A medal designed by William AND Charles Barber

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, Oct 2, 2023.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Heritage had some presidential medals for sale in one of their auctions. I got out my pieces and had a good look them. I got blown out of the water in the Heritage auction, but I did notice something interesting about the Grant medal that I have. William and Charles Barber, who were father and son, designed it jointly.

    Grant O.jpg

    Grant R.jpg

    I don't have one of those fancy cameras that can take super close-ups. I have bought a couple of them, but every time Microsoft does an update, they stop working. They are a complete waste of money IMO.

    Nevertheless this is the best I can do with the "W & C Barber F." signature.

    Grant Signature.jpg

    The Barbers were British immigrants. Charles came to America with his father in 1853. Prior to that, Charles' grandfather had also been an engraver in England. Charles was the assistant to his father until the elder Barber's death in 1879. William Barber is best known for his Trade Dollar and Twenty Cent Piece designs. Charles is best known, well, for the Barber dime, quarter and half dollar.

    These presidential medals are confusing for some collectors. They were made to celebrate each president up until the present day. Many of them were made after the president had left office. Starting in the 1870s, they were made while the president was in office.

    They are not inaugural medas, which is whole different series, which started in 1893 with Grover Cleveland. They are also not Indian Peace medals, which got their start with Thomas Jefferson, at so far the involvement of the U.S. Mint is concerned.

    Here is an Indian Peace medal for Andrew Johnson. Note the neat little train that is in the background on the reverse.

    Johnson IP-40 O.jpg

    Johnson IP-40 R.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2023
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  3. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The "real" Indian peace medals were made of silver and given to the Indians as peace offerings. I have collected a few of them in copper. If you are interested in them, that is the safest way to go.

    The copper pieces were made for collectors. The 19th century mintage on the Andrew Johnson medal I posted is 10 pieces. I don't if it is really that rare, but there are not many of them.

    These pieces were also made in the 20th century with the "yellow bronze" sand blasted surface. Those pieces are worth a lot less money, and are not very attractive IMO. Here is an example of a Jefferson Indian Peace medal is "yellow bronze."

    Jefferson Yellow T.jpg

    I saw an example of the Johnson medal in silver many years ago. The asking price was $70,000, which was a lot more money back then than it is today. I wouldn't touch that piece with a 10 foot pole. If the government decided that it was taken from an Indian, they will confiscate it. It does not matter if you paid an Indian for it, you are still in the soup.

    Here is a 19th century strike of the Jefferson Indian Peace medal. The pictures are not very good because the piece is slabbed.

    Jefferson Indian Peace All.jpg

    The die crack on the reverse indicates that this piece was stuck with the original, early 1800s die, which was a big plus for me. Lewis and Clark took a number of these medals with them, in three sizes, when they conducted their famous expedition.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2023
  4. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

    That’s the design on the silver presidential medal that came out today.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2023
  5. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

  6. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member


    Pictures from the us mint
    johnmilton likes this.
  7. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Grant needed to wash his hair before that portrait was done.

    I have one medal, designed by Morgan. Saw it and had to have it.

    ldhair and johnmilton like this.
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