HomeMedals and TokensBarack Obama First Inaugural Medal (2009) : A Collector's Guide

Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal (2009) : A Collector’s Guide

Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal. Image: CoinWeek.
Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal. Image: CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
The first Presidential Inaugural Medal was issued in 1901 to mark President William McKinley’s ill-fated second term. For more than 100 years, Presidential Inaugural Medals were issued by each administration’s inaugural committee. The Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal broke from that tradition as the medal was produced by the Green Bay, Wisconsin firm Medalcraft and mass-marketed online and through television shopping networks.

The medal’s obverse was designed by Marc Mellon and based on a photograph of President-Elect Obama submitted to Medalcraft by the Obama Inaugural Committee. Both the photograph and Mellon’s design feature a two-thirds profile right-facing portrait of the 44th president.

Retired United States Mint engraver Thomas D. Rogers, Sr. designed the reverse, which depicts the Obama Inauguration Seal set high in a wreath. A plaque with the inscription 2009 / 44th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / INAUGURATED JAN. 20, 2009 is superimposed over the wreath. Interestingly enough, Rogers had worked for Medalcraft before his 10-year stint (1991-2001) at the U.S. Mint.

The Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal was issued in three formats:

  • Bronze (2.75″): Issue price $60; Unlimited.
  • Silver (2.75″): Issue price $400; Edition limited to 10,499 pieces. Edge numbered using the following sequence: 0001LE (Limited Edition).
  • Gold (1.25″): Sold in three-medal sets (gold, silver, and bronze) at an issue price of $3,000; The medals in these sets have edge numbering using the following sequence: 1/500.

While these medals were sold in various venues, QVC customers were offered the bronze version for $54.12 in the run-up to the inauguration.

How Much Is the Barack Obama First Inaugural Medal Worth?

The Obama First Inaugural Medal, like most mass-market “collectibles”, is not supported by an active secondary market and therefore should be collected either as a political curio commemorating the historic presidency of the United States’ first African-American president or simply for the collector’s enjoyment.

Adjusted for inflation, the $60 issue price for the unlimited edition bronze medal would cost nearly $90 in 2024 dollars. Examples typically sell on eBay for prices between $30 and $60. To date, PCGS has graded one example – and that piece graded SP66.

The silver edition is seldom offered and one wonders how many of the issue’s stated 10,499-piece mintage were actually produced. The same is true for the gold medal sets. On June 18, 2024, we reached out to Medalcraft to inquire about the final production numbers of all three medals and were informed that the company was not at liberty to share that information with us as we are “not the customer these were sold to.”

A case could be made that a collector market could coalesce around the silver and gold editions at some future point, especially in high grade, but more would have to be known about their final mintages.

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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