A rare 1901 McKinley Inaugural Medal in Silver

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, Apr 3, 2024.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The 1901 McKinley inaugural medal was the first piece of its kind in the modern era. Prior to then, the official inaugural medals had been connected to ribbons. The 1901 piece was the first stand alone medal as we think of them today.

    The 1901 Bronze medal is common for an early inaugural medal. The mintage was thought to be between 3,000 and 4,000. Collectors view it as one of "the easy ones."

    1901 McKinley.jpg

    The silver medal is another matter. The mintage was 55 pieces. These medals were given to those who worked on the inaugural committee and probably others who put in a fair amount of time to make the event a success.

    1901 McKinley Silver All.jpg

    These pieces don't come to market that often. The late Joe Levine, who wrote and excellent little book on inaugural medals in 1980, guessed that many pieces were still in the possession of family members as heirlooms.

    Some of the few pieces I have seen had problems. They have been improperly cleaned or what the grading services call "environmental damage." These medals were issued in a leather presentation box, and I imagine that the leather was the medal's enemy. It either caused damage or encouraged cleaning which resulted in similar problems.

    This is the last silver inaugural medal that is collectable until 1953. In subsequent years, the mintages were limited to less than 5 pieces which were given to VIPs or which ended museums.

    A dealer offered me a silver Warren G. Harding medal a few years ago. According to Joe Levine, there are 6 known. The Harding medal is rare in any medal. Since the asking price was $32,000, I was not ready to pull the trigger at that time.

    In 1853, the Republicans won the White House for the first time since 1928. The Inaugural Committee offer silver medals to the public for the first time, and the mintage ballooned to over 800 pieces. Since then silver medals have been offered to the public on a regular basis.

    A 1953 Eisenhower silver medal.

    1953 Ike Silver.jpg
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  3. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I do enjoy the current mint offerings regarding (silver) presidential medals. :)

    Thanks for the history lesson John. Your reasoning for standing down on that offering of the silver Harding medal was well put. Probably saved your marriage......(devil)
    MIGuy, lardan and johnmilton like this.
  4. Lon Chaney

    Lon Chaney Well-Known Member

    Very cool.
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  5. lardan

    lardan Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks again for a nice hx lesson. Always enjoyed and appreciated.
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  6. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    An enjoyable read as always!
    johnmilton likes this.
  7. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Great write up on inaugural medals, I never heard of them being worth money so now I can keep an eye out, you never know! :D
  8. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The really expensive ones are the 1905 Theodore Roosevelt. which was designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, 1921 Warren G. Harding and 1925 Calvin Coolidge. All of the others up until the 1949 Harry Truman carry a premium, but they need to be in decent condition.

    There are two official 1905 Theodore Roosevelt medals.

    This is the "Davison medal" which is named after the jewelry concern that made it. This is not that valuable.

    1905 TR Davidson.jpg

    This is the St. Gaudens piece. It has a mintage of 125, and it was designed by St. Gaudens and executed by Adolph Weinman (Yes the guy who designed the Mercury Dime and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.). As you might guess, this one sells for five figures. Note the similarity between the eagle on the reverse with the eagle on the $10 Indian gold coin.

    1905 TR St Gaudens.jpg
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