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Columbian Exposition medal in Aluminum. Any photos?

RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

Does anyone have a good photo of the Colombian Exposition medal by Saint-Gaudens/Barber struck in aluminum? Fifty were made at the Philadelphia Mint in early 1895 on orders from the Secretary of the Treasury, and then sent to Scoville Corp. for finishing.

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    FlatwoodsFlatwoods Posts: 4,122 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 25, 2016 11:37AM

    Well that's new info. Thanks Roger. I was unaware of this information.
    Do you know if they were actually finished and sold? Have you ever seen one or a pic of one.
    I don't recall ever seeing this piece and I am pretty sure I would remember this one.

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    jonathanbjonathanb Posts: 3,428 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In what size? I know of a 38mm version in aluminum -- see E-19, about 1/4 the way down the page. I only know of the one specimen in that size. There was a 76mm version in aluminum sold as lot 482 in the 12/6/2003 Presidential sale. The writeup in that listing reads in part: "Eglit lists this medal as struck in Gold, Silver, and Bronze while Rulau states that it was struck in Gold, Silver plated Bronze and Bronze. Julian's recap of U.S. Mint striking records show that 3000 bronze medals were struck in 1893. He found no records of strikings in any other metal."

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 25, 2016 12:35PM

    The medals seem to have been identical to the standard bronze ones issued to award winners.

    The exposition was held in 1892 and 1893, yet the medals were not completed until 1896. Bids for 23,737 medals were not opened until September 1894. Scoville (low bid of $0.9267 each) made the standard bronze ones including the insert dies needed to add the winners' name to each medal. Thousands had to be remade because the list of winners included many incorrect and misspelled names.

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    I had an aluminum version of the award medal which I sold in a Presidential auction a few years ago. It was struck rather than cast. It was identical in size to the bronze award medal. However, it was not awarded to anyone so the plaque area was blank. I am looking for a listing of the bronze award medals that were produced. Some experts say that only 500-600 of the bronze award medals were made. However, I believe it is in the 10's of thousands. I am trying to confirm that with official records or a list. You mentioned that bids for 23,737 medals were opened in September 1894. Do you happen to have a reference for that information that you can share?

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2018 2:00PM

    Here's the original letter. There are hundreds more concerning Columbian Exposition medals in Mint archives from 1892 through 1898, and scattered ones later. The entire thing was a huge, expensive mess. (All the original medals were die struck, not cast. Officially-authorized facsimiles were cast.)

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    PS: The reverse medal die used a signature insert die (or sub-die) that had to be made for every medal recipient. That gave the medals a custom-prepared look, but was also expensive to do compared to simple engraving on a stock medal. There were also hundreds of errors in lists supplied by the Exposition which caused a lot of added expense. (I tried adding the extra costs one time and came up with more than $3 per bronze medal....but I feel that was somewhat low. The whole incident quickly becomes very tiresome when going through the archives.)

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2018 11:27PM

    @RogerB said:
    PS: The reverse medal die used a signature insert die (or sub-die) that had to be made for every medal recipient. That gave the medals a custom-prepared look, but was also expensive to do compared to simple engraving on a stock medal. There were also hundreds of errors in lists supplied by the Exposition which caused a lot of added expense. (I tried adding the extra costs one time and came up with more than $3 per bronze medal....but I feel that was somewhat low. The whole incident quickly becomes very tiresome when going through the archives.)

    That's cool and I've always wondered about that.

    John Raymond has a photo of the Federick Stearns & Co. award which I think is one of the nicer ones.

    http://socalleddollar.com/worldcol.html

    I wonder if the reverse die still exists. It would be neat to see.

    The obverse still exists.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2018 4:50PM

    The pictured medal appears to be an electrotype imitation of some sort. I have seen nothing to support Scoville using any sort of custom insert. Further, the Stearns & Co. insert is the wrong shape and size, and overall detail on both sides is mushy and design elements are misplaced. Here's a normal reverse:

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    PS: 'winscout" you are welcome.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2018 7:20PM

    It might be interesting to examine the Federick Stearns & Co. and related pieces more. John Raymond's site has two more medals with the same style of award name border. Might be worthwhile to contact him and examine his pieces.

    Anyone know if John Raymond is on these forums?

    http://www.socalleddollar.com/abworldsfairs.html

    Chas. Emmerich & Co.

    W.W. Kimball Co.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The two medals pictured above are likely from those made by American Type Founders, Inc. under authority of the US Mint and the Exposition. This was done because of lengthy delays in delivering the real bronze medals to recipients. The letter below might help readers understand this situation. There are many others on the same subject.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Electrotypes with a changeable recipient name are interesting as well. Good topic.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    True. They were intended as temporary substitutes for the real medals. Not sure what the HK reference says, but the ones pictured are clearly not Scoville products.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2018 9:56PM

    HK seems to show an American Type Founders Co. electrotype with rounded award recipient location for HK-223, and say it was struck by the US Mint in Philadelphia, not Scoville or American Type Founders. Does this mean the Scoville version with squared corner recipient location is not listed in HK and would need a new number assigned, like HK-223a?

    Here's the entry in HK 2nd edition.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2018 7:37PM

    The medals were all made by Scoville. The Mint had to send aluminum to Scoville when the Sec Treas wanted some made - the Mint had no dies. The piece pictured above does not match the Scoville pieces and is also probably an electrotype. Notice the many differences in details.

    Further, Saint-Gaudens was paid $5,000 for the original design by the Exposition Committee - not $2,500. Also, Barber was paid nothing - he was a government employee and not authorized to make this design for the Committee.

    The HK sample above is disturbing because of the obvious errors. If a catalog is produced it should be as accurate as possible and when it is updated, the data should also be verified....even if the producer doesn't think it's necessary.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Does there exist a photo or plaster of the original reverse design by Saint Gaudens? I read that Barber made his reverse design because the original reverse design by Saint Gaudens was rejected.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2018 10:42PM
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    winscoutwinscout Posts: 12 ✭✭

    RogerB - My apologies that I did not sign into this forum or discussion until today. Many THANKS for your documentation. It is much appreciated. My fault for not signing in earlier.

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    SmudgeSmudge Posts: 9,256 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks fellas for the work that went into this history lesson. Interesting read.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 1, 2018 8:36PM

    There is a 32-inch plaster model of the original Saint-Gaudens reverse. I think it is at the Aspet location.

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    AzurescensAzurescens Posts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @afford said:
    Are we to assume these were dated 1895, just to be precise, since most medals re dated 1892-1893, just asking a fair question I would think assuming you really want answers.

    :D

    Get it?

    A fair question..

    Is it even worse I made myself laugh? Mongo only pawn in game of life.

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    Bonjour voilà la médaille que je possède pour peut être vous aider 😉

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    Voilà la société qui figure dessus 😊 avec une faute d'orthographe sur la médaille comme C était souvent le cas aparamen 😉

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,485 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dux88 - Je vous remercie! Il est intéressant de savoir qui ont remporté les médailles. :)

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    Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    I realize that I am late to the party but it's nice to come across others that are interested in this medal. I believe the letter that Roger was referencing was for 50 aluminum medals of secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle. There is still much mystery surrounding eglit-90 and its awardees. I can share images of aluminum specimens if anyone is interested.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,910 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 30, 2023 8:35PM

    @RogerB said:
    There is a 32-inch plaster model of the original Saint-Gaudens reverse. I think it is at the Aspet location.

    Wow. 32 inches is a huge plaster. It would be great to see that.

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