Featured US Treasury Medal, Engraved Grace Kelly, 1956 - A Mystery

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by robinjojo, Dec 24, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I normally post threads on the ancients, and, to a lesser degree, world forum sites. However, I decided to post on this forum a silver medal that I purchased back in March 2017. I am not sure if this forum or the US coins forum is most appropriate, given the non-coin nature of this medal, but I decided to post it here.

    This silver medal came without the box. It weighs 21.2 grams. In terms of condition, it shows signs of some handling and cleaning hairlines.

    D-Camera Grace Kelly treasury medal, 1956, 21.2 g  eBay 2017 12-24-20.jpg

    I came across this medal while randomly going through eBay one night. I noticed that this medal was being sold by a French seller in medals based in Montpellier, France. At first glance this treasury medal looked like a typical one issued in the 1950s. The design is different from the earlier type issued in the 1940's, during the World War II in particular, as part of the effort to raise war bonds.

    What makes this medal so distinctive is an engraving on the reverse panel, "Grace Kelly 1956". I did a little research online and found a very short article in the New York Times, March 1956, where a representative of the Treasury Department presented a Savings Bond silver medal to Grace Kelly in honor of her one-minute film promoting the Savings Bond Program.


    The press photo shows only the obverse. I assume that the reverse was engraved when presented to her. Presenting a personality such as Grace Kelly with a medal that is blank on the reverse would be rather odd.

    Here's a link to the article:


    So, this is a mystery, probably one that really can't be solved. Is this the actual medal? How did it end up in Montpellier, France? I assume that Grace Kelly took the medal with her when she moved to Monaco and married Prince Rainier III later in 1956, but where did it go from there? Is it possible that the medal was lost or sold during her life or after her death?

    I inquired with the seller. He replied that the medal was part of a lot of medals that he purchased from a local shop. That was the extent of the information from him.

    I believe the medal is genuine, but it is possible that someone might have done this engraving on a blank contemporary Savings Bond medal, an unlikely possibility, I think.

    I would like to know your opinions.

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
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  3. msb

    msb New Member

    I have nothing to contribute in terms of solving your mystery. But this has the makings of a great provenance. I applaud your thorough research to date. Potentially fascinating story and piece. I'll be watching to see what more you uncover.
    luxefaire, siddo1 and 7Calbrey like this.
  4. furham

    furham Good Ole Boy

    A great story. I don't know if you'll ever be ale to prove that it belonged to Grace Kelly or not, but my bet is that it is the real deal.
  5. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    These medals were handed it out quite often, yes true an oz. of silver that in 1956 money roughly around a dollar in melt value.
    To prove this is actually Grace Kelly the movie star owned this piece you're going to need to find that 1 piece that links the two.
    capthank and robinjojo like this.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    And that's the challenge. I would need to find a contact with the estate, and that's no easy task.
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  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Wow, what a neat medal- but especially the provenance, if proven.

    I'd say that photo, while perhaps not 100% conclusive, is very strong evidence in favor of it. The obverse matches, the date is right... very impressive.

    Call me convinced.

    Nice find on that photo and article!

    Here's the Wikipedia article about Grace Kelly, if anyone was unaware of her story. She was not only a movie star, but became an actual princess after marrying Rainier III of Monaco.

    @robinjojo- this is a terrific find.
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.

    We live in a time where there are plenty of certificates certifying just about anything, but unfortunately not for this medal. There are some strong suggestions of a link to Grace Kelly, and I guess that's the best I can do.

    It is an intriguing question of where this medal has been since her tragic death in 1982 - if only it could talk!
    capthank and lordmarcovan like this.
  9. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Have you considered checking with the US Treasury to see if they have anything about it in their archives?

    It's just too cool not to try!
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  10. dwhiz

    dwhiz Collector Supporter

    She did marry the Prince of Monaco
    from Wikipedia
    Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco), is a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France to the north, east, west and by the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
    So it have been hers or maybe someone else with the same name.
    She was part of the "KELLY for BRICKWORK" family with roots in Philadelphia, PA.
    robinjojo likes this.
  11. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    If you could find other contemporary medals and check the engraving style and font, that should help authenticate the piece. It is highly unlikely that anyone engraving a medal after leaving the treasury would be aware of the style and font of the inscription.
    7Calbrey, NSP and robinjojo like this.
  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    This medal with inscription has a lot going for it :D. The inscription was engraved by a machine & is the same style as the lettering on the reverse, indicating both are of the same approximate age. The engraved inscription also has deep toning ;). It looks all original to me :cool:. Great score :happy:!
  13. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Я люблю черных кошек

    Years ago when I was a teenager I dabbled a bit in postal first day covers. One time at a mostly coin show I found one from Monaco that was from ca. 1962-3 and liked the stamp on it and the cover and bought it. I never really looked inside the envelope until later. A few months later I was looking through the covers and found a handwritten note inside the envelope - signed Grace de Monaco. As far as I know it is authentic, but I misplaced all that stamp stuff sometime back and have no idea where that cover and note are now.
    Lueds, 7Calbrey, manny9655 and 3 others like this.
  14. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    Since Montpelier is only about 150 miles from Monaco, it could easily be explained. Perhaps it was a treasured gift to one of her staff who created a little wear by pulling it out and recalling their time together. If it were passed down to someone who was not aware of it's significance, it could easily have been sold as clutter to the local coin shop.
    NSP, robinjojo, MIGuy and 2 others like this.
  15. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    Agreed ,,,, I would love it to connect the dots but, again these were awarded to just about anyone who worked with the savings bond drives. They can be found engraved or not on ebay starting at $21. As an Irishman I can assure " Kelly " very common Irish name ...as well as Grace .
    The fact that this was purchased or obtained in France is a plus towards linking it.
    Still a very cool find and task to prove....but always a conversation piece.
    dwhiz and robinjojo like this.
  16. Aleph

    Aleph Active Member

    Did she do charity auctions? This looks like something that might have been donated to a charity auction, so if that’s the case, there may be a record of the auction somewhere. Also, no doubt, there have been auctions of her stuff somewhere. This may be listed in one of those but you might have to trudge through a lot of material to find it. You may be able to identify potential auctions on line but these catalogs probably aren’t scanned if from the 80s and 90s.
    NSP, robinjojo, furham and 1 other person like this.
  17. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    Great find and great research!
    robinjojo and lordmarcovan like this.
  18. FredJB

    FredJB Active Member

    I wonder if a list names of the recipients of this medal exists? Such lists do exist for other Federal medals.
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  19. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I believe that the Grace Kelly medal is real.

    I have some San Francisco school medals from the early 1900's inscribed with the names of recipients and wonder how they wound up on Ebay.

    robinjojo and lordmarcovan like this.
  20. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    I choose to believe that it was hers.
    That said, I doubt that you can ever prove it.
    Keep it and enjoy her memory.
    robinjojo and cpm9ball like this.
  21. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    The picture of her with the medal and record that she received one pretty much decided the issue for me, who would bother faking such an odd small thing? No one. I have a Tiffany silver cigarette box that was a gift from Arthur Murray and his wife to the head of RKO pictures publicity department and his wife and some other little things like that. Just another of the funny little things you come across in life that make our days more interesting.
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