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29 Jan 2021

Medal for Noteworthy Public Service

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Theodore Newton Vail (1845 – 1920) was president of the American Telephone & Telegraph between 1885 and 1889, and again from 1907 to 1919. Vail saw telephone service as a public utility and moved to consolidate telephone networks under the Bell system. In 1913 he oversaw the Kingsbury Commitment which led to a more open system for connection.

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21 Oct 2020

Calendar Medals

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Medals like this were first produced at least as early as the 1680's and continued intermittently up through the present day. These were functional for the common man and were frequently used as pocket pieces which can make high-grade examples tough to find.

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14 Oct 2020

Ballooning and Numismatics

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Unmanned hot air balloons are popular in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, ca. AD 220–280, used airborne lanterns for military signaling. These lanterns are known as Chinese lanterns.The first documented balloon flight in Europe was by priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão. On August 8, 1709, in Lisbon, he managed to lift a small balloon made of paper full of hot air about four meters in front of King John V and the Portuguese court.Some important dates in ballooning history:June 5th, 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers first demonstrated an unmanned hot air balloon.September 19th, 1783 – The same balloon was used to lift a sheep, duck, and chicken. It rose to 1,500 feet and traveled roughly 3 kilometers before safely landing. The demonstration was performed for King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette.October 19th, 1783 – First tethered flight with humans.November 21st, 1783 – King Louis XVI had decreed that condemned criminals would be the first human passengers by scientists Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Marquis François d'Arlandes successfully petitioned for the honor. It was a paper balloon with live fire in a sling beneath it. They traveled over 7 kilometers in 25 minutes and landed despite having plenty of fuel to continue on. (Talk about bravery....or stupidity, you decide)August 23rd, 1783 – Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers created the first successful filled hydrogen balloon.August 27th, 1783 – The same gentlemen as above launched the balloon in Paris on the future site of the Eiffel Tower. Benjamin Franklin was among the many onlookers. The balloon flew for 45 minutes traveling around 21 kilometers before coming to ground in Gonesse and was destroyed by the terrified locals.Picture #1December 1st, 1783 – Same guys again launched the first manned hydrogen balloon. It traveled for over 2 hours covering about 36 kilometers.January 7th, 1785 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first person to cross the English Channel in a balloon.May, 1785 – First aircraft disaster. A balloon in Ireland crashed in Tullamore causing about 100 houses to burn down.January 10th, 1793 – First manned flight in America. The takeoff was witnessed by George Washington.From the 1790’s on gas balloons became the most common type.1852 – Henri Giffard was the pilot of the first steerable balloon. Aka Dirigible. It was powered by a steam engine…. that sounds like a terrible idea. Fortunately, (IMO) it was too slow to be practical.1898 – Alberto Dumont piloted the first untethered balloon powered by an internal combustion engine.July 3rd, 2002 – Steve Fossett piloted a non-stop around the world hot air balloon flight.In addition, there was wide military use of balloons up to about 1870. Even Napoleon III made use of observation balloons.So, what does this have to do with numismatics? A recent acquisition at my LCS made me want to dig into the history of hot air balloons, dirigibles, airships, and similar forms of transportation.Picture #2Obverse: City view of Paris and Giffard's Hot Air Balloon at the Word Exhibition 1878. Below in 2 lines: "PANORAMA DE PARIS 1878"​Reverse: 6 lines: "SOUVENIR DE MON ASCENSION DANS LE GRAND BALLON CAPTIV A VAPEUR DE MR HENRI GIFFARD". Button 16.​Medallist: C. (Charles) Trotin, 1833 Paris - ?Ex. Karl Stephens, Lost Dutchman Rare Coins​This gilt bronze medal is in fantastic condition. Obviously, it has been well cared for in the past. It even came with its hanger bar and part of the ribbon that it originally hung on. It came with an old envelope from Karl Stephens. It’s not my first balloon related piece. Last year I had picked up one of the German 5 Mark Zeppelin coins after a long search for the “right” one.Picture #3Obverse: Eagle, denomination below​Reverse: Zeppelin across globe, date belowSubject: Graf Zeppelin Flight​Composition: Silver​Fineness: 0.5000Weight: 25.0000gDiameter: 37mm​With a little searching, you will see that there is a wide variety of balloon related coins, medals, and tokens available on the market and most can be picked up for a very modest price. Below are a few more of my favorites that fit the theme.Picture #4Great Britain ca. 1907​Balloon School Royal Engineers​Picture #5GERMANY: AE medal 1924, Kaiser-451​Weight: 28.17gDiameter: 40mm​Bronze medal for the Crossing of the Atlantic by the LZ 126 dirigible by Mayer and Wilhelm, bust with cap right with GRAF FERDINAND V. ZEPPELIN - * 8.JULI 1838 + 8.MÄRZ 1917 around // Mercury holding airship aloft above waves with AMERIKAFAHRT DES L.Z. 126OKT.1924/ Dr.ECKENER,Kd.u26MANN above and "12.10.24.6.35. Vorm. - 15.10.24.3 11.N m." below, matte antiqued finishPicture #6By Glöckler ad Weltfahrt d. Airship "Graf Zeppelin". Kaiser 511​Obverse: Brb. Zeppelin, Eckener u.Dürr l.Reverse: Globe with d. registered stations and dates of the travel route.Edge lettering: 'PREUSS.STAATSMÜNZE.SILBER 900 FEIN'.​Weight: 24.91 g​Diameter: 36mmPicture #7Wilhelm II bronze "Count Von Zeppelin Berlin Flight" ca. 1909Kienast-47. by K. Goetz.Issued for the long-distance trips of the Zeppelin airships.Obverse: GRAF FERDINAND VON ZEPPELIN His bust facing, head half to rightReverse: Airship in clouds with rising sun flying right, above nude child seated inscribing commemorative plaque.Diameter:65Weight: 128.8Picture #8The full obverse of the 1st medal show loop and hanger.Picture #9Envelope from Karl StephensSources: Wikipedia and my head.One thought that kept popping into my head was that there wasn't much improvement in balloon technology between ancient China and 1783. Part of it must have been not having the technology to make a vessel large enough to hold enough volume of hot air to lift a person. I didn't mention it but those guys in November of 1783 were in the paper industry which was still pretty young at that point. They had the raw materials available to create the balloon. Up to that point in history, what else could have been used?

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05 Oct 2020

Joshua Reynolds Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Sir Joshua Reynolds (July 16, 1723 – February 23, 1792) was an English painter specializing in portraits. John Russell said he was one of the major European painters of the 18th century. He promoted the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on the idealization of the imperfect. He was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts and was knighted by George III in 1769.

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06 Sep 2020

PEDRO E INES Bronze Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Here is another recent addition to my world medal collection. It is absolutely huge. I have been trying to show that historical medals can be purchased on a budget.Pedro (Peter) and Ines are historical figures from Portugal. In 2018 there was a Portuguese film released by the same name as the medal. This medal is by Cabral Antunes who is considered one of the best and most prolific modern Portuguese medallists. His work is typically historic in nature and I have found that most of them are appealing.BRONZE MEDAL BY CABRAL ANTUNES 1916-1986Diameter: 100mmWeight: 417.6gThere is a tale of forbidden love between Infante Peter and Inês de Castro, lady-in-waiting to his wife Constance. Although he was married, the Infante would have secret romantic meetings with Inês in the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas. When Constance died in 1345, Peter and Inês lived as a married couple, a decision which angered King Afonso IV, his father, who was strongly opposed the relationship. The court and the people also disapproved of it.Peter and Inês lived at Santa Clara Palace, in Coimbra, with their three children for many years. However, King Afonso IV, who was constantly under pressure because of the growing disapproval of the union within the court, decided to order the murder of Inês de Castro in January 1355. Deranged by pain, Peter led an uprising against the King and would never forgive his father for murdering his lover. When he finally took the crown in 1357, Peter ordered the arrest and execution of Inês’ murderers by ripping their hearts out. This action earned him the title of “the Cruel”.Later, after swearing that he had secretly married Inês de Castro, King Peter demanded that she be recognized as Queen of Portugal. In April 1360, he ordered the body of Inês to be moved from Coimbra to the Royal Monastery of Alcobaça, where two magnificent tombs were built so that he could rest next to his eternal lover forever. Thus, the most overwhelming Portuguese love story would be immortalized in stone.Sources:centerofportugal.comportuguese-american-journal.com

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27 Aug 2020

1st Earl of Eldon

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

This was an impulse buy from Heritage in 2019. I just now got around to doing some research.The catalog number is BHM-1308 which is part of the British Historical Medals series.Diameter: 46mmComposition: SilverEngraver: VoigtJohn Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, was a British barrister and politician. He served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain between 1801 and 1806 and again between 1807 and 1827.His wife was the eldest daughter of Aubone Surtees, a Newcastle banker. The Surtees family objected to the match and attempted to prevent it, but a strong attachment had sprung up between them. On 18 November 1772, Scott, with the aid of a ladder and an old friend, carried off the lady from her father's house in the Sandhill, across the border to Blackshields, in Scotland, where they were married. The father of the bridegroom objected not to his son's choice, but to the time he chose to marry. It was a blight on his son's prospects, depriving him of his fellowship and his chance of church preferment.In 1782, he entered Parliament for Lord Weymouth's close borough of Weobley in Herefordshire, which Lord Thurlow obtained for him without solicitation. In Parliament, he gave general and independent support to William Pitt. In 1788, he was appointed Solicitor-General and was knighted, and at the close of this year, he attracted attention by his speeches in support of Pitt's resolutions on the state of the king (George III, who then labored under a mental malady) and the delegation of his authority. In 1793, Sir John Scott was promoted to the office of Attorney-General, in which it fell to him to conduct the memorable prosecutions for high treason against British sympathizers with French republicanism, among others, against the celebrated Horne Tooke. These prosecutions were no doubt instigated by Sir John Scott and were the most important proceedings in which he was ever professionally engaged. He has left on record a defense of his conduct in regard to them.In 1799 the office of chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas became vacant. Sir John Scott's claim to it was not overlooked, and after seventeen years' service in the Lower House, he entered the House of Lords as Baron Eldon. During this time Lord Eldon was revered for his work in consolidating equity into a working body of legal principles.The chancellorship was given to him in 1801 professedly on account of his notorious anti-Catholic zeal. He was responsible for conducting the negotiations which resulted in the recall of Pitt to office as prime minister. Lord Eldon was continued in office as chancellor under Pitt, but the new administration was of short duration. On January 23rd, 1806 William Pitt died and his ministry was succeeded by a coalition, under Lord Grenville. The death of Fox, who became foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons, soon, however, broke up the Grenville administration; and in the spring of 1807 Lord Eldon once more, under the Duke of Portland's administration, returned to the woolsack, which he continued to occupy for about twenty years.In 1827, shortly after George Canning became Prime Minister Lord Eldon resigned in protest at the age of 76. This medal dates to this time period. He spent the rest of his life trying to regain his position.I've managed to acquire a mid-size but growing collection of British Historic Medals. They have quite the following in the collecting community so the ones with an appealing theme can go for good money but the mintage was generally very low. This medal got graded by NGC a lowly MS60. For the life of me I can't figure out the low (in my opinion) grade but it is probably part of the reason I was able to purchase at a bargain price.Sources:Wikipediaacsearch.info

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20 Aug 2020

Benedetto Pistrucci and the Waterloo Medal

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

This is a partial rewrite from a blog that I posted in 2017. This past Monday I was the presenter for my local coin clubs educational program. While preparing it I updated some of the information and added some new pictures. I hope you enjoy it.

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11 Aug 2020

Church of Saint Martin of Aldoar

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

This medal is a little more modern than what I usually collect but the obverse imagery spoke to me. It was created to commemorate the expansion of a Catholic church in Portugal. Like many modern medals, this one was purchased at a very low price. It is definitely a segment of our hobby that can be collected on a budget.Description:

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13 May 2020

Abercromby in Egypt

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

I recently added another historical medal to my collection. When making additions I have some vague (only make sense to me) requirements. The most important is eye appeal, followed closely by historical importance.The obverse of this medal certainly didn’t catch my attention. The name Abercromby didn’t ring any bells and the portrait is, well, just another dead guy. The classical look of the reverse is what caught my attention. The horse is beautifully done but having the Egyptian pyramids in the background sealed the deal. I immediately decided I had to have one and after a quick search of all the available ones online ended up back at the first one I saw.After a bit of research, I realized it ticked off both requirements.Sellers Description:1801 Great Britain, British Army Arrives in Egypt, AE Medal, Mudie's National Series, Mudie-8, BHM-504, By Webb, Plain Edge. Deep toned brown bronze in color with some underlying surface reflectivity, couple small rim tics. Mudie's National Series of British Medals, published in 1820 by James Mudie and struck by Sir Edward Thomason's Manufactory in Birmingham consists of 40 different medals commemorating British military and Navy victories. The series is both important in history and design and was dedicated to George the Fourth.Obverse: Uniformed bust facing slightly leftReverse: Horse right before the Great PyramidsSize: 41 mmSir Ralph Abercromby (7 October 1734 – 28 March 1801) was a Scottish soldier and politician. He twice served as MP for Clackmannanshire rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army was appointed Governor of Trinidad, served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, and was noted for his services during the French Revolutionary Wars.In 1800 Abercromby commanded the expedition to the Mediterranean. After some brilliant operations defeated the French in the Battle of Alexandria, 21 March 1801. During the action, he was struck by a musket-ball in the thigh. It was not until the battle was won and he saw the enemy retreating did he show any sign of pain. He was removed from the field in a hammock, cheered by the blessings of the soldiers as he passed, and conveyed on board the flag-ship HMS Foudroyant which was moored in the harbor. The ball could not be extracted; mortification ensued, and seven days later, on 28 March 1801, he died.I found the above description of his death a little odd. Even with the medicine of the time, a leg wound should not have taken the life of this man. It may have cost him his leg, but not his life. So, I dug a little deeper and now wish I hadn't. Calling it a leg wound must have been the "polite" way to describe his injuries. Suffice it to say, you don't want to know.Abercromby's old friend and commander, the Duke of York, paid tribute to Abercromby's memory in general orders: "His steady observance of discipline, his ever-watchful attention to the health and wants of his troops, the persevering and unconquerable spirit which marked his military career, the splendor of his actions in the field and the heroism of his death, are worthy the imitation of all who desire, like him, a life of heroism and death of glory."He was buried on St John's Bastion within Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta, Malta. The British military renamed it Abercrombie's Bastion in his honor. The adjacent curtain wall linking this bastion to the fortifications of Valletta, originally called Santa Ubaldesca Curtain, was also renamed Abercromby's Curtain.In general, the Mudie series of medals is not scarce however the individual pieces have a wide range of prices. Certain pieces command higher prices based on the subject matter. Of course, the condition has a large effect on pricing. Occasionally full sets become available to purchase but that is far outside this collectors pricing comfort level. The set in the photo is not mine.Sources:cngcoins.comwikipediahistoricalmedals.com

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05 Mar 2020

Every End He Aimed At, Was His Country's

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

Henry Clay is one of my favorite historical figures. He was an American attorney and statesman who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. Clay served as the 7th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and served as the ninth U.S. secretary of state. He received electoral votes in the 1824, 1832, and 1844 presidential elections and helped found both the National Republican Party and the Whig Party. For his role in defusing sectional crises, he earned the appellation of the "Great Compromiser."

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