By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is thrilled to present some of the most famous and elusive United States Inaugural bronze medals in our official auction for the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo in November. Highlighted by an incredible Gem SP-65 (PCGS) 1905 Roosevelt medal and an Uncirculated SP-62 (PCGS) 1921 Harding medal, this will be one of the most important offerings from this series in recent years.
The 1905 Roosevelt Inaugural medal is among the most prized United States medals, not only for its subject matter and rarity, but just as much for the artist who designed it, the firm that cast it, and its influence on American coinage. It was this medal that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to approach Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create more sculptural and classical designs for United States coinage. The medal directly influenced the design of the reverse of the Indian ten-dollar gold eagle introduced in 1907, also by Saint-Gaudens. The relationship between the president and the artist has been well documented and led to the creation of Saint-Gaudens’ beautiful and popular double eagle and eagle designs.
Today, Saint-Gaudens’ Roosevelt Inaugural medal is ranked number 27 in the popular 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens (2007). Just 150 examples of this medal were authorized to be produced by Tiffany in bronze and each survivor is a treasure.
Graded SP-65 (PCGS), the beautiful example in our November sale is exceptionally well preserved with handsome deep brown patina and intermingled sandy-gold highlights on both sides. The striking detail is bold for the type, and closer inspection reveals fine granularity to the finish, also typical. The overall appearance is very smooth, as befits the assigned Gem grade.
While not as famous as the 1905 Roosevelt Inaugural medal, the medals of Warren G. Harding’s 1921 inauguration are exponentially rare and each appearance is a significant numismatic event. Fewer than 60 are thought to survive in bronze, most of which are held tightly in private collections. We have not handled a bronze example since our March 2011 Baltimore sale, where it brought $17,250 USD. More recently a silver example realized $31,200 in our November 2019 Baltimore auction. The present bronze striking, graded SP-62 by PCGS, is sure to sell for a strong price. It is gorgeous with glossy surfaces and original patina throughout. Dominant golden-brown color gives ways to faded mint rose around and within Harding’s portrait, as well as vivid cobalt blue undertones, especially on the obverse. The strike is impressively sharp and perfectly centered.
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These two rarities will be offered alongside an impressive selection of Inaugural medals and Indian Peace medals in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries November 2021 Showcase Auction. For more information on this important offering or to consign your numismatic treasures to a future auction, contact our firm at 800-566-2580 or email [email protected]. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is now accepting consignments to our November auction through October 1, while our monthly Collectors Choice Online (CCO) Auctions offer a convenient venue for the quickest sale at the strongest prices.