Society of Medalists Fine Art Paperweights

In 1977, the Medallic Art Company (MACO) made an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of some of the classic designs from the Society of Medalists series by marketing a series of Fine Art Paperweights.  These were offered as limited editions through Towle Silversmith stores.  The program was not very successful.  This disappointment for MACO and Towle Silversmiths, has made for a scarce item for Society of Medalists collectors.

According to David Thomason Alexander, in his fabulous book American Art Medals, 1909-1995, the following Paperweights have been observed:

  • No. 18 Gertrude Lathrop, Conserve Wildlife reverse.
  • No. 45 James Earle Fraser, Pony Express - New Frontiers obverse.
  • No. 46 Karl Gruppe, Youth of the Scout World reverse.
  • No. 47 MacGregor Proctor, Trout Fishing obverse.
  • No. 76 Donald R. Miller, In Wilderness id the Preservation of the World reverse.

The paperweights were all Uniface with the artwork on one side and a textured reverse with "MACO SOM copyright 1977" at the bottom.

I've just come across two of these, No. 45 James Earle Fraser, Pony Express - New Frontiers obverse and No. 46 Karl Gruppe, Youth of the Scout World reverse.  Both are complete with their original boxes, descriptive pamphlets and stands.  You can see them in my Society of Medalists Section.

If you are interested in reading more about the Society of Medalists, I highly recommend David Thomason Alexander's book American Art Medals, 1909-1995.  It is beautifully written and illustrated and covers the history of both the Circle of Friends of the Medallion and The Society of Medalists.  Thomason provides much background information about the founders of these series, the artists that were engaged and detailed photographs of each medal. 

You can find this book on Amazon by clicking on the title below.


U.S. Mint Medals

"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it chooses to remember."     John F. Kennedy, Address at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, October 26, 1963.  From Medals of the U.S. Mint, Catalog of Medals Issued for Public Sale, 1969.

The U.S. Government began issuing National Medals at the time of the Revolutionary War, when they were struck in gold and silver to honor and reward military men for outstanding and heroic actions and achievements.  As the United States did not have minting capability at that time, these early medals were struck at the Paris Mint, under the supervision of Thomas Jefferson, the first United States Ambassador to the Court of France.

By the 1790s, the United States Mint was established in Philadelphia and had the capacity to strike National Medals.  In the 1860s, the Mint began offering bronze re-strikes of the earlier medals to the general public as collector pieces.  Medals struck during this period are now quite scarce.  They can be identified by their sharp strikes and mahogany color.

In 1969, the U.S. Mint began a new program to offer bronze re-strikes of these historic medals to the collecting public.  The list of medals made available was quite extensive and included War Heroes, U.S. Presidents, Mint and Treasury Directors, as well as many other distinguished people.  This program went on until the late 1970s.  Medals from this period have a textured, almost "sandblasted" appearance and are finished in a "yellow bronze" color.  

With but a few exceptions, re-strikes of these early medals are no longer available from the Mint.

That does not mean that the U.S. Mint no longer produces National Medals.  Quite the contrary.  The current medal program is vibrant and a wide variety of bronze medals are offered to the collecting public.  Go to the U.S. Mint website at www.usmint.gov and look for the Medals tab to see the latest offerings.

-Bill

Welcome!

Welcome to Medals and Tokens.  

Here we celebrate the Medals and Tokens that commemorate historic people, events and places that allow us to hold History in Our Hands

I've just launched the site today and will be expanding it shortly, so please check back often.    In the meantime, you can find my complete inventory of Medals and Tokens in my eBay Store