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Mr_Norris_LKNS's Blog

07 Oct 2020

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders US Mint Medal update

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

[UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I added two photos of the actual medal as delivered from the US Mint. It really is as good as the picture of it on the Mint's website.]

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28 Sep 2020

US Mint CGM Replica Prices Quadruple

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

I enjoy history, particularly WW2 history. I am not a frequent shopper of United States Mint products... not that I find anything wrong with them, but I've never been a mint set subscriber or anything. I'd more likely buy a numismatic item I wanted at a coin shop or coin show. But I have seen some of the Mint's commemorative medals, and some of them I like; especially some of the WW2 related ones, and a few Presidential ones. When I read the news from Coin World Magazine that there was a tremendous price hike in the works, I thought I'd better investigate.The United States Mint creates the Congressional Gold Medals as they become authorized by Congress. Typically these recognize an individual or a group, and the reason or occasion for Congress awarding them the medal. Medals have been awarded to military personnel (not to be confused with the Medal of Honor and other medals for valor), pioneers in medicine, science, aviation and space exploration, humanitarians, even entertainers and athletes. US citizenship is not a requirement for recipients, you just have to be appreciated for some notable reason by the US Congress. The Congressional Gold Medal has about the same level of prestige as the Presidential Medal of Freedom; however, far fewer CGM's have been awarded in spite of having been authorized for much longer. The PMF has been awarded to over 500 recipients since its inception in 1963 during President Kennedy's term (with 102 awarded by President Reagan and 123 by President Obama). By comparison, the CGM has only been awarded 163 times (as of April 2019) even though it has been around nearly 200 years longer, since the Second Continental Congress authorized it and first awarded it in 1776 to then-General George Washington! It must take a great deal more cooperation to get two-thirds of Congress and their respective committees to agree on granting such an award, than for the President to decide you deserve recognition. The CGM is not the kind of medal you wear around your neck or pinned to your jacket; it's more of a trophy type medal that you would display on your desk or in a prominent display case.I can't confirm it but I've heard that the Mint uses the sales of CGM replicas made in silver and bronze to fund the production of gold medals. That is what you are getting when you buy the 1-5/16" or 3" bronze or silver medals from the US Mint. Congress does occasionally authorize actual Congressional Silver Medals and Congressional Bronze Medals to be awarded to individuals or groups. Congressional Silver and Bronze Medals are rare, and are not the same thing as the replica CGMs made in silver or bronze that you can buy from the Mint. Typically the Congressional Silver and Bronze Medals are awarded as part of an award of a Congressional Gold Medal, whereas the main person leading a group effort might get the gold, his chief assistants or officers would get the silver, and the rest of the crew would get the bronze. This recognizes everyone's participation in the event commemorated at different levels of responsibility, activity, etc.; not to mention awarding gold medals to every individual in a large crew would be very expensive. Everyone who receives a silver or bronze Congressional Medal still played a part in Congress's recognition that the event deserved commemorating by awarding the CGM., and their silver or bronze medal is proof of that.As of this writing, 1-5/16" bronze CGM replicas are being sold for $6.95 plus shipping, and 3" replicas are being sold for $39.95 plus shipping. $40+ for a bronze replica isn't hateful if you really like the topic, and $7+ for a smaller replica would make collecting them an affordable hobby. Of the two, of course, the larger one is what I'd want. I was hesitant to order, though, at that price, simply because it wasn't as high a priority as some other things. Then Coin World Magazine announced in a Facebook post that the price of the 3" medals was going up.A lot.Afte r January 1, 2021, the price of the 3" CGM replicas in bronze are supposedly going from $39.95 to $160.What?! Whoa!!Supposedly the Mint loses money on these things; and that's driving the price increase. So now I wonder, how much have they been losing, and for how long?? because that's a pretty steep price hike.So I finally jumped and ordered my favorite WW2 design, just in case the price hike story is really true (and if Coin World reports it, I have no reason to doubt them).My favorite of the ones they have available is the Doolittle Raiders CGM replica. First reason is, it's WW2 history and I am fascinated with the story. Second reason, I live within driving distance of the original Wright Field (now Wright Patterson AFB) where Jimmy Doolittle spent some time before his famous raid (you can see photos of him with a Wright Field patch on his flight jacket); Dayton was also the hometown of his co-pilot, Dick Cole. Thirdly, my son and I have actually attended Doolittle Raider events at the National Museum of the US Air Force there, with Mr. Cole present. If you haven't seen a flight of 17-odd B-25's flying in formation and heard the collective rumble of their twin radial engines in flight, you've missed out.So the Doolittle Raider CGM replica is a natural selection for me, and someday my son will probably have it. If for some reason he doesn't want it, the price jacking happening this January will make $40 look like a bargain, and there shouldn't be any trouble selling it. Unless, of course, the price hike has the unintentional consequence of killing the CGM replica sales program and none sell for $160. I guess then, if Congress wants to issue a gold medal, we'll just pay for it in our taxes instead of by adding to our collections.Maybe I can convince somebody to buy me my favorite Presidential 3" medals before Christmas. :-)

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27 May 2019

Remembering on Memorial Day

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

I am thankful for all the men and women who gave their lives to protect and provide freedom for their fellow man. Some were volunteers; some were selected. Not all went into combat; sometimes combat came to them. Some deaths were brave acts of valor to stop an enemy and to directly save the life of a comrade; others were accidental. The number and type of medals awarded posthumously do not matter in as much as a life was lost in the service to our country. We do not celebrate death; we honor the names and memory of the dead, and honor the families, friends, and communities who lost loved ones. Those who have been freed from tyranny and whose children have been extended hope for a brighter future remember and are grateful.Attached are pictures of a medal I picked up at an auction. It commemorates the liberation of the small country of Luxembourg, which had been subjected to the tyranny of the Nazis during WW2. The date commemorated is 10 September, 1944, as you can see on the reverse. That was the day Allied tanks rolled into the City of Luxembourg, the small country's capital, forcing the German army to retreat. During the Battle of the Bulge, where the German military counterattacked the Allied advance, much of the country's territory fell back into German hands and had to be liberated again; but the City of Luxembourg was never recaptured, in spite of shelling by German heavy artillery.Note, though, who the medal honors on the obverse. Portrayed is the unique shape of the American steel pot helmet, and "U.S." is clearly featured on the soldier's collar. This is an officer's version of the American "U.S." insignia. Usually if such collar insignia was worn, it would be on a garrison uniform, but an officer riding in a jeep into a newly liberated city might be wearing such in combination with a helmet.Our military has liberated millions of people around the globe. These men and women are not always seen as liberators by everyone, and just like any other organization made up of a collection of individual humans, not all are saints. In this day and age of politicizing the legitimacy of using military forces to enforce the political will and national interests of America, I feel that has to be pointed out; because many will point to the actions of a few individuals as justification for condemning the whole body, and that is wrong. Our men and women give themselves to the service of our nation, and many times in the service of our friends and allies. It's a dangerous business, and some do not come home. Regardless of whether you agree with the politics behind or morality of a given war, these men and women do serve in allegiance to our flag and our Constitution, and hence to you... and each family who has lost a loved one in the service has suffered a loss, ostensibly for you. Enjoy your day today, but please respectfully remember those who have lost their lives in the service of our country."We wish no evil. We will fight evil where and when we see it, and celebrate victory over it. When all is said and done, we will mourn our dead, resolve to right the wrongs, and move forward with a better understanding of our world and our fellow man, to the end of living as peaceably as possible with all."

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20 Apr 2019

1957 ANA Convention Medal

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Found this in the local coin shop recently. I've not been able to attend an ANA convention yet, and it's something I look forward to doing someday.I'd actually been looking for the kind of name tag holder at the top of the medal, when making awards of our own for our young numismatists' club. You really could fill them with anything: the name of the award recipient, the name of the award for which the medal was given, the name of the numismatic club giving it, etc. Some of the same info could be engraved on the back, though, so it's probably best as a name holder at a convention. The way these are designed, the name holder could be card stock, or something fancier, as long as it wasn't too thick and slightly flexible.The back of this medal particularly reminds me of some stock Medallic Art medal reverse options I've seen in the past, although since they've been bought out of bankruptcy by another company, I don't see the full former line of stock reverse options anymore. I'd looked at them as recently as a couple years ago, and this one looks familiar. I do not see any hallmarks on it though.The medal has a few spots but is overall in pretty good condition. The name holder has a small spot of what looks like rust along the top front, but not too bad. The ribbon drape itself looks a little faded and just a tad grungy but not all that dirty. It was probably stored for years in a box or drawer. The construction of this medal is such that it could be completely disassembled, hanger from ribbon from medallion, if a cleaning was to be attempted; but I don't think the ribbon would hold up to much attention. It's solid but I'm thinking any sort of fluid would leave stain marks or maybe wash out even more of the color; and the stitching holding the drape loop together might be too fragile to stand up to anything like that. I will probably leave everything as it is.From a cursory internet search, I don't see ANA Convention medals reselling for very high prices as collectibles. Some (different years) are seeking around $10 to $12 for them. I would imagine it would be quite easy to come up with an attractive array of several different years for not much money. As with any series there's bound to be some that are harder to find than others.

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