Did Baker make a mistake that somehow got reprinted by Russ and George?
I will contact all my gurus at the upcoming ANA Convention.