My Summer FUN Exhibit

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, May 26, 2020.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    One January 20, 2021 a President of the United States will be inaugurated. We don't know who yet, but I thought that it might be interesting to look at some inaugural medals from the past. I was going to display this at the 2020 Summer FUN show, but since that has been canceled, I'll see if I can post it here.

    The exhibit concentrates on the medals from 1901 to 1961 with some historical background on earlier medals from 1893 and 1897. I selected the 1901 to 1961 period to avoid political controversies.

    These are the official medals that were issued by the inaugural committees. This gets confusing because the Philadelphia Mint also issues medals which look like official inaugural medals, except they aren't. Private companies have also gotten into the act. with souvenir pieces. Quite often these items are far smaller than the official medals.

    The print on these photos is small, probably too small for some of you to read. These are photos I take that help me to set up the exhibit. I never intended them for this purpose. Over time I can post the pictures and text in greater detail if you are interested.

    This will never be a great exhibit because it is not complete. That’s why I put it together for Summer FUN where there are no prizes. I don’t have the official 1921 Warren G. Harding and 1925 Calvin Coolidge medals, which are quite scarce and expensive. I do have the 1905 Theodore Roosevelt medal by St. Gaudens which is an important item.

    Okay here goes. More later, if you are interested.

    Case 1

    Pres Ing Case 1.jpg
    Case 2

    Pres Ing Case 2.jpg
    Case 3
    Pres Ing Case 3.jpg
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That 1905 Roosevelt medal looks beautiful. The eagle looks similar to the $5 gold Indian.
    Thanks for sharing!
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I can already tell that the print in these pictures is too small. Over time I will post the text an pictures with messages. This could take a while. Here is the beginning.

    A Quadrennial Celebration

    Presidential inaugurations have been a time for celebration since George Washington took the first Oath of Office in 1789. Quite often the United States Government or a private concern issued medals that commemorated the event. Starting in 1889, the Inaugural Committee, which was responsible for organizing the celebration, issued official medals. The early medals were suspended from ribbons. Inaugural volunteers, workers and officials wore these decorations, which were often marked with the role that person had in the event or the title an event official held.

    Starting with the 1901 inauguration, the pieces became stand alone medals. Gold medals were awarded to the president, vice president and often the chairman of the Inaugural Committee. Silver medals, when they were made, were given to other dignitaries. Bronze medals were awarded to workers and sold to the public as a fund raising project for the event.

    This exhibit covers the official inaugural bronze medals issued from 1901 to 1961. The names of Democratic Party presidents are presented in blue. Republican presidents are shown in red. Contemporary campaign buttons, that display pictures of the president and his vice presidential running mate, are exhibited in the upper right of most panels.

    1893 Grover Cleveland Medal

    1893 Cleveland O.jpg


    1893 Cleveland R.jpg

    1897 William McKinley Medal

    McKinley 1897 total.jpg


    McKinley 1897 R.jpg


    Above Left This 1893 Grover Cleveland inaugural ribbon and medal was given to a worker who was on the “public comfort” committee. Above Right This 1897 William McKinley Inaugural ribbon and medal was sold to the public or worn by a volunteer who had a minor role in the event because there is no committee designation on it.
  5. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    William McKinley 1901

    1901 McKinley O.jpg 1901 McKinley R.jpg

    Designer “U.S. Mint” Charles Barber probably had considerable influence.

    Diameter 44 mm

    Mintages 2 or 3 in gold, 55 in silver, 4,000+ in bronze

    Notes: The 1901 McKinley medal is the most common early inaugural medal in bronze. The gold medals were awarded to the president, vice president and perhaps the chairman of the Inaugural Committee. This would be the policy for many of the medals that follow. The silver pieces were awarded to senior members of the inaugural committee staff. They were housed in flip-top, leather presentation boxes.

    McKinley - Theodore Roosevelt campaign button

    1900 MacKin-Rose Jugate.jpg

    The Republicans made a big deal out of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Ride exploits in Cuba during the Spanish - American War.
    -jeffB, slackaction1 and okbustchaser like this.
  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    That and the fact that they only issued 125 of these medals make this an expensive rascal. Here is the text.

    1905 TR St Gaudens O.jpg 1905 TR St Gaudens R.jpg

    Designer Augustus St. Gaudens

    Diameter 74 mm

    Mintages 3 in gold, 125 in bronze

    Notes: 1905 was the only year in which there were two official inaugural medals. Theodore Roosevelt had met St. Gaudens at a dinner party a few years earlier. Their discussions drifted toward the topic of classical coins in high relief. The culmination of their meeting would be the 1907 High Relief $20 gold pieces and the $10 Indian gold coins.

    In 1905 Roosevelt asked St. Gaudens to design a medal for his inauguration. St. Gaudens drafted the design, and Adolph Weinman, who was one of his assistants, crafted the dies. Weinman later designed the Mercury Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Tiffany & Co., the famous jewelers, made these medals, which were cast, not struck. Many collectors regard this medal as the most desirable piece in the inaugural medal series. The eagle on the reverse of this is very similar to the bird that appeared on the Indian $10 gold coins.

    1904 Theordore Roosevelt Campaign Button

    TR Fairbanks Lib.jpg

    More tomorrow, if you like. Dinner is beckoning.
  7. Dimedude2

    Dimedude2 Member

    Outstanding post!
  8. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Since this subject seems to have run its course, I'll post the other Theodore Roosevelt medal and leave it at that. If any of you would like some of the others, leave a message here, and I will post it.

    1905 TR Davison O.jpg 1905 TR Davison R.jpg

    The Davidson Medal

    Designer Charles Barber obverse, George Morgan reverse

    Diameter 44 mm

    Mintages 3,000 in bronze

    Notes: The Philadelphia Mint prepared the dies for this second 1905 official medal. The dies were sent to the Joseph K. Davison’s and Sons Company in Philadelphia who struck the medals. The Inaugural Committee awarded these pieces to “second tier” workers who ranked below those who held high positions in the organizing committee and the Federal Government.
    -jeffB, slackaction1 and okbustchaser like this.
  9. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Taft 1909 O.jpg Taft 1909 R.jpg

    Designer Joseph K. Davison’s and Sons Company “in house” project

    Diameter 51 mm

    Mintages 3 in gold, 3,000 in bronze

    Notes: This was the first stand alone medal that had an image of the vice president included in the design. Victor D. Brenner, who designed the Lincoln Cent, was selected to design it, but he could not fit the project into his work schedule. Photos of Taft and vice president Sherman were sent to Davison’s and Sons who used them to design the piece.

    1908 78 Taft Jugate.jpg

    Taft's vice president, James Sherman, died just before Election Day 1912 when Taft was running for re-election. If Taft had won, it would have presented an interesting issue, but Taft came in third, losing the election badly.
    -jeffB likes this.
  10. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Let's cover the two rare medals that are missing from most collections, including mine.

    These photos are from the Smithsonian:

    1921 Harding O Smith.jpg 1921 Harding R Smith.jpg

    Designer Darrell C. Crain, made by R. Harris and Company

    Diameter 70 mm

    Mintages 2, maybe 3 in gold, 6 in silver, unknown, no more 60 in bronze

    Notes: Harding requested that his inauguration would be a very subdued affair. Many of the plans that had been in the works were scrapped, and the production of inauguration medals was curtailed. Expert dealer, H. Joseph Levine, estimated that 60 bronze medals were struck, but only 6 to 8 are known today. Your author had a chance to purchase an example in silver a few years ago. The piece was not quite Mint State, and the price was over $30,000.

    Harding & Coolidge button.jpg

    All Harding and Coolidge Jugate (president and vice president on the same button) are scarce. Harding's 1920 opponents, James Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt buttons) are the "holy grail" of the hobby and have sold for over $50,000.

    Here is my "hole filler" Harding medal. This is a U.S. Mint medal.

    Harding Unofficial O.jpg Harding Unofficial R.jpg

    Given the rarity of the official Harding medal, some collectors opt to obtain this unofficial Harding inaugural piece to fill that slot in their sets. The Philadelphia Mint introduced this piece soon after Harding took office, which was consistent with past mint policy. Collectors often confuse these mint medals with the official inaugural medals.

    After Harding’s death in 1923, the mint paired the same obverse with a new reverse that noted his passing. The mint issued that variety for many years, which makes it far more common than this design.
    -jeffB likes this.
  11. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The second very tough inaugural medal is the 1925 Calvin Coolidge medal. I downloaded these pictures from Heritiage Auctions.

    1925 Coolidege O Heritage.jpg 1925 Coolidege R Heritage.jpg

    Designer Darrell C. Crain, made by the Medallic Art Company

    Diameter 70 mm

    Mintages 3 in gold, 2 in silver, 75 in bronze

    Notes: Calvin Coolidge was a frugal man, and asked that his inauguration fit his tastes. It was a very subdued affair, and the medal production was curtailed. Given the rarity of the official Coolidge medal, some collectors acquire the 1927 Union League medal to replace it in their collections. The Union League medal is slightly smaller and the League motto, “Amor Patriae Ducit” (Led by love of country) replaces the inauguration date on the obverse.

    Large Jugate.jpg

    Coolidge buttons are notoriusly dull. This one with the gold border is "exciting" for a Coolidge button. Charles Dawes, his running mate, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work restructuring the reparations Germany was forced to pay after World War I.

    My "hole filler" medal is was issued by the Union League of Philadelphia. The design is similar to the official Coolidge inaugural medal, although it is a little smaller.

    Coolidge Medal O.jpg Coolidge Medal R.jpg

    The Union League is a political organization, that was formed in 1862 to support the pro-Union policies of President Abraham Lincoln. At first it backed political candidates from both parties. Later it became strictly a Republican organization.

    On November 17, 1927 the League held its 65th Founders Day celebration. The League admitted Calvin Coolidge as an honorary member and awarded an example of this medal to him. The reported mintage is 3,000+ pieces.
    -jeffB likes this.
  12. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    It is interesting to me that Theodore Roosevelt wears glasses on his medals.

    -jeffB likes this.
  13. Badger Mint

    Badger Mint Active Member

    These are very cool. do you have any medals that almost were? For the Bush II second inauguration, Medalcraft mint worked on a design that was rejected. There were 3 or 4 struck in bronze and one uniface trial in lead. The engraver of the die gave me the lead trial strike.
  14. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I don't collect any of the medals "that almost were." I have stuck to the official pieces in bronze, except for the silver Kennedy piece, which is quite common. If it's a president, who has held office during my lifetime, whom I do not like, I don't have those either.
  15. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    It was one of his trademarks. Here is a campaign piece from his 1904 presidential campaign.

    Pince Nez.jpg

    Franklin D. Roosevelt idolized his cousin, Theodore, and patterned his career and even his glasses after him. FDR became a New York state senator, the Undersecretary of the Navy, just like TR and he was Governor of New York, like TR. He even wore the pince nez glasses that TR wore when FDR was young. Check out the glasses FDR is wearing on this 1920 Cox – Roosevelt campaign decal. This is a scarce piece, but it doesn’t cost anywhere near the $30 to $50 thousand that a Cox – Roosevelt button costs.

    Cox & Roosevelt Decal Small.jpg
  16. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I went to the trouble to do this exhibit, which might never be shown, so I'm going finish this out with a few of my favorite pieces.

    Herbert Hoover was not a good president, but he was a great man in other ways. He led to effort to feed Europe after World War I, and he was an outstanding engineer. The technical manuels he wrote were widely used until the mid 1960s. Here is his medal, which has some interesting symbolism.

    Hoover Ing O.jpg Hoover Ing R.jpg

    Designer Henry K. Bush-Brown

    Diameter 70 mm

    Mintages 2 in gold, 1,012 in bronze

    Notes: Herbert Hoover banned many of the usual inaugural events such as the ball and a military parade, but he did allow a modest issue of inaugural medals to go forward. For that reason, this medal is collectable although it is not as inexpensive as the mintage of over 1,000 pieces might indicate. Designer Bush-Brown depicted aspects of Hoover’s professional life on the lower portion of the reverse. Herbert Hoover was a great mining engineer, and some of the tools of his trade are shown in that area.

    A Hoover - Curtis Jugate

    Hoover Curtus Jugate.jpg

    It is interesting to note that Hoover's vice president, Charles Curtis, was half Native-American.
    -jeffB likes this.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    FDR 1933 O.jpg FDR 1933 R.jpg

    Designer Paul Manship

    Diameter 76 mm

    Mintages 2 in gold, 4 known in silver,1,500 in yellow bronze, 50 in finished bronze

    Notes: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural medal features a “ship of state” on the reverse. Roosevelt admired the metaphor and used it during his administration and on his 1945 medal. The bronze medal appears with two finishes. The much more common “yellow bronze” finish (shown above) was made at the Philadelphia Mint. The Medallic Art Company imparted a rich brown patina on the 50 pieces that it issued. Collectors highly prize the finished bronze pieces.

    This FDR - John Garner Jugate called for the repeal of the 18th ammendment which banned the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. This is a scarce item.

    For Repeal.jpg
    -jeffB likes this.
  18. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    FDR 1945 O.jpg FDR 1945 R.jpg

    Designer Jo Davidson

    Diameter 45 mm

    Mintages 10 in gold, 2 in silver, 3,500 in bronze

    Notes: Artist Jo Davidson captured the fatigue on the war weary president’s face on this final FDR inaugural medal. Roosevelt died less than three months after his fourth inauguration. The unprecedented high mintage of 10 gold medals was a reflection of the diplomatic situation during World War II. Gold medals were awarded to Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Stalin aide V. M. Molotov, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia and two American ambassadors.

    Many Democrats insisted that Franklin Roosevelt replace his vice president from 1941 to 1945, Henry Wallace. Some of them might well have realzied that FDR was too ill to complete his fourth term. The replacement was Harry S. Truman.

    Roosevelt & Truman.jpg
    -jeffB likes this.
  19. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Ike 1957 O.jpg Ike 1957 R.jpg

    Designer Walker Hancock

    Diameter 70 mm

    Mintages 3 in gold, 1,033 in silver, 21,705 in bronze

    Notes: President Eisenhower requested that Richard Nixon’s portrait appear on his second inaugural medal and once more asked Walker Hancock to design it. Hancock had moved to Rome to serve as the Sculptor in Residence at the American Academy, where he had been a fellow 30 years earlier. He was not prepared for the request but felt obligated to accept it. He was forced to work from photos and had many problems with the obverse lettering. Those difficulties accounted for the simplicity of the reverse design.

    Many Republicans were concerned that Dwight Eisenhower would not run for re-election in 1956 after a heart attack and an attack of ileitis. Some of them issued this “draft Eisenhower” before the 1956 convention.

    Draft Ike in 1956.jpg

    Dwight Eisenhower ran with a young Richard Nixon in 1952 and 1956.

    1952 Ike - Nixon Jugate.jpg
    -jeffB likes this.
  20. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Paul Mansfield designed the 1933 Franklin Roosevelt and the 1961 John F. Kennedy inaugural medals, a remarkable 28 year spread in time.

    JFK Bronze Inaug.jpg

    JFK Silver Inaug.jpg

    Designer Paul Manship

    Diameter 70 mm

    Mintages 1 in gold, 7,500 in silver, 53,331 in bronze

    Notes: Paul Manship, who designed the 1933 FDR medal, designed this piece for the Kennedy inauguration. John Kennedy requested that the Presidential Seal appear on the reverse. Manship’s portrait of a youthful, yet dignified John F. Kennedy has been widely admired. The sales of the bronze and silver medals hit unprecedented levels due to an aggressive sales campaign. Bronze sales more than doubled the previous high, and silver medal sales were seven times greater than the previous record. Examples of the silver medal were closely held after Kennedy’s assassination, but more examples have become available to collectors in the recent decades.

    Inaugural bottons have long been favorites for those who attended the ceremony. This piece featured photos of JFK and LBJ and the theme of the Kennedy administration "The New Frontier."

    New Frontier.jpg
    -jeffB likes this.
  21. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

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